Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Meditating On DeForest...


Creation's Las Vegas STAR TREK convention ( is just six weeks away. It's time to prepare in earnest.

I have begun to "Meditate on De" more frequently -- every lunch time -- and to imagine different presentation options. This is a bittersweet process. The sweet part is obvious: thinking a lot about De and recalling all the fun, funny, wonderful interactions we enjoyed. The bitter part is that I am beginning to miss him again. A lot.

When someone you love passes away, you eventually have to move on or your life is over to all intents and purposes. I deliberately decided one day in 2000 not to become a bug caught in amber.

They say that "Women survive by remembering; men survive by forgetting." I am somewhere in the middle in this regard.

For many years and for several years after De passed away, I had a "Kelley Room" -- a fun sort of "shrine" (without the idolatry attached) that kept me smiling and ever-aware of the immense impact the Kelleys had on my young life and all the years after. I would enter the Kelley Room to grin, to sigh, to look at the photos and remember where each one was taken -- which convention, which visit... and to realize how much I had grown and blossomed as a result of their contributions to my sense of "measuring up" and being a worthwhile individual. They had helped me discover that I was a blessing (before I was born again), and that I was designed to be a blessing, not a wallflower!

When I moved back to Washington four years ago, all but three or four of the photos went into albums, as did the notes and cards that had been a part of the Kelley Room. I knew it was time to put the past in the past and work with the sense of adequacy the Kelleys and my born-again status had given me and to begin to manifest all the dreams and goals they and God knew I was capable of achieving. My legacy from the Kelleys had to take wings and not be kept to myself in a room with four walls any longer. I was a Writer and an Encourager and a born again Christian, and my life began to transform in a new way. Not away from the legacy the Kelleys had left, but away from the day-to-day reminders in that room of all that was past.

Not lost, not gone, but past.

So over time I was able to largely divest myself of the "missing" part, mostly by reminding myself every time I started missing them in earnest that the Kelleys are now safely in heaven and that they don't want me -- or any of us -- being morose over the fact that they aren't here anymore. They are dancing where they are and want us to be dancing and making contributions down here until we can reconnect up there.

That is how I was able to step away from the burden of missing De, by focusing on what is left to be done. And part of what is left for me to do is to reconnect with his fans at times and let them know -- confirm for them -- that they have really great taste in human beings and that what they believed they saw in De is exactly the way he was -- good, through and through. Not perfect -- none of us are -- but very, very good.

The "not perfect" aspects were habits/strongholds (smoking, drinking until late in life) , not essence. Some fans have bellyached because De smoked and yet portrayed a doctor and should have known better. He did know better -- all smokers do. He never smoked in public because he didn't want any fan thinking that because he did it, it was a cool thing to do.

Like most people his age, he got hooked on cigarettes when he was a teenager or young adult, long before there were any studies out about smoking's deleterious effects on the human body. Of course, growing up in church in the 1920's and 30's he heard sermons aplenty from his father, I imagine, regarding drinking and smoking to know that it wasn't God's will for him ("Your body is the temple of the Lord, don't defile it...") , but that aside... it was a common "affliction" of adults in the decades in which he grew up... We're in a new era and there are far fewer smokers these days, so the habit looks gross now where before it was as much a part of the American landscape as trees and lakes and skies and smiles. (To the delight of the tobacco industry.)

Other than those two vices, the man was an utter gem. His compassion, sense of humor, concern, treatment of people and animals -- all were exemplary. In him I saw what Man was supposed to reflect: peaceful, marvelous grace and mercy. And fun! SO MUCH FUN!!!

When I do set out to "remember De" these days I find myself intellectualizing too much. That can be deadly. It doesn't resurrect his essence to intellectualize too much.

There was something primal there -- something remembered from childhood, before the world became a scary place and not even a parent could protect you from it. (In fact, at times it was a parent who was the scary place...)

There was a time when we all felt perfectly safe with someone, likely the mother whose breast sustained us and a father who couldn't hold, cuddle, tickle and hug us enough. (Likely before age four or five, the age when we begin skittering away to finding the rest of the world marvelous and magical and Mom and Dad mostly good for riding herd on injuries and regular meals.) Our earliest years are not a time we can remember the way we can remember our first traumas. It was an innocent, precious time of life when we somehow knew that God lived in our houses and our mother and father reflected Him, without judging us in any way deficient, lacking or in any other way a disappointment. We were loved without limit and we knew it!

There was a time when we were loved and as safe as if we were nestled physically against God's own breast.

That's how I felt being around De. Every time. It was childlike; it was total trust...

Oh, not at first! At first when the Kelleys took such an interest in me, after I moved down to Hollywood and came within their reach really for the first time, I was very, very suspicious! I couldn't imagine what they would want with me, unless it was something twisted... You know... "Hollywood people" ... you get the feeling they will find ways to violate you if you get too close and let them into your heart and life the way an innocent, unsuspecting child would...

I was leery at first. It was hard to remember to be leery of them, because they acted so genuinely harm-less and so pro-actively helpful, but I was. My sense of my own value to others was pretty much in the toilet, so I couldn't figure out why they were being so solicitous of me, unless... unless.. they had ulterior motives...

I was as flattered as a person can be by the attention... but I was... paranoid! (Hey, maybe that helped cement my relationship with Carolyn. They pretty much had to pursue ME, so she deemed me no threat to HER!)

And yet... I was drawn to them like a moth to a flame... and realized I could get very badly burned if in their heart of hearts they weren't honorable people.

I laugh about it now, realizing how much time I wasted back-pedaling like that!!!

DeForest Kelley was not ever going to hurt me... or you... or anyone else... if he could avoid it. And apparently he avoided it very, very well because you saw the responses of fans and co-workers and friends when he passed away. No one had a single bad thing to say about him.

Nor do I.

De was the dad I "shoulda" had, I sometimes think, and then I remember: God doesn't make mistakes assigning us parents! I had the parents I needed in order to become the person a genuine treasure of a man like DeForest Kelley could reclaim and set back on her feet. I can help others the way De helped me -- the moment I recognize anyone with a similar fragile self-image.

Leonard Nimoy once wrote "We are all children searching for love." I would agree and I would add that God is Love. We are all children searching for a God Who loves us the way De loved us.

I have found the God who loves that way. I guess De had to go away before I would take my eyes off him long enough to see the outline of the One inhabiting him and directing all his actions!

It's like that sometimes. I never worshipped De. I knew that was not appropriate. But the Person who animated De -- the Holy Spirit -- is entirely worship-able.

Let Him love you -- run to Him the way a toddler runs to his or her mother, arms outstretched and yearning with all your might to reach Him -- and you will discover what it was like to be loved by De. And more! This One will be here to love you forever -- and forever after!

You are utterly safe in the everlasting arms of a Father who loves you without limit no matter how many times you have run Him ragged or embarrassed or ignored Him.

He's ready right now to receive you. What are you waiting for?

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

It's too bad I can't say anything resembling the last part of the above in Vegas without being ruled "out of line."



Read this. It's just terrific! Applause for Patti Davis (Ronald Reagan's daughter)


Alison said...

All I can say is I'm honoured to be on your blog. To be on your blog next to De makes me feel like the insect at the foot of a great statue, but it is also a wonderful honour!!!

You're missing him. I guess this comes in phases. Nothing to be said. Only, keep him in your heart and feel your feelings. It's all good. I reckon he misses you too. xxxx

Kristine M Smith said...

You are no insect, Alison! God made you the same way He made De. Take him off the pedestal you have him on and give the world what you are and have without comparing yourself to him or to anyone else!



Alison said...

So am I. Though I am exhausted.

One other point - you mentioned the smoking vice. It was absolutely a generational thing in his case. I think it's important to note he gave up smoking when he did. I was disappointed when I realised he was a smoker because I hate it - it killed my mother after all! But all that fell away when I read that a man in his mid 70s had the will power to give it up. My grandfather did the same. It separates the 'generational fashion' from the smokers who choose to smoke now regardless of the damage it causes to themselves and others. I was so proud of him when I read that. Says a lot about him I think!

Anonymous said...

Whoa! I mean he died the year I was five so I wouldn't remember it, but I just wanna cuddle up with him so much. My older brother was born at 3:30 am on Jan. 21 - just a few hours short of sharing his birthday with De.