Saturday, January 03, 2009

The Shape of Hope

This post was inspired by Elizabeth. Tomorrow is my birthday. I'll be 29 again. I always start thinking about the way life comes full circle at this time of year. Although the Christies are facing the task of putting away the Christmas decorations, a chore that I absolutely dread, there is still a reason to be hopeful. I take solace in counting the circles in my life that bring me hope.

First there is the circle of love that surrounds me: family, friends, children, pets, and random strangers whose kindness reminds me of how we are connected in spirit through our humanity.

Next there is the circle of security that gives me comfort in my life: my marriage symbolized by rings, and my home that surrounds me in warmth.

Finally there is the endless repetition of circles in nature that reinforce my spiritual faith. I'm sure the most prominent hint I am given of the existence of God and eternity is through the seasons. Although we are entering the depths of winter, spring is on its way without question. My birthday brings this past year full circle for me, just a piece of a season in the journey of my life.

I am not a big fan of change, but I know that it is a good thing. When I was newly married my paternal grandfather passed away. At his wake people were putting things in his coffin, like pictures. I felt awkward because I did not really have a close relationship with him. I slipped him a note, feeling the sad regret of never saying the words I wrote aloud to him during his life. It read:

Dear Grandpa,

I'm sorry I didn't get to know you as much as I would have liked. I will always remember you. My favorite flower is still the lilac. When I see it in bloom I think of the bush in your backyard, and how you cut so many blossoms for my to take home when I was small. They smelled so sweet. I love you.


His funeral took place on a really cold day, and I remember picking up some hyacinths on a whim later at the grocery store. I was thinking of the lilacs, since the two plants have similar-looking blossoms. These were only in the bud stage. I put them in the kitchen and went to bed. The next morning, the hyacinths had fully bloomed, long fragrant, purple stalks. I thought of the lilac tree and my note. Perhaps grandpa was answering me in the only way he could, through nature. The gift of this sooner-than-expected bloom gave me hope that winter would soon be transformed.

"Sometimes our fate resembles a fruit tree in the
winter. Who would think that those branches would
turn green again and blossom,
but we hope it, we know it." - Johann Wolfgang Goethe


Putz said...

jack benny and i are 39, i could never be 29 even when i was 29...that was just awful

Louise, Carmine Superiore said...

What a beautiful, thoughtful post. Thank-you.

Elizabeth Kathryn Gerold-Miller said...

This was beautiful. I don't know how I inspired this but I feel honored. I was not close with my grandfather either, through no fault of my own. I remember him saying "Children should be seen and not heard" and "How do you like them apples?" When I attended his wake to be supportive of my own father, a non-relative my own age came up to me and gushed about how he was like a grandfather to her! I do have some of his beautiful paintings in my home, and am thankful for the memory of his intelligence and artistry.

Dear Internet Traveler,

Welcome to my writer's blog, started about six years ago for fun. Over time, the writing I have posted has ranged from personal reflection, to Long Island history research, to tall tales for my own amusement, to feature articles for local newspapers. As you can see from topics listed here, I travel in many mental directions in regard to interests. Click on the tabs and labels to explore my strange mind which senses that you may be having a criss-cross day. If so, perhaps this blog will distract you. However, please note that if you tell me my blog is beautiful just to get me to advertise rhinoplasty surgery and cheap drugs from Canada in your comment, I will ask the gods to give you a tail that cannot be concealed.


Loren Christie

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