Saturday, June 21, 2008

A Tree of White Leaves

I haven't been good at praying lately. My friends in recovery tell me it's a must, that I should actually get down on my knees to do it, but getting down on my knees to pray to my creator has felt akin to getting down on my knees to pray to Hitler. Anyone would agree that it would be ridiculous to pray to a torturer, yet people pray to God all the time, particularly when life's torture is at its worst. Go figure.

But a curious turn of events actually had me on my knees last night, and here's what happened:

For reasons too long to go into here, the painkillers are back in my possession, and yesterday I took too many--big surprise. But it was really bad--the whole day. The facial and jaw pain was bad, and the addiction it set off was worse. There I was again on some kind of psycho auto-pilot, once again watching pills go down my throat as if it wasn't really me doing it.

I was so profoundly disturbed by this behavior (again) that this time it was almost a knee-jerk reaction to go to my bed and pray. I was feeling out of my mind and out of control, and when I kneeled down, instead of clasping hands in the typical prayer mode, I instead threw my head down on the mattress in the way a crying child throws her head down on her mother's lap when she's in crisis. I see my young nieces (ages one and three) do this all the time, and now I see it's actually a beautiful form of surrender, which is what I've been trying to do here all along.

When 3-year-old Catherine is at her wit's end, when absolutely everything is going wrong, the place of comfort is her head on her mom's lap where she literally throws her problems, trusting that the love and compassion she finds there will wash everything clean, and indeed it always does. Nothing earth-shattering happens, mind you; just kind, soothing words from her mom, a stroke of the hair, a soft and compassionate kiss on the head, and a warm smile. And with that, Catherine is always healed...always, and that's something like what my praying felt like last night.

I threw my head down in a fit of frustration and confusion, and something peaceful indeed came over me, so much so that I did it again this morning, much to my cat's confusion.

In my prayers I just said simple affirmations, but this morning in particular, I began to remember dreams I had last night, one of which was seeing beautiful autumn leaves in Philadelphia turning all kinds of reds, golds and purples. Perhaps most curious was a tree that had leaves of white, and I remember saying to the person standing with me, "How strange that they look so beautiful just before they die."

As I pondered this dream, head still on mattress, I couldn't make sense of it, nor of any of the dream's other aspects, but I was happy to have had such beautiful images go through my head in my sleep.

But then tonight, there it was again, the white tree, only this time I was awake. I was watching the end of "The Last Samurai" and just before the great warrior dies, he looks up and sees a tree with white leaves and says, "Perfect. They're all perfect."

I felt my aching jaw drop open in absolute astonishment, marvelling not so much at the meaning of this synchronious event, of which I haven't a clue, but at the synchonicity itself.

A tree of white leaves. Whatever can it mean? One thing's for certain: If I hadn't kneeled to pray, I never would have seen it.



Lisa said...

Mary Ann,
I am amazed as I read your amazed that our paths have crossed in the way they have. If I can help with the spiritual aspect of your healing in any way...I would be happy to.

I send you comfort in your days of pain,

Lisa (Molly's mom)
I Surrender This

Anonymous said...

I know this post is well over 2 years old, but it drew my attention. I am an amateur photographer and today while I was out on a shoot, I found a tree with all white leaves. I took a picture of it as I have never seen such a thing - and from my searches online it seems like it shouldn't even exist lol.

I've posted the link to my photo album with the white tree. I am in love with this tree - it's so incredible.

The White Tree