Posts Tagged ‘mustard seed’

I received a message yesterday from a childhood friend who had just heard about my father’s death. She was so terribly sorry for us.

This same friend lost her mom recently. Her dad died seventeen years ago. She said not a day passes that she does not think of him.

I was fully aware that most folks who came to pay their respects to my family knew exactly what we were feeling. I understood that these people who provided us comfort and solace have all suffered some loss in their own lives. Could have been losing parents, children, siblings or friends. Could have been tragic or welcomed.

It’s the condition of being human in this world for a very short time. Maybe we didn’t sign up for it but we are here and those are the terms of the contract.

It reminded me of a story my husband told many years ago.

A woman’s child died and she was utterly devastated. She approached the Buddha and begged him to bring her child back to life. He said he would be glad to help her. But only if she could bring back a mustard seed from a home that had not suffered from a death.

This grief stricken mother traveled, near and far, to find a home that had not been touched by loss. After many months, knocking on every door, she returned empty handed. She never found that house.

And then she found some peace.

This recent experience of losing my father reinforced the fact that even though my personal grief can be unique it will never be unshared. This will provide me with some measure of comfort during my own quest for peace.

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When I was young my parents didn’t go out that often. So we didn’t have a ton of babysitters. But they did need kid coverage at times. A Saturday night once in a while. Or when their work hours weren’t in sync. There was a period of time when Mom was working second shift at the hospital and Dad’s day shift wouldn’t end until 5:00pm.

Kathy DeMarco, our teenaged neighbor and family friend, would come over to sit with us. She had long, brown hair parted down the middle. I can still see her sitting on our couch in the parlor. She let me brush her hair. And I brushed it endlessly. Thought it was the best thing.

Eventually Kathy left home to get married. When she was clearing out her things she left some with me.

I often wonder why I have such vivid memories of some things but this morning’s breakfast or the doings of the previous week remain a chore to bring to mind.

One item Kathy gave me was her jewelry box. A big, pink toned leather piece with an inside mirror, two side compartments and one drawer. It also played music. I thought it was fabulous. So happy and grateful.

I still remember some of the contents. One was a pair of round, yellow tinted John Lennon type sunglasses.

There was also a necklace that had a miniature canister filled with tiny seeds. I thought they were drugs. I guess I had quite the imagination. I never asked anyone about it. Which is weird because I always asked a lot of questions. I just wondered silently and kept the contraband totally under wraps. Okay, I was seven years old!

The families are still friends. Kathy’s parents have since died and other folks reside in the house next door. But Kathy still lives in the same town as my parents. I was chatting the other day with her son and that memory just popped into my head. I shared it with him. I wanted him to know how much I appreciated his mother’s gifts. So he can share with her.

I now know the significance of mustard seeds in jewelry. It is to remind the wearer that what is very small can grow into something very big. 

Like an idea. Like a simple gesture. Like a wonderful memory.


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