"What He ordains for us each moment is what is most holy, best, and most divine for us." Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sacred Ground

I've been walking on sacred ground lately. Not the kind that has ornate walls or stained glass windows. Nor have I visited any Indian mounds in recent past. This one has just been a basic home with rockers on the front porch and a fruit bearing pear tree in the back. It belonged to my daughter-in-love's mother who passed away on Sept. 10 at the age of 59. Far too young. So I've been helping do what one does when such happens. And in the process, finding the need to maybe take off my shoes.

We began the difficult task in the kitchen ... after all, it was "safe." The patterns may be different, but we all have dishes, basic pots and pans, and cooking utensils. The living room provided ample opportunity to find out what kind of movies she liked to watch; what kind of books she liked to read; and what kind of music she liked to listen to. The walls of the back room revealed her past love of horses. And turned down pages in the cookbooks revealed her favorite recipes. But it wasn't until we began dusting off boxes and opening closet doors did the need to remove my sandals become increasingly evident.

Dolls she had cradled as a child ... a brown paper bag full of letters written to her love when he was away ... a well loved lamb that dated back to her childhood ... a worn teddy bear, the kind with real button eyes ... a tiny song book compiled for US soldiers and sailors, with her grandfather's name, battalion, and station inscribed in it -- in his own handwriting -- which he carried while serving in WWI ... teachings on deliverance ... century old hymnbooks ... an unfinished baby blanket for a grandchild she will never hold ... poems from her own pen ... a poinsettia Christmas pin attached to a favorite coat ... a family picture album she had made for her mother so many years ago ... a well-used Bible that remained right next to her bed until the day she died. Quite frankly, I found moving that off its place on the nightstand the most holy act of all.

At times, my daughter-in-love and I have laughed so hard we have snorted. At others times, we've shed tears. We have sneezed. We have rolled our eyes. And yet sometimes, many times, silence has been the only appropriate response. But if the truth be known, I've learned more about this woman in the last 6 weeks than I knew in the previous 6 years. And I'm honored and grateful for the privilege.

Sacred ground. It comes in all shapes, forms, and fashion.

Just an ordinary moment...