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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Eve of BlogBlast For Peace ~ Papa's Marbles

It is November 3, 2015 and we are on the cusp of the tenth year of peace blogging. It is my custom to start at the beginning and move forward through time, as it happened on this blog and on many others. So I am re-posting the very first BlogBlast For Peace post from the year 2006. At that time we had no idea how far this would go or what it would become. Read the stats here or anywhere on the Internet, but right now what is important is the beginning....
It was about midnight. And after inviting half the world to join me, I had no post of my own. The muse, you see, has Her own timezone and is utterly reliable as I was about to find out. I was in for a midnight surprise, a visitation...The makings of a movement began that night. Here's my story. Here's how it began. It started with a bowl of marbles...
Let me introduce you to this honorable man, my Papa.

Dona Nobis Pacem 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 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 had 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 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 has 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 color himself.   Papa.....he must have spent hours honing that rock. 

My grandson

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 all 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.

**Please join us again this year. We'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject of peace.**

If you're participating please sign the Mr. Linky so that others can read your post. When I make my own post tomorrow, I will transfer all the links to the new list.

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Sherry Blue Sky said...

Ten years if blogging for peace. Way to be, Mimi! I am geared up and looking forward to it. I still am not good with the tekky aspect of decorating peace globes, but did what I could. LOL.

Travis Cody said...

I have not had a typical year. I have not had a typical run up to Blog Blast. I have not had a typical Peace Week. I have not had a typical Eve of Blog Blast.

But now I have read Papa's Marbles again. Finally, something typical for Blog Blast. And some peace.

I shall be back in the morning to sign Mr Linky.

Dona Nobis Pacem

Mimi Lenox said...

Sherry - I am still working on my post. It's been a most unusual day. Be back soon to read.

Gemma Wiseman said...

So love this unique story. An absolute treasure.

Juliana said...

Beautiful story of your blog blast peace post.

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