A friend and I went out for lunch the other day. “What’s your sign?” she asked me. “Huh?” I responded, ever the witty conversationalist. “You know, your astrological sign.” “Oh, Capricorn,” I said and tried to steer the conversation in another direction.
This friend is very dear to me. She and I have known each other for a long time. She is fun, smart, and interesting to talk to. But. When she gets going on certain topics, we must agree to disagree. She believes in astrology, morphic resonance (kind of like extra-sensory perception, ESP), auras, and Feng Sui. Oh, and dowsing.
I was a chemistry major in college and I spent many years as a high school teacher. Both of those experiences taught me to bring a healthy dose of skepticism to most situations.
As my friend went on about the typical characteristics of Capricorns (determined, check; sincere, check; stubborn, check; unemotional, wait, that doesn’t sound like me; detached, no way; pessimistic, does this woman even know me?), I must admit, I tuned out. I started thinking about making up my own set of symbols, ones that would really represent me. Not a goat, for goodness sake (I apologize to any goat-lovers reading this). The idea appealed to me. What symbols could I come up with that would be a better representation of my life?
My first symbol, yes, is a mule. I am known to my family and friends as being just a teensy bit stubborn. This can be good at times. Friends know that I am not going to give up on them. No matter what. I can be counted on to be there through thick and thin. It also can be not-so-good. When I think I am right, I am reluctant to give up on an argument, and I always think I am right.
My second symbol is a runner girl. Running has been such a big part of my life for so many years, I need a symbol to represent its importance to me. Running has given me friends, travel, adventure, strength, and self-confidence. It has influenced my personality in countless ways and become part of my identity. Even my former students knew me as a runner. (Funny story: before running the Boston Marathon, when I was in my 50s, some of my students – 15 and 16-year-olds – asked me if I thought I could win the race. I told them I was not optimistic about my chances.)
My third symbol is the ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz. Just like Dorothy found out in that famous story, I think we all should learn that we have everything we need for our happiness with us at all times. We don’t need to seek it elsewhere. “We are each responsible for our own happiness” was my tagline to my boys as they were growing up. There is nothing that you can buy that will give you lasting happiness. There is no person who can make you happy. It’s something you have to do for yourself.
My next symbol is a rose. This is to illustrate that you have to open up in order to bloom. I sometimes feel as though maturation is a process of unfolding ourselves, unpacking, relaxing, softening. When I was a young wife and mother, I was somewhat closed up, tightly furled, always on guard. As I got older, I got kinder, gentler, more compassionate, looser. I smiled more often. I sometimes wish now that I had allowed myself to bloom earlier. A rosebud is full of potential. A rose in full bloom is beautiful, the potential realized.
My final symbol is a heart. I believe in love. God is love. Love transforms us. Love is the key to peace, joy, tenderness, and compassion. Love is release and surrender, unconditional and relentless. Love, like the sun, makes us shine just a little bit brighter with its reflected light. You can’t buy love, escape love, deny love, or prevent love. Love sees imperfections, allows room for anger or grief, and always hopes for and believes in the best in everyone. The perfect description of love is in 1 Corinthians “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.“
Those are symbols that represent me much better than a goat does.
What’s your sign?
I am linking up with Clean East Fast Feets for her Week in Review, Shank You Very Much for Global Blogging, Mary-andering Creatively for LMM, Random-osity for The Good, The Random, The Fun, blovedboston for Weekending, and Holly from HoHo Runs and Wendy from Taking the Long Way Home for their Weekly Wrap.