I found an old French religious book in a pile at the French brocante.
The fountain pen writing was appealing, tagged 1786.
A paper backless book. Older than the three of us standing around looking at it.
I reached down thumbed through it, hoping to find an old engraving inside. No luck. But then, gee, I thought to myself, "Your tough Miss. Hoping to find an engraving, lovely thick leather embossed cover, a million dollars and a love note tucked inside."
Why hope to find more of a treasure? Why not see the treasure that it is.
I guess you could say I am in a reflective mood these days. It happens when a friend tries to commit suicide, a Godchild was deathly sick and two friends have cancer. It makes the world wake up to me... as if I had a chance to peek behind an unseen curtain, seeing the play become real.
The beauty of suffering is the song of sweetness that comes to our lips, hearts, touch, sight, perspective... suffering offers us to be present to one another that most things do not. When someone is ill, for example, I tend to pray more for them, touch them, feel their skin differently, as if our time together is not caught up in what are we doing and talking about whatever... not that those things are bad. When someone I know is hurting I feel we get to the core of realness fast. And that I find beautiful, I suppose, it is a gift to tend to the ill, the weak... and not run from it.
A ministry you might say.
The pages of the old French book had torn off velvet tabs, that were used to mark the different chapters. I imagined the velvet tabs long, and as one was held to fold back the chapter, I imagine the person holding the velvet tab caressing it gently between his pointer finger and thumb as he read.
Like praying the rosary, each bead in its time, present in his hand.
Maybe the tabs were worn off from reflection?
Maybe I am a poetic want to be.
Maybe a child in 1886, a hundred years later, cut them off with a scissor, then giggled, and then worried he would be punished.
The book owner's signature definitely had a poetic thing going on. Look at that swirly curly end! No quick signing that type of signature on one of those credit card machines that I do not like.
Poetry seems to be fading fast in daily life.
A signature reduced to a scribbled initial.
I can hear my brother Mat saying, "Damn Sis, it is just an old book, get over it."
You know sometimes I wish I didn't see things as emotional elements of poetic beauty and symbolic meaning. Sometimes I wish I could love reproductions as much as I love old things. I think it must be easier to walk into a new store and buy something. But then I would miss the old souls I meet at the brocante, and the stories that tell they tell to my heart.
Here I am, holding an old book of life with chapters marked with velvet tabs.
What is your chapter today called?
Mine is reflection.