Although it took a little effort to get it here, Vessel #78 did finally arrive in October and has had a place of honor in our home ever since. Now that I am preparing to pass it on to my sister, I am pondering how to leave my mark upon, or maybe how to send a little of ourselves along with it on its journey. I think I will take a series of photos and post them here in the next few days. Thank you Lynda for making this beautiful vessel a part of our connected lives forever.
New Years 2014 together at at Whispering Pines
Behold a vessel to keep our treasures
a simple bowl made of fire and clay,
Given with love and received with love
held closely, and then given away.
We all make the very same journey,
spending time on a well worn track
Yet no path is ever the same
going as it is coming back.
Filled with a grain of rice, or a silver coin
whatever we are given,
The grace to humbly accept the gift
also gives us a life worth living.
For it isn’t the abundant wealth of things
that nurtures and feeds our soul,
it is the acceptance of whatever is given
in love that makes you whole.
I am delighted and intrigued as I sit and look at this beautiful, small bowl that has found its way to me. My husband, Glenn, and my daughter, Meredith, joined me in opening the box. We were very aware of the fragility of the bowl yet I had a feeling of a very powerful energy unfolding before me as I peeled away each layer of wrapping. This bowl represents promise, hope, giving, receiving, acceptance, a journey, creativity, gratitude, friendship, family and most of all love…..all powerful forces for each and every one of us. With the acceptance of this gift I made a decision to let its presence and what it stands for be a guide to me each day that it is in my presence. Just a simple shape, a delicate vessel, complex writing, a myriad of colors from the earth. In some ways, this is a new start for me. I am honored beyond words to be chosen to receive this bowl from my sister.
On March 24th of this year, we lost our 24-year-old son due to injuries he received in a motorcycle accident. When I got the call, every facet of my world stopped. Time stopped. Meals stopped. Sleep stopped and so on. The sole focus of my existence centered around surviving the greatest loss a human can endure. The loss of a child. Many times my thoughts have wandered to the Patra Bowl project as my time with the bowl comes to an end. The vessel that never goes empty Whatever is received that day in the bowl is enough. An ongoing act of giving and receiving. My son, Eric, was a giver. He did not possess a selfish bone in his body. He was known for wearing shirts with holes…he just didn’t notice nor did he care. All he wanted to do was get down to the business of living! So, when I say he would give you the shirt off his back, it might not be the prettiest shirt, but it would be willingly and happily given. And it would be enough. He loved me in a way that a young man loves his mom…tender, protective and respectfully. I was given a son…a beautiful, blue-eyed, blond-haired, son with a sweet, crooked smile that melted many hearts. He was not mine. I had to give him back. Is 24 years enough? Yes. Somehow, it is. We gave his heart, kidneys, liver and pancreas to recipients who desperately needed those gifts. Those gifts were all that was needed to sustain life. If not for this tragedy, we would never know the gift of community. It has been probably one of the greatest gifts we have received….love, encouragement, peace, and wind beneath our wings. Our community, friends, and family have lifted us all upon their backs and carried us because we were simply unable to walk. What a gift that has been. What my son gave me is enough for this lifetime….love that will endure forever. I will spend the rest of my life learning how to manage the pain. My task will be to truly understand, know, and believe that his life here on this earth was enough…..such is the condition of being human.
When I think about my inclusion in the Patra passage, and our shared Patra bowl, I think about my inclusion in Eric’s life and his in my own. As I roamed through the community posts, and learned about the project itself, I was humbled by the innocence of the gift and the act of giving it captures. However from the second it arrived, I have been awestruck and honored by the incredible meaning this bowl has taken on. From this captivation and experience, I am drawn to a mediation on the meaning of friendship and the nature of giving, specifically what we chose to give, and why it is that we give. Sometimes a gift or favor is compromised by being given as an investment, attached with expectations, or received with a sense of owed-ness or entitlement. That kind of giving is tangled, matted, and devours the purity and honesty, which the Patra Passage is and represents. It is that kind of pure and honest giving that was not only the catalyst for our lives crossing, but what also quickly became a central aspect of my relationship with Eric. In an honest reflection on giving though, it was was with time, that we slowly wove an unspoken complex web of favors and indebtedness in various regards which strung us together. And for a period of time, that untrue kind of giving turned our bond into more of a chain at times, one which damaged the purity of friendship that existed beyond the entanglement we constructed. Despite the conflicts, true abandonment was never in the cards, and I am so grateful we found our way out of that maze and into a real friendship, one I thought would be there forever. In so many ways we gave each other a lot. Most identifiably we both helped each other through our own battles and move out of darker days, onward along the path toward where we each wanted to go. One of the qualities I loved about Eric is his eyes were always on the horizon, ambitious, and always with a plan to do it bigger and better, so I know he had many more goals to reach and dreams he had ahead of him, but when I think of what it means to enjoy the present moment, it brings me such joy to know that he was finally at a place in his life where he was enjoying the journey and there had found his well-deserved slice of peace and happiness in this world before he departed; the same kind I always wanted to help see him obtain, always my sincerest motivation for giving. In reflection, giving comes in many forms and for many reasons, yet above all else, what truly overshadows everything that was ever done or given between us, there was the gift of always being there for each other, no matter what. And to me, that is the gift that means the most in life, a true bond. Our friendship.
Thankful for this community…
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