Friday, January 9, 2009

The Tiniest Light

The holidays are behind us now. We dreaded them in advance, and they pretty much lived up to our expectations. Christmas morning I was a wreck. Jill and I got out of bed and I wandered around the house in tears, trying not to spoil anyone’s day.

Every year for the previous nine years I have purchased mint sets of the five 50 State Quarters released over the previous year for Rachel and Erik and my two nephews, Levi and Samuel. It was my tribute to my grandfather, William Travis Temple, who was an avid coin collector. We spent many happy and memorable times together searching for coins with a metal detector on the beach (mostly we found pop-tops from soda and beer cans). When the US Mint began the program I thought it would be fun for the kids to look forward to building their collection as the years went by. This year was the tenth and final release of the 50 State Quarters program. I didn’t get to give Rachel her final set. 

I purchased a set for Rachel anyway. I couldn’t not do it. We had hung Rachel’s stocking in the usual place. I put the 2008 State Quarters Mint set in her stocking, and it was the only thing in it this year (I should have put a box of Andes in there also, because that was always a non-negotiable treat in her stocking). I didn’t know what else to do. It probably sounds crazy, but it was the only way I could think to send a message of love to my daughter this Christmas. 

Well, that set me off, and I struggled all morning to keep my composure. Of course, I couldn’t hide it from Jill. As much as I hate to admit it, she reads me like a book. We held each other in our bedroom, standing beside our dresser, crying. Ida, our family dog, is very sensitive to our emotions. She came and sat our feet, obviously in distress. Just when we thought we weren’t going to make it through the day, Ida farted. The noise surprised even her, and she turned around to see where it had come from. Our tears turned to laughter, our moods were lightened, and, I think, the day was rescued from the brink of complete disaster. God works in mysterious ways.

From “Concerning The Book Which Is The Body Of The Beloved”

by Gregory Orr

If deepest grief is hell

When the animal self

Wants to lie down

In the dark and die also...

If deepest grief is hell,

Then the world returning

(Not soon, not easily)

Must be heaven.

The joke you laughed at

Must be heaven.

Or the funny thing

The cat did

At its food dish.


Guides you back

To the world.

That dark so deep

The tiniest light

Will do.

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