Go! Embrace your Liberty….

There is a scene in one of my favorite movies, ( yes it’s a chic flick–DEAL with it.)  Little Women.  In the scene with Susan Sarandon as Marmee and Winona Ryder as Jo, the two interact about a trip to Europe that Jo’s younger sister Amy, has just landed.  Keep in mind, Amy is the youngest, daintiest, blondest, and by Jo’s standards, prettiest…Brunette thinkers, you know what I mean.  Amy has just captured the dream Jo had for years and in a fit of remorse and anger she flops down on the bed to talk with Marmee….It’s a beautiful scene, and as I play it back in my head, I can see it clearly.

Marmee is absently stroking Jo’s hair while she cries a bit, lamenting the loss….”

“Well, of course Aunt March prefers Amy over me. Why shouldn’t she? I’m ugly and awkward and I always say the wrong things. I fly around throwing away perfectly good marriage proposals. I love our home, but I’m just so fitful and I can’t stand being here! I’m sorry, I’m sorry Marmee. There’s just something really wrong with me. I want to change, but I – I can’t. And I just know I’ll never fit in anywhere. “


Oh, Jo. Jo, you have so many extraordinary gifts; how can you expect to lead an ordinary life? You’re ready to go out and – and find a good use for your talent. Tho’ I don’t know what I shall do without my Jo. Go, and embrace your liberty. And see what wonderful things come of it. 

If I could kiss Marmee in this moment, I would.  This interaction brings tears to my eyes each time I replay it…somehow it has ingrained itself in the midst of my soul, and try as I might, I cannot rid myself of this scene.

As a mother, I smile softly at this direction, knowing full well that my boys will want to fly away sometime soon.  I see it happening little by little already.  Gone are the days when they need me desperately, and while that feels good in the sense of freedom…my lower lip trembles a bit when I think of the years spinning away from us.  I want to call out to them to WAIT, stay here with me, let’s journey this together….But, I can’t.

On the flip side, I feel intimately Jo’s comment, I always have.  This need to fly, to bust out of the ordinary and DO something.  I write about it, talk about it, dream about it, and try to talk other people into experiencing it too.  Most people just nod and smile at me like I have lost my marbles.     Those are the times I feel like someone is patting me on my head and playing into my childish fantasies of adventure.  Other times people wonder why I can’t be content with what I have.

Well, I spose I could, but that would be antithetical to me, to the essence of who I am.  Therein lay the struggle.  I deeply resonate with Jo.  I love where I grew up and the people with whom I have related.  I love the rooted grounding I have received, the education, and the experiences of being in the Midwest and country life.  But, like Jo, I am restless….wandering aimlessly until that moment that feels like magic.  I try to fit the molds, and those that know me best have heard me speak of this till the mold is blue in the face!!!!  I have tried to chip away the restless and uneven parts of me…they still don’t fit a mold.  I have tried to envision a life that is quiet and certain and safe and controlled, it makes me feel like I am trapped.

I worked at a convenience gas station the last 2 days…yup.  Graduated from Seminary and I am working for minimum wage at a till—I am a certified teacher too….try that on for size.  ANYWAY!  I worked the last 2 days, about `18 hours (give or take)  I tried to think that I could do this day-in, day-out…I could be content to do this…to walk away at the end of the day and not think about anything and be quiet.  I could greet and smile and serve..I could.

But.  I. don’t. want. to.

That sounds selfish.  I hear myself type that and I think, oh hon, can you hear how trite you sound?  The thing is, if it were my children saying the same words, I would send them on their way…without remorse, without regret.  Marmee does just that with Jo.

Jo wants to change, to fit the mold, and Marmee gives her permission to break free…to GO!  Embrace your liberty!  I want this MARMEE!!!  Maybe I am looking for someone to give me permission…maybe I want someone to look me in the face and tell me it’s time to GO.  Maybe.  Maybe I want someone to tell me that being safe isn’t always right…that to live a life of purpose is to live dangerously….to love dangerously and to rebel against the social injustice and hatred that is prevalent.  Maybe I want a guarantee that there will be people there, ready to embrace me no matter where the road takes me.  Maybe.

Or, maybe I am scared.  Scared that a life of extraordinary means hard work and sacrifice and a constant feeling of wanting more.  Maybe I do not know if I am strong enough to handle it…that I never had it to begin with, or that I will let people down in the end.  Maybe I am scared of being able to do it…of feeling like it is time to Go and that means leaving the safety of the known…as cumbersome as it may appear sometimes.  Maybe I am terrified to Go.

I can’t imagine what Jo was thinking after her mother told her to embrace her liberty.  I have never heard someone say that to me, much less a parent.  Here is her mother, handing Jo her dreams on a silver platter….willing her to take the leap of faith-admitting her pain at her absence, yet tells her…GO!  How can you expect to live in the box when you have been otherwise gifted…..I yearn to hear that…maybe I have and I have been to deaf to hear.  It certainly wasn’t easy for Marmee to tell her, nor for Jo to act.  She had to, and her mother knew it.

I am not sure what my writing today is about…a jumbled jigsaw of thoughts.  I tried to sort them as I worked today, thinking back to my high school and college days at grocery store work.  I came by the interactions naturally, was a hard worker, and kept the position and grew into more leadership.  That often happens when I am somewhere.  It isn’t long before the “quick study” morphs into another position and usually one of leading or managing….so many instances of “could do”, so many “you should’s”  Most people will read that and think I am egomania personified.  It does not come from ego, it simply happens.  Try as I might, however, I just could not envision myself at a cash register for the next 30 years…and I am sorry that I can’t.  I want more than this provincial life (thanks belle)

Thoughts, questions, comments, rude remarks?  Please?





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