It was a family celebration. So many had traveled a long distance to be there. This was a special occasion where everyone dressed in crisply pressed outfits, shined their shoes, and combed their hair so it was just perfect. Cowlicks were on their best behavior, or Aqua-netted into submission.
I wore a yellow and white dress with a embroidered bumblebees. On the peasant-styled top half a single bee sat as the rest of the bee colony scattered and buzzed along the bottom left corner of my ruffled skirt. I remember knee high dress socks and patent leather molly-brown-hush-puppy shoes on my fidgeting feet. The sense of energy in this day was overwhelming in my six or seven year old body. My mind and body was a beehive of anticipation waiting for the festivities to begin.
My Grandmother always dressed in modest, but stylish ensembles and her hair was coiffed to fluffy silver-white perfection. Grandma smelled of sweet powder and when she bent over to give me a kiss. I was happily taken off guard by her baby-soft skin, her precise rose--colored lipstick and impressed by her coordinated pearl necklace and earring set. On this day, because it was so special - she wore a lily corsage that I tried to be careful not to bump when she gave me a squeeze. Grandpap, who looked and smelled just as handsome as she, stood proudly as he gently pinned the flower and ribbon to her dress collar. She in turn pinned his matching, but not quite as frilly corsage, onto the lapel of his dapper pinstriped soft-grey suit. In their celebration attire, my grandparents looked like beautiful blue, grey and pink coordinated bookends. They fit so well together, it was hard to see where one ended and the other began.
The room was the largest I'd ever seen. It was bigger than my churches fellowship hall or school cafeteria and much fancier too. Tall long stemmed glasses, linen wrapped silverware, and single stemmed roses in crystal filled each table waiting for people to fill it. In the middle of the ceiling of the banquet room a candelabra shimmered in the dimmed light. Colors danced as the light filtered through the teardrops of cut glass.
There were place cards at each setting telling everyone to sit, and my Mom helped me find my spot with all my similar-aged cousins and sister. The boys sat with the boys and the girls sat with the girls as the adults mixed in at tables as marked. The servers dressed in black slacks and white tops and carried impressive amounts of breadbaskets, side salads and entrees to each table. Even the children's tables had their very own servers.
With each passing course, the sound level raised a notch or two. Silverware and glasses clinked, joined in and making their festive remarks on the occasion. We all happily ate our meals and our table in particular debated on if the rose-molded pats of butter should be eaten on the bread, or left as is because they were so pretty.
The party progressed from appetizers and salad to dinner, and as each plate was cleared away the moment we all were waiting for came one moment closer. A hush fell on the room as my Grandpap stood and gently took my Grandmas hand. "Today is the anniversary of our wedding Glady's, and I would like to sing the song I sang on our wedding to you as my gift."
My Grandpap's sweet tenor voice range pitch-perfect and strong...
I love you truly, truly dear. Life with it’s sorrow, life with it’s tear,
fades into dreams when I feel you are near.
For I love you truly,Truly dear!
A love ’tis something, to feel your kind hand.
Ah yes, ’tis something, by your side to stand.
Gone is the sorrow, gone doubt and fear,
for you love me truly, Truly dear!
In that moment, time stood still and my Grandparents became a ageless picture of two hearts and lives brought together by love. Over time, my Grandparents love became the bookends to house all of us: parents, Uncles, Aunts, what seemed to be a thousand cousins, my siblings and even a yellow and white bumble-bee dress wearing me.
My Grandpap's gift to my Grandmother is one that still rings in my ears. I can't hear that Perry Como song or see or smell a lily corsage without being swept away by the overwhelming memory of that day. But more than the linen, china, dress clothes and parties, I know that singing and living love was an everyday occurrence for my Grandparents. On any given day, Grandpap would stop what he was doing, take Grandma's hand and sing… "I love you truly, truly dear…" She would smile knowing that what they shared was greater than anything one day could hold. Their love was true.
Corsages and songs have a way of reminding me of love's presence in all circumstances. Having witnessed my Grandparent's love, I not only learned a wonderful song but the importance of living love everyday; and for that gift Grandpap and Grandma -
"I love you truly, truly dears."
Saturday, January 01, 2011
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Let's face it. The church calendar and the calendar on our walls and in our planners are not one in the same. The Liturgical calendar is distinctly unique and has a way of setting those that follow it on a different rhythm that follow the Greco Roman Calendar alone. I spoke to a friend at church recently (the day after Christmas) and she shared that many people she knew were already done with Christmas. By the morning of December 26th, many people were planning to or already were removing the decorations and traces of Christmas. The only thing I could think was, after all the preparation - what's the rush to put Christmas away?
Over the last few years, I've begun to become better educated on the Liturgical year and its cycles, and now know that Christmas Day is only the beginning of the celebration. It was wonderful to discover that many people wait to give gifts on January 6th, which just so happens to be my birthday, which is referred to as Epiphany. Epiphany is defined as: a Christian festival, observed on January 6, commemorating the manifestation of Christ to the gentiles in the persons of the Magi; Twelfth-day of Christmas.
It can be difficult to live into a calendar that is so much different than everyone else's, but with a little unpacking and learning I think it is a worthwhile effort. Just as the Three Wise men had to make an effort to seek out the Christ child, I believe that we as followers of Jesus should be in the year round practice of seeking too.
For this Christmas, I received a gift from my husband that will help me with my year-round Jesus seeking. I received a newly revised Book of Common Prayer: Liturgy for ordinary radicals. I've been seeking a means of refreshing my own devotional life that also connects me with the greater Church as well. It is my hope that this book with be a helpful tool in further developing my spiritual roots in this coming new year and already begun church year.
I encourage you also to seek out a means of readjusting your heart and life with a source of spiritual food that is for soul what a Tom-tom GPS is for your roadside travels. What will be the star that leads you to Jesus this season and every season to come? If you would like some help in finding some devotional resources for all ages here are a few suggestions I'd recommend:
For younger children:
The Beginner's Bible
For Family Devotions with grade/middle school children:
Making time for God
For Teens and Young Adults/Adults looking for a fresh reading of the Bible:
The Message/Remix: Daily Reading Bible
For a prayer & daily scripture reading based in Lectio Divina format/Adults:
Sacred Space 2011
Sacred Space also offers and online resource where you can pray and read at sacredspace.ie
For praying the hours try:
Common Prayer: A liturgy for ordinary radicals
The Divine Hours/ Spring-Summer-Fall-Advent to Epiphany etc.
The ELCA offers a well worked out plan for the introduction of Daily Devotions within a Congregational setting as well. To learn more about this visit: Implementation Guide for Daily Discipleship Groups for the ELCA.
God speed on the journey ahead! Follow the star.