“When tea becomes ritual, it takes its place at the heart of our ability to see greatness in small things. Where is beauty to be found? In great things that, like everything else, are doomed to die, or in small things that aspire to nothing, yet know how to set a jewel of infinity in a single moment?”
― Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog
I’ve written about rituals before because they intrigue me and I think we need to create them.
My friend, Glynis, reminded me of my questions about ritual when she sent me this picture of her morning cup of tea. This beautiful cup was one of the last gifts she’d received from her friend, Sherrie. Glynis had been saving this fragile little cup because it’d become so special after Sherrie’s death. Now, after re-discovering it, Glynis realized life is to short to save special things for only special times.
Now, every morning, as Glynis savors her tea and alone time, Sherrie joins her–every single morning–so simple and so very special.
Even though my arthritis often grabs my attention, I do know aging is a privilege not given to all. It comes with a very difficult downside–the loss of family members and friends.
I’ve learned a way to lessen my sorrow by creating a visual memorial to each loss.
For me, it was an easy choice.
After my cousin, Donna, died I started my first flower garden. It was my Donna garden for years until it evolved into the Donna-Bethie garden. When we moved, I couldn’t take the garden with me but I could take some of the special rocks surrounding it.
When we moved into our new home on the hill, the garden was reconstructed and replanted. As the years have passed, I’ve created more gardens and named them in honor of others lost. Each special person memorialized in a personal and powerful way.
I’d always felt a ritual had to be something huge. I now understand a ritual can be as simple as a rock, a rose, or as grand as grand as a tree.
I’m pretty sure size does not matter to the soul.
“This is what rituals are for. We do spiritual ceremonies as human beings in order to create a safe resting place for our most complicated feelings of joy or trauma, so that we don’t have to haul those feelings around with us forever, weighing us down. We all need such places of ritual safekeeping. And I do believe that if your culture or tradition doesn’t have the specific ritual you are craving, then you are absolutely permitted to make up a ceremony of your own devising, fixing your own broken-down emotional systems with all the do-it-yourself resourcefulness of a generous plumber/poet.”
~Peace be with you, my friends.~
Special thanks to my friend, Glynis Walker Morse, for sharing her ritual and her photo. Love you, my friend.