A different Thanksgiving...
One of the joys of living "in" a churchyard, is that history is all around us....
For instance, this is the family that once lived in our house...
& as well as thinking what an appalling summer the Brooks family had in 1824...2 children gone within a month....it also brings home the transience of our existence. I sometimes think that we humans in the so-called First World are so concerned with accumulating and owning 'stuff'....houses, cars, jewellery.....that we forget that we are really only ever guardians of these things.
Our family is having to come to terms with such realities at the moment. My darling Dad has terminal cancer. We are all trying to find the best way to cope and still find a way to carry on with life day to day, as we all must. I found this wonderful piece of writing in Volume 8 of one of my favourite magazines, Kinfolk and it affected me so much that I wrote to the author, Rebecca Parker Payne to ask her permission to reproduce part of it here. She graciously agreed and I hope that it will touch you as it touched me. Life really is a series of highs and lows...this piece continues to bring me infinite comfort and remind me that there is beauty in all things.
" Furthermore, Japanese understand this concept within another framework called mono non aware. Literally translated as "the pathos of things", mono non aware is the understanding that the most beautiful moments of life come right before the moment ends. In a full acceptance of the transient and temporal state of life, the Japanese don't hold much appreciation for an eternally blossoming flower. Instead, the greater beauty comes within the constraints of our yearly life and death rhythms. Mono non aware calls us to sit below the cherry blossoms as the tree sheds it's blooms. It tells us not to lament the passing of summer, but to rejoice in it's final hours.
We are creatures capable of awe and reverence. And we can position ourselves and our hearts to feel heavy and wonderful things. But to choose to see the beauty in the passing is no easy task. We must first cast off our illusions of control, and then we must take a step back and prepare ourselves for the full spectrum of pathos - love, beauty, loss. Perhaps then we will see all the gold that doesn't stay as beautiful instead of defeatist.
Mono non aware tells us to love now. Act now. Be here now. Invite our friends over, and stay up late. Because this time, this opportunity, this season will soon pass. Bask here while it is still possible.
Our days are ebbs and flows. Our lives are a collection of seasons where tides approach and recede, and trees flower and wither. The green fullness of summer is made more precious by the skeleton branches of winter. So don't fight time and don't fight the season. Don't keep things from ending, but celebrate them for the life they have now.
Our lives are rife with endings- the close of an evening or the triumphant finality of summer's last stand. If we reorient our hearts to accept and appreciate these endings, we begin to see our lives outside our limited terms- not only for our wanton control and desires, but also for mankind as a whole. Time is not ours. We can't slow the Earth's rotation, and we can't expect a wedding celebration to last forever.
I want to respect that which is larger than me - the sun that rises in the East and sets in the West, the gravity that keeps my feet perpetually on the ground below and the rhythm of time that says to all creation: this too shall pass. "
Life is wonderful and constantly amazing.Friends and family are priceless. For all of this, for all of you....I am so thankful.
Have a great day. Make memories! X