Monday, January 25, 2010

The Rope that Binds

This weekend our family was meeting for a reunion - family means ten adult children (some of us are in laws) and two parents. Included in the activities was a gathering time to share stories of family history Each person was asked to bring a small token to symbolize his/her story. My husband was in charge of this evening.

What Jim thought about doing was creating a line/thread/rope of connection, not only in an emotional sense, but a practical representation. He found a half inch rope about 25 feet long, which he brought along. One person took one end of the rope. Another person on the other side of the circle held the other end, thus the rope was suspended across the circle. One person told their story and put the symbol on the rope with a Christmas ornament attachment. Thinking of time constraints, Jim first thought that only the person on the other end of the rope would be allowed to comment on the story, but it turned out that comments were free for all and it worked fine. When a speaker was finished, the rope moved to the right at each end - a speaking end and a receiving end, until the rope made it all around the circle. By the end 14 little items dangled off the rope giving us reminders of the family stories.

This isn't a complicated or expensive activity. Hearing the stories would have been lovely. Having the visual rope to visualize the binding added an additional component. Seeing how the family members creatively brought their "ornaments" to the occasion was a fun addition. We hung the rope in an appropriate location at the parent's house so they could enjoy and relive the evening for as long as they wanted.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Baby's Life Journal

I have made a journal for our grand daughter. The purpose is to give her a grandma's eye view of her life until she is 18. I started the book when she was born and each year I add 2 pages. I talk about what I remember of that year, add a photo of her and a sketch of mine. I hand made the book and was rather intimidated to start to the writing process, but I jumped in and told myself it would be what it would be. Maya was 3 recently and I sat back and enjoyed reading the previous entries. Maybe this book is for me, but I would like to think she may be excited to get it when she is 18.

Maya is going to have a new sister or brother at the end of the month. I realized it was time to find another book for the new baby. If I have one for Maya, I had better do one for the new child. I have a friend who makes books. We have picked out the paper and she is putting it together so I will be ready to write the first entry when new baby arrives in a couple of weeks.

I wasn't thinking of creating meaningful moments when I first started this project, but it came to mind as I was planning on starting another. I love to think about the child as her birthday comes round each year. Meaningful moments happen as I think about the year. It seems like the book will be a treasure when it is done. I hope so. Meanwhile I will enjoy the process.

Monday, January 4, 2010

"P.S. I love You"

I recently read this book - "P.S. I love You" by Cecelia Ahern and was struck by the loving and creative energy that Gerry (the dead husband) put into thinking about Holly (his surviving young wife). I was amazed by Gerry's careful planning while he was dealing with the end of his life. How could he stay connected with Holly after he was gone? How could he help her make her way without him?

When folks like Gerry have the foresight, strength and time to think about their loved ones before passing on, there is potential to bridge the gap between the living and the dead. Each person's life journey is unique and is something that we can't necessarily plan for. Yet by reading a story like this, and being aware of the potential of staying connected, amazing opportunity may present itself.

Gerry left a bundle of letters for Holly, instructing her to open them monthly and gave her a task to do for each of them. He understood her so well that he instinctively knew what she might need to help her move through her grieving and on with her life.

What struck me most was Gerry's thoughtfulness and ability to think of a creative way to help Holly. This may be a novel, but it can plant seeds for a later time for each of us. Let's keep our hearts open for opportunity in any situation - even dying.