Is the world constructed of atoms or stories? I think stories, but if it’s constructed of atoms, then the atoms surely weave themselves into stories. There are so many stories; with lights still flickering that won’t be dampened.
All of us are lit from within. Some of us have our lights turned on the dimmest settings, but the lights in some just can’t be dimmed, even after the erosive affects of bodily death and elapsing decades of time. It’s not even the light so much but what the light represents and the truth both emanating from and hidden by the light. And what is the meaning of this truth, and how does it affect me, and how does it affect us all?
I embark upon a pilgrimage of sorts, not a pilgrimage to distant places to find answers, but on a pilgrimage exploring my own soil. As Dorothy tapped her ruby slippers and said there is no place like home, I too awaken to the realization that our roots provide our greatest and wisest vantage point. The strongest pilgrimage is finding those genuinely sacred places in our own back yard. This is a quest to awaken the spirits who once toiled, shed tears, laughed and loved here and to connect with them. The center point of this trek is a woman named Sally.
A life in the public eye is celebrated with magnification of every victory or every fault. But what of the billions of lives lived out in a seemingly mundane existence? How do we celebrate those? This is the story of one of those lives. This is the story of one of those humble lives, the life of Sally. Although her life was humble, it was far from mundane. As each life reaches out as a droplet in the wave touching the lives around it, sometimes a life will extend beyond the wave it’s a part of touching generations to come with a soothing comfort. Sally’s life was such a particle of water. It had the force to eject out from the wave and land on you and cool you on a hot summer day.
Why are we born were we are born? Most of us if we haven’t already will ask this at some point in our life. As the planet spins, most of us race along in rotational sync from place to place looking for that hallowed ground burning with a gravitational rooted sacredness that calls out to us. A few of us will stand firm on the soil on which we were born, or we might sit restless at the place of our birth looking for meaning in the dust beneath our feet. It is often said that the grass is greener on the other side. I am finding that the grass is quite green where I sit, even emerald. So I meditate on my own grass and wonder what lives were lived on this very soil as the sun rose and the sun sat, as moons changed, as flowers bloomed into momentary splendor and then withered. Babies were born, some living to be old men and old women, while others journeyed onto this earth only shortly. All as droplets of water rose and receded with the wave dancing the cosmic dance both alone and together, sometimes in rhythm and sometimes out of step. Lessons were studied. Lessons were learned. A few roles were perfected. A spray of new waves rolled upon the sand as the previous waves after playing out their brief drama both paying their dues and reaping their rewards were called back to the vast ocean from whence they had emerged.
The multitude of particles within the waves beating against the shore deposited mostly simple lives; yet as I found to be the case with Sally, the simple, uncelebrated lives, are the most complex. One day they arise again, a watery ghostly tide, begging for celebration. The celebration follows from recollections both true and false, both exaggerated and understated, generations removed. The generations removed look back and reflect while looking for meaning to their own cosmic dance.
I choose to see a perfect soul in Sally. For to see imperfection in her, or in anyone else for that matter, would mean I, myself, would be looking with imperfect vision. This is the yoga of Sally, her God image, shining out through her personality and bodily image.
(I met Sally when I was 8. She was 103 at the time, mopping the floor, when I saw her. She lived to be 110. That was the only time I ever saw her, but it was one of those pivotal points of my life. There is really no one left to tell the whole story of her life. I have been researching her life off and on for the past four years. It’s a journey that has taken a life of its own and gone much further than I intended. There is still much work to be done on it. It took two years to find this picture – one of those synchronicities.)
I’m thankful for the experience of meeting her.