Friday, November 2, 2012

Blogging Peace In The Land of Mishaps

*NOTE: You may begin leaving your links in the Linky List below if your side of the world has already blogged peace. The names will automatically carry over onto my Nov 4th post. But don't forget to come back and visit me Sunday!*

I'll spare you the details, Dear Friends and Peace Bloggers, let's just say it's good to be back on this blog! The last 48 hours have been crazy. Have you ever dropped a laptop? Yes. Really. But not to blorry...that's blog + worry for all you non-blog speakers, we will prevail in the trenches of technical impossibilities. Yes, indeed.

I've been blogging peace with you since 2006. Today is the eve of the eve of BlogBlast4Peace 2012 and I am just as excited as I was that first launch. It seems like a long time ago in Internet years.
Here we are. Waiting for new peace bloggers and welcoming many new  countries. So, like most things in life, it's good to go back to the beginning. Except my beginning was late and getting later on the first eve of BlogBlast For Peace - much like the feeling I have today. I had no peace post of my own and I truly needed to find one. In a hurry. Then my Papa showed up with his blue earth marbles and brown ones, too, sitting in a bowl where they'd been for many years. I looked into the bowl. And the story wrote itself.
That was the beginning. I'd like to share it with you again, as I continue to honor the man who patiently put up with so many of my mishaps - my grandfather.
Listen. You will hear the beginning of a movement.

Let us begin.

The Silence of Peace
Papa's Marbles

They've been sitting on my piano for more years than I care to count - on the corner of the Kohler and Campbell my grandfather gave me when I was fourteen years old. After he died, I found them in a tattered and dirty bag at the bottom of a box full of his personal things. He wanted me to have them. His marbles.

Handmade rough hewn marbles crafted from rock by my grandfather and his brothers, handed down and treasured. The year was 1920 and there was no money for toys.
I often wondered why he didn't leave them for a male member of the family. Honestly, folks, it wasn't until just tonight - the eve of Dona Nobis Pacem in the Blogosphere - that I discovered the answer.

I know stranger things have happened.
I just can't recall when.

I knew this post would not be written until the last moment. I made lots of notes but I just couldn't quite make it happen. It is still a little while before midnight in my part of the United States and I'm supposed to be spinning out a masterpiece of goodwill and peace prose - maybe a stunning poem like those we've already seen. A song, a lyric, a new tune.
 Instead, Mimi Pencil Skirt wants to talk about rocks.

So I went into my study and began to polish them. One by one. The bowl, the piano, the granite. How many times have I sat at that very bench and casually glanced into that bowl? Thousands. Song after song. Tune after tune. Lesson after lesson. Tear after tear. And joy after joy.

He didn't have a lot of money it seems to me now, my grandfather. At the time though, he was the richest man I knew. And he has been on my mind this week more often than not. Well over six-feet tall and always impeccably dressed, my Papa was the most humble man I've ever met.
When he passed away I met scores of people who told me what he'd meant to them. "He helped me when I needed money....." "He gave me his shoes...." and on and on.

His kindness was not news to me. The fact that a large portion of the town showed up at his wake was, however, a stunning surprise. I didn't know I'd been sharing him all those years.
He made me feel as if I were the only one in the world.

Strange, those marbles. All different shapes and sizes. Colors, too. Yet they've co-existed for years right there atop the long- lovingly- played strings inside my piano - the one Papa used his savings account to buy for me - while he worked two jobs at the factory and made time up on Saturdays when he missed work hours to drive me to my lessons in the afternoons.

I was a bit different. Artistic. Content with solitude. Always writing in endless journals and playing broody piano music. Papa didn't pamper me - even though that's a disputed fact to this day in my family.
What he did was more earth-shattering.

The one on top. That one.
Different... that one. I know that's the very one he made. I'm sure of it.

When I think about peace and what it means to me, I always wander back to a time when I first felt it. Because I know on an unconscious level that world peace cannot - will not - be achieved without inner peace. Adversaries on both sides of the conflict have to have it. You can't weave magical tranquility out of thin air and conferences. Peace is a state of being.

It has a life of its own.

Real lasting peace is born of creative jumble and hard work. Victories are never won by the one who as the most power - wars are won; but not peaceful achievements. Nothing good can ever come of power at play for the sake of power.

It never lasts. There's always a hideous price.

Papa's Marbles. Not a pretty one in the bunch.
Every one brown or taupe.

Almost every one.

I started thinking this week about those times in my life
when I first felt real peace.
For me, it came in the presence of God at an early age. Not because I am privileged or special. But simply because I was loved. Unconditionally.

Sometimes it takes just one person
to unlock magic in someone else.
I watched that kind of magic flow through my grandfather's life. He was in tune with who he was. He knew the simple meaning of love. He knew how to pray. I often wondered how other people sensed that about him - without the benefit of those life-giving hugs he saved just for me.

He chose the clay color himself. Papa.....he must have spent hours honing those rocks.

I often went with him to backwoods church services. Informal revivals, formal services, anywhere there was special music and a spirit of God - he was there. I can't explain it really. We would visit churches and the minister would ask him to lead the invocation or say the benediction - even though they'd never met. How did they know he could pray? I knew he could pray......but how did they know?

Taking his hat off and bowing his head, he would very quietly hold audience with his Maker. It didn't matter how many people were listening. His prayers always began the same way......"Dear Gracious Heavenly Father......"
No matter where. Or with whom. Or in front of whom.

Hat in hand. Head bowed. He knew how to reach God.
And people sensed that when they met him. If peace can be worn like a garment then he was always finely clothed, my Papa.
One night he took me by the hand and led me to the altar with him. He knelt down on one knee, elbow resting on the other and silently voiced his heart. I was right there! I heard the whole thing and he never said a word.

He made them with his own hands. He molded them into shape.
Created them and lovingly took care of them. He chose the color.
Not a sonata or a novel. Certainly nothing brilliant or fancy.
Just ordinary marbles. Passed down and played with. Simple rocks.

Tonight I'm sitting at my table writing stories on an electronic device that sends messages to a guy in Canada about globe graphics and insomnia, making pots of endless coffee to stay awake, answering emails from Germany, London, China, New York , Oman and beyond.
Could Papa have ever imagined such a thing?
Did he?
What was he praying about all that time anyway?

Papa's marbles.....There's something odd about them.

Oh forget about it. They're just a bunch of rocks. You've got a story to write. Can't you think of something brilliant? It's past midnight and everyone has their peace globe up but you.

I struggled. There's something missing here, I thought.
It's about Papa. I can't stop thinking about him.

What would he say to me tonight? How would he pray?
The marbles.  Look closer.

When it hit me, I was way past the point of arguing with myself about miracles and such. I've seen too many come through my mailbox today to argue with God about that.

Do you see it?
The blue one on top.

It looks like a globe.

And that was the very first Dona Nobis Pacem in the Blogosphere. In 48 hours we will do it again.

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Naila Moon said...

Beautiful...just beautiful.

Travis Cody said...

Now I am relaxed. Now I am calm.

I need this story every year.

Mimi Lenox said...

Naila - Welcome! So glad you came by to read the story. I've seen your beautiful work on Facebook. Looking forward to Sunday.

Mimi Lenox said...

Travis Dancing Bee - And you neeeeeed it on Mimi Writes. phew!!!

Megan Broutian said...

My first blogblast4peace. It feels good. Thanks :)

Walk in the Woods said...

I'm loving the expressions of peace!

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