A few family treasures came home with me this Christmas.
A bowl my great grandfather carved…
And a tiny Bible that was given to Mollie Hutchinson–– she was among the first of my ancestors to travel from Ireland in 1849. There are some dried flowers still pressed between the pages…
I don’t know how many have held this Bible since Mollie but somehow it’s in my hands now.
I started thinking about all the broken places in a life, in a family, in a history. I started thinking about all the prayers.
I think of my ancestors boarding the Laurel for America while the great hunger devastated their country. I think of lines from Psalm 139
If I take the wings of the morning
and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely darkness shall cover me,
and the light around me become night,”
even the darkness is not dark to you’
the night is as bright as the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
I just let myself be quietly devastated rushing along the moonlit highway.
It’s good to grieve for little things. For things that no one knows we’ve lost, and for things we never had to begin with, that we’ve always missed. And for all that our ancestors could not grieve that we still carry for them.
We’re supposed to cover everything up at the holidays.
For a moment I stopped trying to solve anything, or fix anything, or wrap anything up.
I just sat with it for a while.
And the sky got more and more beautiful all the way home.
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