Saturday, September 6, 2008

Lighting a candle

There are many reasons we light candles in our house. All of them go back to my mother who loves candles for their light and beauty and my grandmother who lit them for a reason. For each birthday and each feast day, or times when I was going through something hard, I would get a card from Grama to let me know she had lit a candle for me at mass that morning. Today, as each year on this day, I light a candle in her memory on her birthday. I light it in joy, for the life she lived and the love she brought to the world. I light it also in sorrow, for the very short time she spent on earth.

As a child, to me, my grama was perfect. She was patient, she was soft-spoken, she was gentle and she was beautiful. She was devoted to God and the Catholic church she called home. She went to daily mass at six, read poetry at twilight in the back yard, always had a ready supply of red licorice and diet soda (so as not to rot your teeth), and took me along on her daily bike ride in the summer. She brought to me the love of Robert Frost, nature and Brussel sprouts.

Even today, the standards she set are the ones I aspire to; on good days! Her soft-spoken nature has never been as big a part of my make-up as I would like it to be, her patience still costs me all the strength I have to even begin to emulate. But, walks in nature; in the woods or by the river, are top on our to-do list. I start my day before the family gets up with my own special kind of devotion and praise. Reading poetry is a daily affair in our family, and as for Brussel sprouts; well, I cook them and the kids snub them, but I may yet prevail!

Acceptance and love are the feelings I felt always radiating from my grama. I am pretty sure that she would not necessarily approve of my alternative spiritual ideology today, but she would still approve of me. She would continue to let me know that I really ought to try to be more patient, in an oh-so-quiet way, and she would continue to light a candle for me on each special day.

I light one today for her, Grama Rand.

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