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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Eve of Dona Nobis Pacem

Somewhere in the world BlogBlast For Peace is dawning. It wouldn't be the same without Annelisa's sunrise photography. Taken in East Sussex, I am proud to call her my friend from across the pond. She has a way of bringing peace through the lens of her magic camera. Though this is her neighborhood in the United Kingdom, it also reminds me a bit of Bloggingham Palace. Blanketed by a gloriously brilliant layer of sky, my world seems a bit closer to hers....and to yours. We live under the same sky. The same world. In fact, we've been sharing this blanket for some time now.

Peace bloggers know how to do that very well.

Dawning anew for me this year is the story of my Papa's marbles, seen here in a wooden bowl that still sits atop my piano. If you are a veteran peace blogger, you have read the story that unfolded, as written below, on the very first BlogBlast Eve in 2006.. It was four hours 'til midnight and I had no peace globe post. Until.........

I received a loving, gentle tap on the shoulder by someone I loved and lost. A simple bowl of rocks changed my mind forever about the absurdity of a notion called coincidence. I am still amazed at how the story of the Peace Globes really began. Many of you are posting a globe for the first time today and do not know this story. For you, I shall tell it again. And for those who began this journey with me in 2006, thank you for allowing me to re-introduce you to this honorable man. I am proud to know you. So is he.

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 roughhewn marbles crafted from rock by my grandfather and his brothers. 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 of times. Song after song.

Tune after tune. Lesson after lesson. Year after year.

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.
I was a bit different. Artistic. Content with solitude. Always writing in endless journals and playing broody piano music. Papa understood me but he 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 has the most power - wars, yes - but not a state of peace.
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 color himself.
Papa.....he must have spent hours honing that rock.
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.

Tonight I'm sitting at my table writing stories on an electronic device that sends messages to people halfway around the world 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.

Dona Nobis Pacem did not start with Mimi. It started in 1920 when a little boy in the rural southeastern United States decided to shape a small blue marble -
for his granddaughter.

And that's how it started.
With a visit from my grandfather and a bowl of handmade marbles. Now it's time for you to continue the story and spread the message of a peaceful world from your own places of rest, in your own voice. Tonight, from every corner of the globe I see little blue marbles....I mean globes.......and they are a beautiful, beautiful sight.
This is Mimi Pencil Skirt reporting live from the lovely land of the Peace Globes.
See you tomorrow.
Dona nobis pacem
Grant us peace

© Mimi Lenox All rights reserved.


Travis Cody said...

Thank you once again for these words.

Mark In Mayenne said...

My globe is ready, waiting for the 5th

Tarheel Rambler said...

Excellent post, Mimi. I'm looking forward to tomorrow. Like you, it has a little different meaning for me this year. My post will be up a minute after midnight.

Finding Pam said...

I never tire of this wonderful story about Papa's marbles. Peace and love to you Mimi as you work for PEACE.


Mojo said...

No matter how many times you tell it, the story of the marbles always gives me chills.

Julia Phillips Smith said...

I've already stumbled across Robin's Peace Globe post from Israel - where the Blog Blast has begun!

I have to admit my peace post is a little more fun than serene this year. I'll be posting it tonight.

But don't you feel the excitement of Dona Nobis Pacem Eve? It's like Christmas!

Vinny "Bond" Marini said...

This is he story that drew me completely in to your web...


Dawn Drover said...

Thank you for sharing this wonderful story again... it is INSPIRING!

I'm ready. I'm excited... it's in draft set for 12am Newfoundland time :)

Jean-Luc Picard said...

A wonderfully written post, Mimi. You have another friend across the

Carver said...

I will always love your beautiful story about your grandfather.

storyteller said...

Thanks for sharing your lovely story once again. My four Peace Globes and posts are ready ... one for each of my blogs. Now all I need to do is email them to you. I don't know how you do it, but I'm certainly glad that you do.
Hugs and blessings,

RennyBA's Terella said...

What a thoughtful and warm hearted story Mimi - thanks for sharing!

Thanks also for the initiative to spread the Peace message throughout the Blogsphere!

Mine is up here :-)

Marilyn said...

I'm all nervous with anticipation this year.

There's something comforting about reading that lovely story every year.

Babs-beetle said...

My globe goes up in seven minutes :)

Michelle said...

My globe is up. :-) 00:26 here in Scotland. See you at a saner hour tomorrow. X

julie said...

Thank you for the inspiration,Mimi :)

Peace to everyone!

Dr. A said...

Just posted by Blogblast For Peace post. Not much of a creative globe, but I did want to write something for Nov 5th. Happy Peace Day everybody!

Travis Cody said...

Reading this story every year is like an annual reading of Twas the Night Before Christmas. It simply has to be done to usher in Blog Bast Day.

Smorg said...

A few more hours to go here in California. :) Thanks a bunch for the peaceful reminder, Mimi. You make a difference... one globe at a time, I think.

katherine. said...

this story always gets me smiling and sends chills up my spine.

enjoy the day mimi

Durward Discussion said...

Many of us can be kind. Many can be generous. Many can extend a hand in hard times. Among us are the special ones. They look at you and for a few minutes you are the single most important person in the world, unconditionally valued, and totally understood by another being.

They are the people who know how to love. Your papa was such a man.

Anonymous said...

I posted mine a few hours early. I added a little personal story.

I would have liked to have met your Papa. Good people, truely good people, are hard to find these days. You are one of those people, Mimi.

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