Memorials

“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.” 

Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

I am…

B…simply being.

~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. 

 

A Commitment

We are home from a short camping trip over to Big Bend country. We both love it there because it is so isolated. We were quickly reminded that it is very very very warm there this time of year.

Once home, I learned a tough lesson–one that comes with several parts. In an earlier post I shared a picture of the garden I planted in honor of my sister, Beth, and my cousin, Donna. Michael and I worked so hard on it. We used all the tricks we could think of preparing for what we knew could be stressful for it while we were gone. In addition to that, we asked a neighbor to come over daily to water that garden and a collection of potted vegetables. They agreed and visited with us the day before we left. We gave watering instructions and told them we would have the hose out and handy so the chore would be a quick and easy one.

Well…I think they may have passed the job off to one of the kids. We were gone four days and the attached picture is my memorial garden today. Michael watered it quickly in hopes he could make it look better before I walked out to see it. I am not sure we can revive it. Now, on the plus side, the vegetables look wonderful–we are thankful for that but sure do wish everything looked as good.

There are a couple of lessons here for me. The first one is to be cautious when you create things in memory of someone. When something happens to that honorary thing–whatever that may be–be prepared for that loss. It is a new one that will pick at that  roughly healed scar. Heavens, this is not a huge loss by any means, but it feels that way to me and it will cause me some grief for a while. The second lesson–and it is one that I am given over and over again–be careful when you ask a friend or a neighbor to do something for you. What happens when it does not work out? It may be worth hiring someone to do it–if that paid worker makes an error, you have recourse. When it is a friend or neighbor–you only have hard feelings.

There is also a tangential lesson here and it is an important reminder for all of us.  If you agree to do something for someone, do it. Simple. Keep your word. This past week saw very high temperatures with high humidity in our area–all making that walk over to our house a lot less enjoyable than it was a few days ago.

I found this very gentle instructional quote while I was thinking about my lessons of the day.

Commitment means staying loyal to what you said you were going to do long after the mood you said it in has left you. 

I am…

B…simply being…

Love and peace, y’all.