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Room at the Table

              Saffron Flower

There are experiences that you never forget.

In their newborn moment, they hold a deep significance, but as all sacred moments, their intensity fades with time. 

That is, until you circle round to an unexpected happening--perhaps you are shaken a bit-- and these faded memories become dislodged and reemerge for you to gaze upon in wonder. 

Memories from time past, lovingly unearthed from the vast garden of our soul, ready to let us partake of the preciousness of existence, and how it has always been weaving itself within and throughout our story. 

The past links up with the present to show you how you were not, are not, and never have been, alone.

Loved ones return into your awareness as though they've been there all along, just invisible, until the spark of memory would bring them back--now that they are needed.

Moments that shine back at you, when they would carry the brightest light for your night sky...

Sitting in a quaint little home in Le Mans, France. I'd become a permanent fixture at the table by now.

I still wonder how it was that I sat among them. There was no reason I should have been there.

How was it that I had landed there, in this game of chance?

And would they ever know the full extent to which they blessed my life?

I am awed, that if one aspect of my life had been different, I may never have known these people. 

I like to think that we were all hearing a beautiful song, and that it moved us--moved us to connect.  Moved us to explore the landscape of one another--of Love.

A mother, a father, a sister, a brother--and this particular day, fellow Iranian friends visiting from their home in Paris.

A bottle of Pepsi to accompany the most beautiful and delectable Iranian cuisine. Feeling excited every time I recognized the soda pop's name bopping up its head now and then in a sea of Farsi, churning and bubbling back and forth across the table. 

Sun shining through the window, in the same way my palate was illuminated by the Saffron in the white rice. 

Mint leaves perfuming the air, and garlic and cucumber giving life to the yogurt-- lovely rich Sumac adding a sensual sweetness and a flare of burgundy to the lamb kabobs.

I was supposed to feel the foreigner, but I felt as though I had never belonged any place more.

I might just now begin to understand why...

Everyone holds their breath as the ocean of words becomes more tumultuous, as someone disturbs dark memories from the depths. 

Friends shot in the street. 

Loss.

And more loss.

Running for lives

Crossing borders

Far from home

But never outrunning pain.

It was the father that let his tears fall as he remembered his friends before they fell. How he had to keep running. How he had to let go. 

Heads bowed.

Wanting to remember.

Wanting to forget.

Stranded there,
 forever,
in memory, 
of the loved.

And here it is we join

creating a circle.

My loss.

Their loss.

Their loss is mine.

My loss is theirs.


Hearts touching through time


There was enough room at the table. Even for loss. It didn't kill any of us. In fact, it connected us.

I wonder if that might be why I had the sense that I belonged, because their world had been blown wide open by loss and tragedy, and this had made them accessible. They wore no shields to keep me out, even a young American girl, who might have been outspoken, once or twice.

They wore no shields and wielded no weapons to keep anyone out, 

and somehow, this let life in.

let life in.

Might I invite loss to my table too? Not sure, just yet.

Let me tell you what I most remember about these friends of mine. Despite their loss, their having to fight to exist, they embraced life! They lived well and loved well. They lived simply. They took great joy in the world.

I remember on weekends that they invited me to stay with them, I would often wake late Saturday mornings, just as they were returning with baskets full of fruits and vegetables from the market. They would fill a giant bowl with all the colors of the rainbow, and I would snack on these veritable gems all day, feeling like a princess. 

I remember them taking off on a whim to go exploring. They took me with them, intent on showing me what was beautiful to them, and basking in my romance of it. They very often handed me a token of remembrance. One of my most treasured possessions is a little pot that they bought and smuggled out of a potter's store, as by that time, I was watching their every move, to catch them red-handed buying me presents. It became a game! This little pot serves as my 'God box', where I write down that which troubles me and that I want to turn over to something beyond my limited vision. Ironic, that the hands that gave me the pot, would be those who would reach right through time, to teach me.

I remember that no matter the strain and tension of relations with one another, or the pains of living, which there were-- there was always a return. Not a suppression, but a return. A return to the heart. As if nothing could take them down. After all, they knew what it was like to lose big, for life to be completely turned upside down. Perhaps it didn't interest them to spend time afraid of threats. They loved boldly and bravely. They trusted, even though they had been betrayed by life.

Oh, my dear ones. I wish I could ask you how long it took you for life to feel vibrant again after your loss. I wish I could ask you if there was ever a decision to choose strength, to decide that all that matters is love, and just what it was that helped move you forward. I wish I could ask you if courage was something you had to choose anew every day.

I have a sense that I know, however, that it was love, and only love, that got you through. I hope it still is.

I want to thank you for this memory of

Life teeming with love.

Love teeming with life.

Love being Life.

Life being Love.


'Why's' left unanswered, as incomplete cadence.

The end of an unusual song

that cannot end


Making room for all of it at the table. 



Making  room for me at the table. 

Comments

  1. Happy Valentine’s Day Brooke. This was a lovely memory. A table with open hearts welcoming you in, no matter your origin, simple foods, simple people, staggering pain that is processed, honored, and shared. It all represents an acceptance of what is and a celebration of life on a daily basis.
    Just recently my husband read a passage to me from one of his many books stating that the happiest people in the world are the people who have little. Their lives are simple and they can still see with child’s eyes the magic of provision, planting and reaping, rain, and sunshine. They are in sync with nature and dependent on her generosity.
    This information caused me to pause and ponder the abundance in my life of material things and the struggle to find and hold onto happiness. Ironic. Sometimes I feel like that overly indulged only child on Christmas morning that grows testy with distraction, not able to settle on one good thing.
    By American standards I’m poor but by most of the world’s standards I’m rich. I try to remind myself of this when I’m tempted to be ungrateful.
    I know that your post wasn’t meant to focus on this topic but for some reason this is what bubbled to the surface for me, so I thought I would share it with you.
    You’re a beauty Miss Brooke. Thank you for your words.
    Love,
    Leah

    ReplyDelete
  2. My friend...your words are so soul touching. Thank you for inviting me to your table this morning. I am bowing in gratitude.

    I love you and the magic you create,

    Julia

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Brooke
    That is a love/loving story.People are all good and loving , some of us just don't know it yet. Thank you for your loving insites and wisdom to these gifts.

    Thank You Your friend Joe

    ReplyDelete

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