Memorial Day is often thought of as just another three-day weekend, a chance for barbecues, awesome sales or even a day at the beach. I like all of those things too and will probably participate in some of them this weekend. But I also like to take some time to reflect on the hundreds of thousands of men and women who gave their lives so that we can enjoy our freedoms. Please pray for our fallen and their families.
The sign up ahead on the road heading south cautions, detour.
From three scattered lanes our vehicular alter egos squeeze into one obedient column. We crawl up the single mountain lane – second-gearing behind behemoth 18-wheelers, cursing in hydraulic hisses.
Skimming sheer rock-face of crude red design while shunning the100 foot drop into endless canyon just to the left.
Swallowing the adrenaline that churns fear and impatience, we wind with the curves that forecast unknown treachery.
And the vastness of nature reveals our insignificance – humbles our arrogance in the mumble of prayers that implore God’s hands to nudge us toward safety.
The sharp autumn sun becomes slate shadow, forbidding illumination in our progression and artificial light is a ghostly guide.
When the mountain relents and the road opens again, a communal breath at last escapes. And we break apart like dominoes poorly placed. Now strangers in singular journey, on the same road, but heading in different directions.
Where has the detour led Christine?
What detour has Clancy encountered?
“I’m a little teapot, short and stout – here is my handle, here is my spout…” Before I ever knew what those words meant, I sung them to amuse grown ups. Mommy…Daddy…aunties and uncles. The words gave me a fleeting power to command the eyes, ears and attention of adults. For those few moments, I ruled, cavorted, made them laugh and praise me — using my blond ringlets and fetching dimples to their maximum power.
It wasn’t long though before I connected the words to the vessel that made tea. A wonderous liquid with healing capabilities far beyond touted claims. The power to comfort. The power to reassure. The power to warm. The power to make a sick little girl feel not so sick, not so lonely.
And tea had its greatest power when I was ill. Mama always made me tea and toast whenever I was sick. Oddly, when I was sick and Mama went through the tea and toast ritual it was the only time I felt unconditional love emanating from her. Bringing a tray into my darkened sick room, Mama spoke softly – felt my forehead and smiled at me as though I were the center of the universe. Truth be told, there were times when I wasn’t as sick as I pretended to be. I craved her love so—to be the owner of all her attention and care. To remove my siblings from the equation…
Granny’s teapot, a relic we inherited, was once grand and lovely. All the way from County Cork Ireland it traveled to find its new home in America. I don’t much remember Granny because she left us when I was very small. Eyes the color of jade, clear and unmutuable—hands white as milk with fine blue veins pulsing beneath the skin.
That teapot became Granny in my mind – fine structure, but ancient in its wage against time. Pale and edged in faded gold and a spray of faded pink roses front and back. And from it came comfort, strength, love and reassurance. And I cried the day it finally died by suicide from a high pantry shelf. Tea never tasted the same after that and I spend my weekends looking for another Granny teapot and the curative powers it imparted.
What powers does Christine’s teapot have?
My faith is soft and malleable like schoolroom clay warmed by afternoon sun. It yields to touch and twists and shapes defying all real-world models. You gotta have faith, ah faith ah faith chanting in the back of my mind.
And faith hangs on the wall. A stalwart soldier keeping watch over my heart—shielding my soul with tempered steel. No words uttered but always implied. No failures revealed but always lurking like the shopping cart bandits at 7-11. Crisis of faith
Regal in its stark simplicity faith does not budge in its hover over my head.
And if I had an anthem it would be Faith. Oh come all ye faithful
If I had a premise. A plot. Or a reason for being… Faith would suffice.
It is the flower bending in the breeze while reaching for the sun. Good faith
It is the seed from which dreams grow. Faith. The last vestige of heart.
Where does Christine’s faith lie?