Wednesday, October 29, 2008

God, an Angel, and a Heaven of Purple

The Jacaranda trees are in bloom! I am in awe of the huge, majestic trees that turn the world purple every spring. My family is tried of hearing me ’wax poetic’ about the Jacaranda’s, but I can’t help myself. They make my small world feel as if it has been touched by the hand of God ... it’s a bit magical and a bit mystical that nature shares such beauty with me.

There is a Jacaranda tree that is perfectly framed in my dining room window. It is two streets over. It fills the space between two houses and reaches so high into the sky that all the trees around it are dwarfed by its size and beauty. Every morning when I open the drapes I have the feeling that I have been given a gift ... a perfect purple start to my day.

This morning as I was soaking up the beauty of the tree the beagle came over and curled up under my wheelchair. There’s cleverness in that maneuver ... I can’t move without his permission, and deep thought makes my hand automatically search for his head to scratch. There’s only one minor glitch. The beagle would rather have his rump scratched then his head and he has to position himself so that his hindquarters are where I would automatically go for his head. It requires a bit of aerodynamic engineering on his part, but he has almost mastered his ability to squeeze his butt into a space where his head should be. Having accomplished that the two of us were in a purple haze of deep thought when I had the sudden realization that I have always thought of two of my ancestors as epitomizing a worldly image of a heavenly entity. And the ancestors were both on my father’s side of the family.

I only remember one occasion when I spent time with my father’s grandfather, and I was very young, but I have many photographs of him. In every picture he has on a black suit, a white shirt, a black tie, and a black fedora sitting squarely on his head. Every time I look at one of his pictures I remember being in his presence, and the feeling of reverence that filled me. I was so in awe of the man that was my great-grandfather. It was the face ... he had the most beautiful face that I have ever seen. It wasn’t that he was handsome ... it was that goodness and peace flowed out of him. His skin was flawless, his eyes as blue as the sky, and his hair... his hair was magical. He had hair so white that it competed with the clouds. He had a moustache and trimmed beard that were the same wonderful purity of color.

I remember thinking, when I entered the room where he sat, that I was in the presence of a man that looked exactly like GOD ... loving, knowing, and forgiving, with beauty flowing out and around him. I was so overwhelmed that I could barely speak to him.

And I have carried that feeling of him into adulthood. Every time I look at the family album and find him gracing the pages I feel as if I have had a sneak preview of what God looks like and it fills me with wonder.

And then there is my father’s sister. She had lovely, soft skin, and a halo of blonde hair, but it was more the delicate feeling that emanated from the essence of her being. She had blue eyes, but when she was born the doctor had mistakenly poked her in one of them so she only had sight in one eye. The injury caused her to slightly tilt her head ... not enough to be noticeable unless you knew of the injury, but just enough to make her look a bit more special or serene then the rest of us.

‘Serene’ that is the word that I think of when I think of her. Her life was anything but serene, and she had a wicked sense of humor that was infectious because of her wonderful laugh, but serene is my perfect word for her. She always reminded me of an angel. An angel that the rest of us earth bound people were privileged to know.

Why I have never, until now, given credence to the fact that these two people that I have always equated with heavenly personas are both from the same side of the family is amazing to me. I think I gave them both a special place inside my heart and mind and didn’t think about family connections. Maybe my sudden awareness has something to do with my feeling this morning that I am given a heavenly gift when the Jacaranda’s bloom.

Maybe it’s a lovely juxtaposition to lift my spirits during what has been a confusing and difficult time. It’s calming to think so.

Love, Pennie

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