Friday, November 5, 2010

Dona Nobis Pacem ~ Write On My Heart Every Word

**The day after:  Amazing launch! Thanks to all who participated. I am still reading through the Mr. Linky list and the hundreds more on Facebook who didn't sign here. Don't even ask about the Google search results. But seriously. I give. Peace won yesterday and I couldn't be more pleased. You spoke. You were heard. We added Morocco, Nepal, Kosovo and Saudi Arabia for 57 countries and counting...Facebook turned blue and Twitter tweets and retweets were burning up the keyboard.
Happily exhausted. See you tomorrow!** (This post will stay up through Monday. People are still putting up their peace posts and signing the Mr. Linky.)  Please take some time this weekend to read through these amazing entries and see the beautiful expressions of hope across the blogosphere.

This is Mimi Pencil Skirt reporting live from the lovely land of the peace globes. **

When my Papa was middle-aged, he found the love of his life.
She was my grandmother.  And through the years I was privileged enough to watch them live out that love right in front of me. While they surely had struggles and bumps like everyone else, they had something else too. What was it?
I am pleased to report that I don’t know.

But I saw it when he looked at her.
And I heard it in his laugh.

I learned what to expect from men in my faraway future by watching him treat her with respect, with dignity, with never-ending fascination. I learned what a real man worth his salt in this world should look like, should act like, should be.  For all her many quirks and eccentricities and no matter how many times the wigs flew off or the cigarette dipped in the morning coffee cup, he gifted her with unwavering love and devotion. Sometimes it was eye-rolling twinkled-eyed devotion - but devotion nonetheless.
She was and would always be the love of his life.

  There were many things about my beloved grandmother that could-make-a-preacher-cuss (some might say I inherited some of that cussability factor) and many differences in the way they went about coping with their worlds and dealing with people - she, a colorful and semi-raucous individual with a sly and wrinkle nosed glance, a hopeless and rather comical hypochondriac and a penchant for high heels and gentle dancing. He, a protective bear of a man at every turn, confident, happy and a hopeful sufferer of legitimate ailment,  yet incapable of feeling anything but gratitude for each day he lived, whether or not he was in pain and more than determined to make her imaginary illnesses tolerable by ministering to her every need even when we all knew that the bat of her eyelash was more for his benefit than needed salve for any ailment. It wasn’t in his nature to argue with the beautiful and whimsy creature he called wife.

She was a character foreign to his outward way of living but crucial to his inward way of loving.

The inward was always more important to my Papa.
They were delicately and diametrically different. 
All of that disappeared the minute she looked across the table at him. I saw it many times.
She never smiled at him; she smiled into him.  He smiled into her.
What WAS that?

I am happy to report that I do not know.

All I know is.....
You don’t know you have it until you’ve got it.
You don’t know you don't have it until you’ve got it.
You don’t know you need it….until you don’t.
Enter Gothic grandmother and a tall praying man in a fine starched shirt and matching hat.

It occurred to me this week in preparation for peace week that as much as I’ve focused on what my Papa and those marvelous marbles have taught me in my spirit and heart since this whole peace globe movement began and how the whole blessed thing is in reality based on NOTHING I can logically explain and how it was birthed with the little girl in my heart who missed her grandfather ….and wanted to honor his influence in my life, that really, in essence,  the entire scope of the peace globe movement is based on coincidences of random occurrences that blossomed into a cohesive ball of fire and substance - much like their relationship, much like their example, much like their love.

  I wrote a post. I made a graphic.  I found the earth marble made by my Papa in the 1920s.
  I write a story. I tell it to you. You tell it to others. A movement begins.
And it makes perfect sense, no?

Like the round agate blue earth ball in the middle of the wooden bowl I love so much, there is a never-endingness in the idea that when one story, one idea, one truth touches the global heart of man, as many of you write on this day every year, it spontaneously perpetuates into all manner of mutated species and cultures, blind to the differences, tolerant of the language barriers, spinning wildly out of control on the same blue rock we call planet Earth. It still maintains the composite structure of rocks and of people and of Earth, building strength as it cohesively binds to the next rock and the next rock and one after that.
Until finally there is nothing but a big blue rock of all that is, hopefully, peaceful and good.


Somehow in a roundabout collision course of uncanny coincidences from start to finish, it makes perfect sense and it makes no sense at all. And on a personal level it seems the salty lessons are engraved on my heart in reams so deeply true that I can’t tell where one memory ends and another begins.
And that’s just it.

The most eternally rich experiences in life make no sense at all.

If I knew how to explain it all in scientific cosmic terms that make sense, I would. I would tell you why it is that out of my pen keeps spinning tales of a life that began nearly a century ago and speak to me now …I would tell you how that came to be if I knew how to do so.

I am pleased to report that I do not.

And really. Why do I want to mess with a perfectly imperfect chain of events that led me here…to one of the happiest places in the span of my life?

And then I remembered the Cokesbury.
And the song.
What WAS that song?
I've had that book on my mind for days. Where is it? What have I done with it? What does it have to do with peace globes? Here I sit on another Dona Nobis Pacem Eve and have not finished my own post. It is perfect imperfection! Again!  Four hours 'til the stroke of midnight and I have a half-baked peace post. When the muse stops speaking, I stop writing. That is how it is in my pen-shaped pencil skirt world.
So this afternoon while Australia and New Zealand blogged peace on the other side of the world, their fearless leader went outside to pick a few wild pink mums. I had visions of hippie flowers in my hair and silliness for BlogBlast For Peace Day.

The muse had another idea.

The song...the song....Something about moving along and being tempted and tried and it had a certain predictable lilt that made you want to know more and yet somehow you knew there would be no answers really and that the same song would be sung next Sunday in the very church you see here by the same out-of-tune grandmother and all would be right with her out-of-tune world.
I decided to find the hymnal. 


So I went downstairs to a box of music books and fished it out from the dust of funeral services gone by. It was Papa's personal copy. I ran my fingers across the inside cover scribbled with the name of a man who could not sing above a mumble. And I remembered…and heard the music....and remembered.  The smell of the wooden pews. The polish. The carpet. The altar. The tinny tuned piano. How joyfully my grandmother stood in the little country church you see here and held that proud brown Cokesbury with his name in it. She was an “alto“ and proud of it. On the back row. Middle. She sang. And sang. And sang. And even as I use that term loosely in her dearly departed presence I remember how she made me learn to read shape notes. It made her happy. It made my piano teacher crazy. It didn't matter. Nobody could sing as badly and with as much joy as my grandmother. Truly. (don't tell her I said that) Oh I knew I'd get a rap on my knuckles from my teacher. It didn't matter. I'd rather have my grandmother's joy.

Opening the leather-bound 1939 "Favorite Books and Hymns" I sang the song.
There it was. Page 38.
I laid Bloggingham's flowers on the page.
 "Farther along we'll know all about it. Farther along we'll understand why. Cheer up my brother. Live in the sunshine. We'll understand it. All by and by." 
 NOW I remember why that song bothered me so. Who wants to wait to understand? Sigh. I found it uninspiring... so....so....depressing. Yes, that's it. Depressing. Except for one thing.

My grandmother. She always smiled through the whole thing. Every square sour note. Like there was some secret between the tempteds and trieds and the toils of the wicked verse that I just didn't get.
What WAS that?
I am happy to report that I do not know.

But I'm betting she did. Maybe I was more than a little irritated that she could grin through natural spiritual disasters and I couldn't. Who wants to "cheer up and live in the sunshine" when the world is falling apart?

Certainly not moody Mimi.

I was a serious child. When things worth being serious about show up in my world, I tend to be a serious adult. And I see the enormous challenges we face as a global community. I know you do too. As a people struggling to live in peace with one another on the world stage of mismatched choirs,  fearful that this great blue earth ball of dirt and water we inhabit will one day implode under the weight of it all…we are perpetual experts at the struggle. It is sobering. I understood Grandmother's song better than she thought. We are brilliant at round tabling. We are bodacious builders of peace-seeking strategies. PowerPoint pacifism. Stupendously adept at the fine fine art of peace-building on paper.

We fail miserably at retreat.
We run screaming from surrender.

We don't want to believe in anything we can't see, smell, touch and understand.
I understood that grandmother couldn't sing.
I understood that I hated that dreary song.
I understood that grandmother understood that there was no rhyme or reason in her Pollyanna philosophy.
And I understood that it mattered not one iota to her.
 I wondered why....why the winks and smiles in church...why the knowing nods between the two of them.....why the certainty that every uncertainty known to man was a certain source of their joy. They didn't need to understand why. 
I was certain of that.


My grandmother couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket. But she thought she could. And when she would sing in the old country church choir, it would make my ears hurt (Don’t tell her I said that).
But Papa didn’t mind. He couldn’t sing either. And to him, her voice was as beautiful as her face…or her Hollywood sunglasses, her long dark hair under the hats they shared or the strange strange way their unlikely union seemed to jell into one -  despite her minor-keyed world of wigs and harmonies unknown to man.

He learned to surrender.
No. I take that back.
He loved to surrender.

And that is the word we must put before any attempt at laying down of arms

We have to teach each other not how to unmake war but how to remake peace.  Because truly, if we believe that words are powerful and if we believe those incredible words of Mother Teresa’s about how peace is unattainable because we have simply forgotten that we belong to each other, then we wouldn’t have to think at the think tank of perpetual peace talks at all.
We could just step out of struggle and live in the shiny world of Cheer up my Brother and actually live in the sunshine.
All it takes is a life force on this planet willing to take the first step.
And show the other side that trust is not only a scary thing, but the only way.

Which brings me back to my grandfather's Cokesbury Worship Hymnal.

I needed to trust the muse.

The last time he held this book in his hands was the Sunday before he died. In the back of the book there are Responsive Readings. He often led the congregation in those readings. I could not get that book off my brain this week. I needed to find it. After I brought it upstairs, sang from the shaped notes hymnal of cheer-up doom and gave my mums to my grandmother's memory, I started thumbing through the back of The Cokesbury.

Would you like to take a wild guess where his page was turned down?


Why is that?
I am happy to report that I do not know.

But here in Bloggingham tonight, bound to my grandparents' memory is a small bouquet of wild pink peace mums laid on a bed of uncommon love, shaped oddly like the sound of a far away tune in a church full of cheer in the middle of plowshares and pruning hooks. 

"Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."
Maybe we keep asking for the same struggle and getting exactly what we ask for because we’re not ready to lay down the most powerful weapon we have
Love






Nov 4, 2012 is the next BlogBlast For PEACE
Join us

51 comments:

Kimmie said...

Dear Mimi,
I am moved beyond words after reading this post. You my friend are an amazing storyteller. Sharing this tonight with us brought tears of joy to both my eyes and my heart.
God Bless You Today And Always.

Hugs,
Kimmie
Whispering*Prims

Speedcat Hollydale said...

Sometimes people amaze me, and inspire me. Not all too often, but they do. Today Mimi amazed and inspired me.

Hugs from Eric

Jaffer said...

And I will say it too - you are an inspiration to us all !

May Peace be with you

(hi Speedy !)

Travis Cody said...

I am happy to report that I do not know how you continue to make these words happen.

Thank you for them.

Peace.

Samantha, Clementine and Maverick said...

Wow!! We just loved your Post Mimi!! It brought tears to our eyes!! Thank you for sharing!!
Your TX furiends,

Anndi said...

I feel I must leave this comment again :)

I am filled with pride, my eyes are filled with tears and my heart is filled with love and Peace... you do know how do give the most beautiful gift, Maestra. Thank you for giving us a dream, something to believe in... and a way to DO something about it.

Raven said...

Beautiful post. So much to respond to. I too remember the Cokesbury Worship Hymnal and even that particular song. One part of me is still "waiting to understand," another part has accepted that I never will and that that's were the wonder and the magic are in the end.

"The most eternally rich experiences in life make no sense at all." So very true. So very frustrating. So very awesome.

Thanks for sharing a beautiful multi-layered love story and your wisdom and memories. And thank you for the yearly Blast.

Julie said...

I knew it! I knew you would take your magic pen and write a literary masterpiece. You always do! Papa makes sure of it! Love you sweet girl.

**hugs**

Leesa said...

Hi Mimi,


This post is just amazing and I think that if anyone is to represent Dona Nobis Pacem on this planet- it's YOU! Thanks for sharing with us your personal stories that really mean so much.. I have tears running down my cheeks- you write so beautifully, it's words just come to life.

Namaste,
Leesa

Greyscale Territory said...

Your post glistens with magic!

At what point I decided I was walking in a world of magic
"I am happy to report I do not know."

And why did I resurrect my 2008 Peace Globe for my post? And then decided that this would be my icon each year at this time?

"I am happy to report I do not know."

Smiles and Light to all!

Annelisa said...

Wow, Mimi!

Your Muse found you and filled you, and was right!

Your story, beautiful in essence, beautiful in colour and phrase, beautiful in love & memory...just beautiful!! is the soul of Dona Nobis Pacem, because it brings alive so much love.

What you describe, when you love not despite all the difference, not because all the difference, but...just because you do...then that kinda love fills you to overflowing!

What I see, when I tour the Blogosphere now, today, Blogblast for Peace, is that unselfish embracing of all, no matter who or what their belief, one feels that love and acceptance and desire to embrace them!!

Right now, I want to reach across the globe and embrace you, my friend.

You make a difference.

(((((Big Peace Hugs)))) to ya!

xxx

Akelamalu said...

Inspirational words Mimi. I love you. Peace to you and yours. x

Lisa said...

So moving and beautiful, as always.

Kathy said...

Thank you.

BLOGitse said...

Peace!

Ferd said...

Thank you, Mimi, for these wonderful glimpses into the pieces of your life that were the beginnings of this important peace project.
I look forward to reading peace posts for days and days, and am proud to be a voice in this choir.
Peace and Love,
Ferd.

Bluezy said...

I was a peaceblog virgin and now I am not. I will not smoke on a cigarette though this occasion. :) I will just post in thanks to you Mimi.
It IS love and love must be the victor in this world. It is a lovely day in Blogingham and surroundings!
Thanks.

Jamie said...

It is amazing how many of the important pages in life are those when we are most at peace.

Ophiuchus said...

Our world might be tiny compared to the universe, but the love in it is huge! - Mankind's redeeming feature!

Lovely post, Mimi!

Carver said...

Mimi this was very beautiful and heartfelt. Peace to you and yours.

Nessa said...

Beautiful post.

May peace be with us!

Tarheel Rambler said...

When I grow up, I want to be just like you and develop the ability to look at life and family history and create a post that inspires.

99% of humankind yearns for peace. We ache for the ability to support encourage and live life on purpose free from turmoil and conflict. That yearning finds focus and direction when people of vision give us an outlet to express our desires.

Mimi, you are one of those people whose vision and personal yearning has given life to the Peace Globe Movement. Thank you for your marvelous gift.

Carolina Cats said...

Dear Miss Mimi,

Happy Peace Day! Thank you for inspiring soooo many people (and cats and dogs and other critters) to share the believable dream of Peace.

Love & hugs & purrs,
Finnegan Buddy & Jazzy

Walk in the Woods said...

All I can say is … we gotta love the mystery … live the mystery … be the mystery. Peace.

Vinny "Bond" Marini said...

I will be back to read closer, but the link you put up for me at #11 is wrong...

The correct link should be
http://www.bigleathercouch.com/2010/11/blogblast-for-peace-2010-love-is-cure.html

HUGS

Finding Pam said...

Mimi, your words are spoken so eloquently with love and peace.

Thank you so much for all you do in the name of Peace.

Dona Nobis Pacem

desert songbird said...

Peace be with you, Mimi.

Lifecruiser Travel Blog said...

Wonderful and touching post as always Mimi! Thanks for keeping up all the work with the peace movement!

My contribution is very modest compare to your, but with a burning flame at least :-)

I've also tried to spread the word in all kind of social networks for peeps to join. Let's hope they will!

Peace sis,
XOXO

One of a Witchy Kind said...

truly awesome post Mimi! thanks for taking us through all those memories to find the truth!

coopernicus said...

it doesn't matter what you sing or how you sing...only that you sing. your grandmother would be proud of the songs you give to the all of us.

peace

ps. my catchpa word was "grazing" - sort of appropriate.

coopernicus said...

one of these days i'll learn how to type...

Terica said...

Just lovely Mimi , You made me laugh,cry and inspired. I also questioned the waiting for the answers too. peace

Sherry Blue Sky said...

The most fabulous post of all, Mimi - full of mystery and truth and love and hope and inspiration - and the unexplainable, which is the universe, trying to get us to wake up. Beautifully written.

Dawn (Twisted Sister) said...

I am happy to report that you made me cry. In a good way. My mother used to sing that hymn - a lot. I hadn't thought about it in years.

Peace to you today my friend.

Vinny "Bond" Marini said...

What it is that guy has said from the beginning...Oh right.."BRILLIANT WRITER"

And once again you have proved that man correct...

May peace cover you in smiles

Joanne said...

That was beautiful Mimi -- thanks again for creating this BlogBlast for Peace. If it brings us one step closer to my wish I had 40 years ago ( and posted about today) thats all I want for this world.

Peace!!

Noe Noe Girl...A Queen of all Trades. said...

I long for world peace. It will happen. One day.
Peace be to you Mimi.
<><

Cloon said...

PURRS of PEACE to you Mimi and to everyone everywhere...

Francis Scudellari said...

I left a Facebook link in Mr. Linky, but in case that doesn't work, my peace globe is also up in the sidebar of my blog. I'm glad I could be a part of it again this year.

maryt/theteach said...

I signed in twice Mimi, I'm sorry! Glad to celebrate with yoou! :)

jennifer said...

Finally here Mimi. I'm thrilled to see the number of participants! You are a blessing and your hard work is paying off. Love you my friend!

jennifer said...

Oh Mimi, I read your post and I stand amazed at your writing and the emotions that you make me feel. I am charmed by your grandparents and their love. You make me wish that I knew them (and that I could write the way you do). Beautiful post - thank you for sharing your gift.

TopChamp said...

A sweet story Mimi - and I love the pictures.

jmb said...

You are so lucky to have had these special people in your lives Mimi.

Peace be with you and thanks for organizing it all.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Mimi, Thank you so much for spearheading this movement and doing all that you did to make it happen - and happen in such a big way! Bigger every year! I am happy to have been a small part of it. Keep shining - you rock!

Coco said...

Better late than never, I guess. Your post is moving and thought-provoking, Mimi. Absolutely lovely.

Mimi Lenox said...

Thank you all for visiting me here and speaking for peace today.
What blessings you all are in my life.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Mimi, you did so good, girl! I am only about halfway through the posts and will continue all of tomorrow. Am determined to visit every heart that longs for peace and posted. Your post about your Papa is so beautiful - and I am not at all surprised at the "synchronicities"........those are the kind ofthings that help us to know something so much bigger is going on than what we can see or even always understand. You write beautifully. You have created a Movement! How cool is THAT??!! I started one myself, today, for pumpkins, lol.........

Marcia said...

You have made a difference to each of us, and we in turn are trying to make a difference to others. I resurrected my 2009 Peace post and globe... it still rings true. Thank you, Mimi.

Shadow / Molly said...

Oh noes, we signed twice - we are sorry. =(

The Misadventures of Me

Annelisa said...

You are now linked to Peace Bloggers Unite

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