There is a Season

"...for signs and for seasons, for days and for years.." --Genesis 1:14

Thoughts on spirituality, nature,

& the seasons of human experience.

 

About the Author
readercatAs Readercat, I've been a Delphi member since 2000. Since my first wanderings into the neighborhood, I've met many new friends and conversed about dreams, literature, various health concerns, spiritual perspectives, women's issues, teaching, cats, and gardens.  My career is education with a specialization in adult literacy.  In some of my concurrent nine lives, I also participate in book groups and try new skills in digital photography.  .
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25 June 2014

What comes to pass remains

I have been back to Delphi forums to make sure that "I" was still here several times, but forgot my password until now...and eight years have past since I begin this blog. My dear one passed in November of 2008. I've moved twice, and have a little house with three cats. Reading back over my posts of his diagnosis and the time after surgery, I recognize the person I was, quite viscerally, even remembering the summer air out on the land, just as I have celebrated solstice again, here in the city. My home sits on a corner where three streets meet, along the route that led to our house. Not a day goes by that he is not in my mind, but as our physician said, when people die, they "come to live in your heart." That comment he shared, early in 2009, got me through some hard times. I don't know when the change-over came, but the loss that rips the soul healed in ways that were imperceptible at the time, but I can look back and say, "it happened." One catalyst, I am sure, was my trip to the Seattle and northern areas last summer. I visited places we had been and drove past where we had lived. Our condo was still there, well kept, looking better than we left it actually. There is something sustaining about that. My goals this summer, to get the storage locker cleared out, sell items or give away or bring them here, so my life is finally again on home base. On our anniversary, I planted a Japanese maple like the one I once wrote about, one that will turn colors in the fall. The yard has dogwood and blue spruce, a little path between them that leads to too much lawn. I like to think this is the kind of home we would have retired to.
 
25 July 2010

Still here!

New house, memories, blessings
This lamp turned out to be just right for honoring the memory of my husband and his fascination with "retro" and mid-century light fixtures. Who knew that this lamp would become one of my favorites, with its round simplicity and floating leaf design. Now settled in the city in a smaller house, I find that the old home is still with me in so many ways, yet I enjoy ways of making the new place distinctively mine...although the connection between past and present is always there. The cozy back yard here has overhanging old trees, a squirrel or two, and a neighobor's yard with chickens on the other side of the back, chain link fence. In the sunny area by the wooden gate that leads to the driveway, rose bushes climb, and perennials and herbs thrive in big clay pots. When the cats stretch out in the shade, and wander about in the evening, I feel like I'm in a little Eden, just outside my back door.
 
28 March 2009

Stone and Water

A lenten ritual

This photo shows a bowl of water, full of stones with candles surrounding.  And this scene takes me to a story of a year ago...and to the Sundays of Lent this year.  In a ritual with natural elements, particpants are invited to "leave the stone that weighs you down" in the bowl of water, and then sit in prayer and meditation time while a musician plays.

I first particpated in what I originally called the "sin stone" ritual last year, and I've come to believe that through my telling of this experience, my husband found a peace that he needed to find before he died several months later.  Last year, as Lent began, I entered the church and saw the bowl of clear water on a small table, just as it's pictured here.  The greeter held out a basket of smooth river stones.  Soon after the opening music, the priest explained that there would be a quiet interlude midway during the service.  We could, if we so chose, decide what our stones meant to us--a burden, a wrongdoing, a worry---something we wanted to give up or leave behind.  Then during the music and contemplation time, we could walk up and drop the stone in the water.  The first week when we did this ritual, it was offered after saying a traditional confessional prayer, so when I went home I told my husband I had participated in something beautiful and calming, all done with rocks, water, and candles.  In explaining Lent as a time of reflection and repentance, I described the rocks as "sin stones."  The next week, the bowl of water and the stones were there, and I took my camera and showed my husband the photos afterwards.  Though he didn't often have much interest in religious activities, he was curious.

He said this sounded beautiful, especially with the unstructured part, and the privacy allowed.  The stone could mean something personal that did not need to be shared with others...and you could sit quietly afterwards.  He started coming to these weekly gatherings in this friendly, sacred space.  A few months later, in May 2008, he was baptized in that same space where the bowl of water had been.  He was not one to put personal experience to words, but when I asked why he wanted to be baptized, he just said it felt right, complete, like a missed opportunity he'd been given back.  But I believe it was the gentleness of the invitation, when he first saw the water and the stones.

This year, we are doing the ritual again with different variations, and this year my answers are different, though the questions remain similar.  "What is the stone that is holding you down?"  "What is the burden you want to release?"  and so on.  And I realize that my husband, facing a likely decline in health, was asking himself those questions last year, and I must have faith that they were answered.  So now, when I leave the stone in the water, I think about him and wish him peace.  And through a very painful self questioning, I realize that I must release my fighting with his illness, my replayed worries about whether he got the best treatment, whether this-or-that I could have done would have kept him more comfortable, maybe still alive to go through this spring ritual with me again. 

The closing hymn at Tom's memorial service was "Precious Lord, take my hand" and I'm reminded of the most meaningful line:  "At the river I stand, guide my feet, hold my hand..."  In the same space near the altar, the words of that song have long faded.  Those who gathered in November to sing and say goodbye to him have gone home, and gone are container of his ashes, the photos and objects that represented his life---what now stands in that space again are the stones and the water that have taken us through this Lenten season, my first one without his physical presence in my daily life.When all who have left their stones in the water sit in contemplation, I realize that the bowl full of stones is just as beautiful as the bowl full of empty water.  The stones we left behind lie in a randomly-shaped pile, much as river rocks gathered at an inlet, a stopping place in a river.  At the river I stand, precious Lord, take my hand...

 

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