Sixty-three years ago today, during a brief 24-hour lull between two hurricanes, my mother-in-law delivered her first child at the hospital of the Kittery Naval Shipyard in Maine.
The photo on the left below, taken on the roof of my husband’s childhood home (one of them, anyway) embodies his spirit, for me.
Lord knows what this experience was about — probably an expedition to tackle all of that plant growth around the chimney. But knowing my husband, he was among the first in this little family group to volunteer for it.
Second from the right, he’s facing the photographer almost completely, in a stance that suggests balance, and ease. These two qualities are not only a part of who he is essentially, but what he often offers to the situations around him.
My true life companion, he is my fellow traveler in the most meaningful of ways. Many of our adventures lately have been ones that retrace family history, in Ireland, Britain, and Europe.
On one of his journal-writing days, he captured down some thoughts as he contemplated words of writer Anne Lamott’s about being part of the tapestry of life and of relationships, and the pathway by which souls learn and grow and evolve.
His words on the page reminded me of this: “Heirloom is a compound word, with its roots in heredity and looming. Weaving, writing and painting our stories into the things we create is a way of feeding the Holy in Nature, which has kept us fed and alive.
“And as we put all of our lostness and longing into the beauty we make, we do so knowing that we may never hope for more than to pass on these heirlooms to the young ones so they may find their way home across the songlines, as we have been found by those who made beautiful things before us. If even one generation is denied their inheritance, the story and the way home may be lost. As it is said in West Africa, ‘When an elder dies, a library burns to the ground.’” ~ Toko-pa
After six-plus decades of my own life, I’m finding more and more each day that the most pervading art form and inheritance we leave in the world may be summed up in the following questions, for which I thank author Ronnie Tomanio — and my husband, for years of willingness to live them together:
At this moment in time, what is the act of service I am capable of giving that will build up the good in this relationship?