How is it that a trinket, of little or no cost, and only meaningful to the beholder, can stir up such emotions?
Whenever I look at the price ticket I’ve saved all these years, I smile to think how my negotiating skills started to develop at a young age. It was all due to a $13 dress that I wore to my first dance on a Friday the 13th.
Smiling and confident, I wait for just the right moment to approach my mom. I introduce my case in a short concise presentation and finish by making my request known. Bargaining commenced, both sides cordial, but willfully strong as to their intended outcomes. When the dust settles, we shake on a mutually agreed upon resolution: the black velvet dress with the white lace collar would be my mine to wear to the dance… and also on Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and every other upcoming holiday.
After the Camino in 2018, we travel to Finesterre- Latin for “the end of the earth.” I situate myself on a flat rock and sit cross legged with my eyes closed and my hands in prayer at my heart. I hear the sound of a flute. A young man has chosen this spot to play for tips. His melody is harmonizing with the sound of the waves and I experience such peace. For a moment, I feel as if I am outside my body and wonder if this is what practicing meditation correctly feels like. The word “peace” keeps coming to mind and I tell myself that I don’t want to forget this feeling when I go back to my busy life. Eyes now open, I feel energized, yet so serene.
As we head back to our hotel, I notice two older pilgrims walking toward us. The one that looks like Santa Claus – except he’s wearing sandals and shorts – stops in front of me and hands me something. I hesitate and shake my head no, but he insists and says “Yes, for you.” As he walks on, I look down to see what he has given me. It is a card with a lovely hand drawn picture of a dove that I’ve since framed. Across the bottom are the words “Peace, Paz.”
The shells that I keep on my dresser always remind me of the 100 steps to the beach we would count out loud, as we ran up and down them. It holds memories of the time my younger sister stood on a sand hill, and with hands on hips, declared she was going to be a nurse when she grew up, get married and she and her family were going to live in our summer home. She did and they did!
Sauntering down that same beach years later, the heart shaped rock my sister found and handed to me stirred me out of my daydream. As the ocean waves repeated the same, never-ending crashing sound around us, just as they had back then, it seemed that nothing had changed, yet everything was so different.
Hang on to your memories and your mementos, keep them close and, once in a while, let them remind you of a time in your life that’s passed, but is never really gone.
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