Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Dream Deferred, and Heading On Toward My New Life...

"What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?"

~ Langston Hughes ~

The first time I heard this poem by Langston Hughes, in my youth, I was at first completely overwhelmed with emotion, I, a child of the 50's, studying this poem in high school, coming in the middle of the worst times of that decade. The terrible roar of anger and grief justly felt by a beautiful race of people held down too long. I remember that I cried and cried and something in me did, indeed, explode!

What happened for me at that time was a kind of bursting apart of a societal norm that excluded those who were "different" never looking at the beauty, the power and pride, the incredible gifts that African Americans brought to this country (by no means their choice) and yet what I saw was a proud people, downtrodden past belief, who could raise their voice on high, and lift the spirits of those around them higher than, I truly believe, any race of people ever has.

In my life I would not tolerate unkindness or injustice of any kind, and as an adult I have legally taken the name Maitri, from the teaching of loving-kindness and compassion, and been ordained a minister to celebrate love, compassion, empathy, non-judgment, and a true reaching out and embracing every one around me with love and gentleness. Langston Hughes helped in that transformation, decades ago, but then, it was just a seed planted, something that would take a life time to grow.

I am at a very different time of my life right now. I am 55. My mother is about to pass and I will be an orphan in my mid-fifties, now, the Matriarch of the clan. When I was ordained and given the title Reverend Mother Maitri, it was perfect for me, because in a sense all that I do, want to do, try to do, is to bring a loving, motherly spirit to all people. I have given much, but it has only been as if a drop of rain in a rainstorm next to all the love, support, gentleness, kindness and caring that I have received back. My motto is "Each one, reach one." We don't need armies in the carrying of the torch of love around the world, we need, most importantly, to reach out, heart to heart, hand to hand, with tenderness, gentleness, and a loving-kindness that soothes the spirit and heals the heart. In this way it grows rapidly in proportion to those who practice
maitri, and in the last couple of days I have been showered with this love and support by many people, and I have learned so much that I am completely in awe, and still wanting to be very quiet and take it all in.

A couple of days ago, having planned for some time to move 30 miles away and buy a cottage by the sea, and having done unbelievable amounts of research along with my realtor, we spent the day looking at cottages, some I've shown here, and I had my heart set on that blue one. When we arrived, much to our horror and shock, what looked good in the pictures (Beware pictures in catalogs!) was literally a falling down, falling apart cottage with so many holes clean through it could rain inside, and the smell of mildew and worse almost made me ill. When we went around all day long for hours and hours looking at so many cottages I lost count, I was shell-shocked realizing that this darling little area had now become one where you had to be very wealthy to buy a decent home, and the whole day my heart was aching thinking about being that far away from my daughter and her family, my precious grand baby, and my dearest and best friend, very nearly my blood brother, Jeffrey. I came home, collapsed in a chair, and wept. And then I couldn't move, I was simply so worn out that I listened to the snores of the puglings and sat limp in the chair. I felt defeated.

But it was the "dark before the dawn." By yesterday morning I woke up feeling as if I had a new lease on life, that I had been saved from a terrible mistake, and that that day, hard as it was, was meant to teach me a lesson. There is a reason that the Bible says, "Thy will, not mine, be done." We can pray for the best outcome for our lives, but truly, don't (seldom?) fully know what that is. The morning I was leaving I wrote to my friends online and showed the little blue cottage (Before I saw it and got the shock of my life... sadly I am incredibly naive about these things...), and so many of you wrote in with prayers, warm loving support, Bible verses, positive energy, and more that I was lifted up on high. When I came home I thought about that a lot, I had been overwhelmed by the kindness and love and prayers that had come to me from so many, but then it came to me that the prayers and such had worked
PERFECTLY! The prayers themselves were reaching up on high and asking for what was the best for me. I went surrounded and protected with loving guidance and support and angels all around me. And I realized that I was going down the wrong road. And I was lifted up and set down on the correct path. I will stay near my family, and all of a sudden hordes of possible places started rising. We are looking at 2 on Tuesday. And I will take my time, and I will let the table rise. Everything happens in it's own right and perfect time.

A Dream Deferred, in this case, is what saved me, and I EXPLODED into a million pieces, dreams dashed and shattered in all directions, and I landed in soft clouds with the angels singing all around me. I got the message, "All will be well Maitri, just take a breath, slow down, and all will come in the right and perfect time." Of course we know this, and we can preach it to others, but when it comes to ourselves we often forget everything we know.

So I thank all of you for your love, prayers, kindness, support and the angels you put in the car with me that day! I don't have to exactly begin again, just turn in a slightly different direction.

Don't curse dreams deferred, not in this sense. This time, for me, it was a saving grace, and I thank all of you who helped me, and held me aloft, with your prayers, on such a very hard day. Onwards and upwards as the saying goes. I'll keep you posted, and you keep working toward your dreams too...



  1. it is very true that things have a way of working themselves out. i am very happy for you maitri! have a wonderful day...hugz!

  2. It is a good poem:)

  3. Maitri,

    I'm sorry that your little blue cottage by the sea was not to be but things always do happen for the best and when the time is right the perfect place will drop into your lap. It happened to us and we feel so very blessed to be where we are today. I pray for the same for you when the time is right.

    Split Rock Ranch

  4. I agree that things happen for the best and that when a door closes a window opens...I think that your cottage is waiting for you out there, but you just haven't 'met' yet...

  5. Thank you for introducing me to that poem. I love it - it definitely strikes a chord in me. Having my first child at 19 (when I was still a child), and single - then 2 kids following (and still single), this poem speaks volumes for me. I really appreciate you posting it.

    I also wanted to tell you that I really wish I had a mom like you. That story is for another day - but I have longed for a mom like you my whole life.

    I'm sorry about your cottage. It's hard when we want something - and God has other plans. I agree with what everyone else has said. You'll be in my thoughts. xx

  6. Wonderful blog post. I'm going through many changes at the moment and trying to figure out my path. Not sure if my dream is deferred or just postponed but God knows, thanks for reminding me!

  7. This is a great example of what some call cosmic ordering. by accident. ;) or, call it faith. Sending your wish/ prayer out, Knowing (faith) that what is best for you, will come.
    and, it will dear Maitri! we are all with you!

  8. Beautiful post! That Langston Hughes poem is one of my favorites of all time. I read it when I was a young girl and it lifted me up and I haven't come down yet :) I wish you all the best as you search for your place. This one that you visited was not your place...your beautiful space is still out there waiting for you :)Lots of love!

  9. You are so right Mother Maitri..You will get the best place..anyway your heart is as wide as Heaven, so you are already in it..whether in a cottage or another already live in your own heaven..God bless.

  10. Maitri I just love your writing and I especially love the quote on your page. I am always helped through times such as this one for you by remembering that there is a purpose to every thing and there will be a purpose for this one too. Warmest regards

  11. Beautiful. Just beautiful.
    I'm sending sweet wishes your way during this time. My mother's birthday is tomorrow, and exactly one month later it will be nine years since her passing. This time is always a time of connection with something greater for me. Your blog fits right into that. Thank you.

  12. p.s. I'm so touched to see Writerquake on your blogroll. I have decided to place your blog in the blogroll at my other blog, Clutterquake, as I think it will add greatly to that short list.