Thursday, June 17, 2010

New Tools

This weekend our family had a lovely Circle of Sharing in honor of my father-in-law who passed away. Thirty-two immediate family members met to celebrate this special person. We used a circle format with everyone having a chance to speak. (read earlier blogs for more circle explanations)

Of the fourteen grandchildren, two couldn't make it to the gathering- one due to illness and other was too far away.

Enter tool #1: One granddaughter's dad set up a Skype, so she could hear and see everything. She could also offer her remembrance. The mom of the other granddaughter called her on the cell phone, and the phone was passed around the circle so she too could hear the memories of her grandpa. The Skype took some figuring to set up as we were outside. The phone was easy. I was amazed at the ingenuity of the parents of these girls to figure out how to include them in our circle. Even though they weren't there in person, having them a step closer and connected was heartwarming for us all.

Tool #2: In our circle there were several elders who were hard of hearing. As we were outside and had no microphone I was a little worried about everybody being able to hear. I thought about it a bit and realized that I couldn't tell who could hear and who couldn't. We needed a way to communicate when the speaker wasn't talking loud enough. I suggested that when a person couldn't hear, he/she would put her thumb up and the speaker would know to talk louder. This simple tool worked wonderfully well and most people were able to hear all that was said.

Our circle tools and practices grow with our various situations. Technology and a specific need allowed these new (to me) tools to emerge and helped to make our circle an even more satisfying experience.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Neverending Journey

This story in our newspaper caught my eye. This man knew how to keep traveling even after he was gone.

Karl was a local science teacher and track coach. He and his wife loved to travel. After having a debilitating stroke, his travel days were over, yet he and his wife relived the adventures they had experienced together through sharing the stories.

The two of them decided that there was no reason that his adventures couldn't continue - at least in spirit. After his death and cremation, his wife put Karl's ashes into many small green pill bottles. She invited friends who were traveling to take a bit of Karl on their trip and drop him off is some foreign land. He laughed as they thought about this ahead of time, saying, "I won't even have to pay for an airline ticket."

So far he has been on an African safari, run a marathon in Athens, visited the forests of Germany, found the tip of Tierra del Fuego, glimpsed the Amalfi coast in Italy, hiked in Arizona and the story is not finished. There are still more bits of Karl who yearn to see even more of the world. His wife invites people to take him along whenever they are having a travel adventure.

His wife has a map of the world on her wall at home. Each time a person takes Karl on a trip, she has a push pin to mark where he was left.

This man had a quirky vision and put it into action with the help of his wife. His family has been enjoying Karl's travels, and laugh and think about all the trips he is still taking. Karl is still marking moments even after his death.