Thursday, November 3, 2011

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. 
Back in the year 2006 she sent this photograph to me.
In the fall of 2011 she mailed a signed print to Bloggingham with a lovely letter.  Blogging friends and peace bloggers are real? Who knew?

I blog for peace because a long long time ago, one significant man chose to impart the best of himself to me. I'd like to say I didn't know how remarkable he was at the time, that I learned that later on in life and took him for granted. But that would not be true. I did know. I always knew. And he never let me down. I'd like to introduce you to this honorable man.

 The Silence of Peace
Papa's Marbles
as told on the very first Dona Nobis Pacem in the blogosphere in 2006

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 to 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. 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.

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 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 and 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 was 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 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?

 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.
The muse is here this morning and I am writing my peace post. See you in a bit.
If you're ready to post in your part of the world, go ahead and sign below. I'll transfer your links to my new post Nov 4th when I post it this evening.
Join us for BlogBlast For Peace Nov 4

#blog4peace #blogblast4peace #blog4peace


nonamedufus said...

I don't know how you do this Mimi but your dedication to this effort is amazing. Good luck with the 2011 Blog Blast 4 Peace!

Shelly @ This Eclectic Life said...

Mimi, thank you so much for the hard work you do and the inspiration you give. I had to post early, because I am leaving my computer for two days ... but I wanted to be a part of your amazing effort.

Gallery of the Mountains said...

Wonderful story - such lovingly crafted marbles. Thanks for all you do!

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Mimi, I love your heart, and the way you write. You are a wonder, putting this together every year. May this be the biggest year ever!!!! We are SO CLOSE to shifting the global consciousness. It is trying so hard to happen. Thanks for your part in encouraging it! I'm so looking forward to visiting everyone all day tomorrow!!!!

Durward Discussion said...

Looking forward to your peace post. I decided to dance through the day. Must go see if Australia and New Zealand are up yet.

Durward Discussion said...


Look. Somebody occupied a globe

Travis Cody said...

You know how many times I've read this story...way more than 5. It always gives me chills. Every single time.

Mimi Lenox said...

You know, my friends, I am amazed each year at the way you respond. It has little to do with me and much more to do with the way you lay it out there, helping me (bzzzzz!) and encouraging. I need that encouragement! Sometimes I feel like I'm blogging peace in a vacuum in the middle of these woods and no one is listening. And then BlogBlast begins and...well...I am overwhelmed with the depth of writing and artistic endeavors I see.

So many peace globes are coming through my email tonight I can't keep up. On Facebook it is a virtual peace fest. Some people have blogged peace for 6 six years straight. I've watched their babies grow to little children who've always blogged peace because their parents taught them the tradition.

Thanks for your kind words.
Tomorrow will be incredibly joyful for me.

I hope it is for you too.

Mimi Lenox said...

P.S. Travis, I hope you and Pam enjoy your day tomorrow.

Vinny "Bond" Marini said...

Beautiful story...but nothing less is expected from you on this day (and any other day actually)

A wonderful thing this fifth anniversary Mimi...

Now if only Linky would work for me!

CyberCelt said...

Hi, Mimi

Looks like I had already signed the Mr. Linky for some of my blogs, unless you did it.

Please leave the list up as I want to visit every one. However, I am sick and not in the visiting mood.

I just found out I have to undergo another 6 months of chemo down here in Hell, I mean, Houston. Pray for me, girl.

Mimi Lenox said...

Thank you my friend Vinny

Eileen - See mail. I am speechless and praying for you.

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