Sometimes in the midst of life computer issues happen and blog posts get delayed.
So we have Wordplay Wednesday on Thursday. Here goes:
Wordplay Wednesday: What is Sacred?
Last Saturday I attended a Summer Writer’s Retreat at the home of a local poet, author, and writing teacher. It was lovely to spend the day with like-minded folks who spend their time stringing words together to create stories and poems.
We were asked to bring a sacred object with us: something that connects us to the divine and helps us know we are not alone in the world. We used our sacred objects to introduce ourselves to the group. There was a wide array of objects among the fourteen writers around the table: a painting, a musical instrument, a letter, an antique purse, a candle and a number of photographs The stories that accompanied the items were of special people, places and life events. Many moved the group to tears and the tissue box was passed around the table several times.
My prompt for you today is to write about something that is sacred to you. A sacred object in this context means an item that is meaningful in a very personal way. It may have religious significance or be of a more personal nature.
What is your object?
Why is it special?
What memories does it carry?
Spend some time with this exercise and see where it takes you.
My sacred object is something that sits next to my computer on my writing desk. It is actually a small basket with a lid containing a number of things that help remind me of my place in the world.
The basket is round and made of hundreds of tiny colorful beads woven with wire. It was made by a woman in Tanzania and given to me by the parent of a former student. The women in Tanzania make baskets as a way of supporting their families. It reminds me that people all over the world are more alike than different. We all want to care for our families, do work that matters and participate as co-creators with God in whatever way we can.
Inside the basket there is a buckeye, a piece of seashell, two stones and a rubber bracelet.
I have had the buckeye since the summer of 1976 . It was given to me by my grandmother when she came to spend the summer with us after my grandfather died. She was the single most influential person in my life. Jessie Collins was creative, adventurous, funny and outspoken. She sewed, cooked, painted, created ceramics, knitted, crocheted, gardened and baked. She was my role model and encourager. When I wanted to climb trees and outrun the boys she never told me I needed to act like a lady. When I wanted to learn to cook, crochet or whatever she patiently mentored t me even when my attempts were disastrous. She never discouraged me from whatever I wanted to pursue.
While buckeyes are supposed to represent luck, mine is a symbol of creative daring and a reminder to be authentic even if not everyone approves. It also reminds me to be an encourager of others. Thank you, Granny.
The shell is a piece of a conch I picked up on a solitary beach retreat several years ago. To me the ocean and the beach are reminders of God’s incredible creativity and His immense power. He is the original Artist and Author. I am made in His image and therefore called to use my gifts to create in ways that will honor Him and point others to Him. The fact that the shell is only a fragment reminds me that I can be used and beautiful even in my brokenness.
One of the stones also came from the beach. It is a small oval that was worn smooth by the tides and ocean. It is my “worry stone.” When I stuck in my writing I roll it in my hand and let my mind relax until my “block” is resolved. When I am worried or anxious I rub it while I say my prayers and give my anxieties to God.
The other rock is a small purple and white piece of a geode. It is the stone that amethysts, my birthstone, come from. It was given to me by a student on the last day of school the year I retired. She knew how much I love rocks so she brought it to me as a farewell gift. This particular child was one of the most creative and original students I ever taught. She had a joyful personality that I will always remember.
The piece of geode reminds me of my long teaching career and all of the terrific students I had the pleasure of teaching. I am proud of my “first act” as an educator. I loved being a teacher. Now I am engaged in a new vocation as a writer. I want to pursue it with the same dedication and zeal that I had for teaching.
The rubber bracelet is from a creativity conference for children held at my church last year. I volunteered as a group leader for the younger participants. The conference had sessions on story-telling, writing, map-making, song-writing, poetry, creative dramatics, and art. The premise was to introduce children to professionals in those fields who could inspire them to use their creative gifts in uplifting ways. The bracelet says “Allies In Imagination”. It reminds me that while I often feel isolated as I write in my studio, I am actually connected to many creative allies and friends who provide encouragement and inspiration with their creative gifts of painting, doodling, poetry, and photography. I am not alone. I have a tribe.
What is your sacred object? How does it connect you to your gifts and to the world?
I would love to hear about it. Thanks for reading!