Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sundays in My City: Candlelight

I sat in church this morning, and although my attention should have been up front, I was looking out this window for much of the service.

It's a foggy morning in my city. I love fog. Today, though, as I looked out that window instead of at the candles or tapestries, it made me sad.

Life is in flux for me. Many of my friends are entering new chapters in their lives. They're moving, having new children, or returning to work. Sometimes all of the above.

One friend lost her mother on Friday. Another friend is starting her life over after the dissolution of a partnership.

Even this church with the beautiful trees on the hilltop is in transition. My pastor left and I'm nervous that the replacement will not understand that God (like The Dude) abides in nature and people and in my child's smile more than in a building. For me, anyway. 

As I was driving home, I felt an almost overwhelming urge to stop at the grocery store and buy one of those candles with pictures of Mary and the Saints on them. I'm not Catholic, so I don't know the proper name for them.

Throughout my childhood, I saw the candles next to the canned chilies and those special Mexican sodas when we went grocery shopping. I was always fascinated by them. Some images were so gory, so not Lutheran in any way shape or form. I never bought one.

Today, though, as I was driving home, I thought about the Madonna. She is the closest thing to the Feminine Divine that I know, and today I wanted to harness some of her strength. Clearly, I've been reading Susan Monk Kidd.

I didn't buy the candle because the boys were fussing. Instead, when I got home, I called my friend and asked him if I could bring his family dinner. They just returned from China with their new son, and the family is adapting to a lot. They are becoming a family of five, which is a beautiful thing. However, even beautiful things take time to settle into loveliness.

They allowed me the privilege of feeding them. The allowed me to harness my own divine mother-love. In a world that changes, I can still cook. I can still nourish.

So cook I did.
Shepherd's Pie, y'all. Comfort food. The good stuff.
I could have spread the mashed potatoes a little thinner. Not this mama. I made MORE. 
I made Rice Krispie treats because yesterday was their son's birthday. I'll get him balloons, too. 

This is such a small gesture, and I'm helping myself more than I'm helping my friends. But it makes me feel less powerless. It makes me feel like I'm doing my small part to lift the fog, and let the light shine.

And on the way home, I'm buying a candle. Just so I remember what's inside me. What's inside all of us, my sisters.
Unknown Mami


Prairiemaid said...

Beautiful, sweet and insightful ~ your post is all of the above. Your friends are blessed!

And you just give me an idea! Duh ~ more later!!

Hope you have a beautiful week.

Amy said...

God bless you for your compassion.

Have a great Sunday!

Bekah said...

What a beautiful post- thanks for sharing.

SamiJoe said...

I always feel like a better person after reading your posts. How sweet of you to make dinner-that kind of kindness lives on!
Happy Sunday!

Sonya said...

I remember those candles too and they were in the same section of my store aswell..I love that you made them dinner..people just dont do things like that anymore. I would love to have a friend like to move to the netherlands? :)

Adoption of Jane said...

I love those Candles too!

DUTA said...

I have a soft spot for candles. I lit candles whenever I dream of, or I remember the departed ones in my family. On Fridays, before the evening stars appear on the sky, I lit candles and say the proper Sabbath prayer to God.

I like your noble gesture towards your friend & his family - feeding them with such yummy and comforting dishes. Indeed, this gesture ' lifts the fog and let's the light shine'.

Lee Ann said...

What a beautiful post, you have such a kind heart and brought a tear to my eys. I hope you are enjoying your candlelight tonight x

Erin said...

Those are the Our Lady of Guadalupe Candles...very popular, all for different reasons. But the pics of the candles you posted are much more touching!

Eternal Lizdom said...

What a beautiful, beautiful post. And what a fantastic chance to see inside your life.

clearness said...

Light a candle and say a prayer for my little guy........I'll blog about it later.

Ms. Moon said...

In my local Winn Dixie, as in the grocery stores in Mexico, the saint candles are to be found in the household and cleaning supplies aisle. I keep one burning all the time. My favorite is the rose-perfumed Virgin of Guadalupe one.

Cat said...

Beautiful thoughts, and a gorgeous picture of the fog. My Mom always bought those candles, even though she raised us lapsed Methodist more than anything.

I bet your friend is grateful for an easy meal during this transition for them. That shepherd's pie looks delicious!

Unknown Mami said...

When Jeff Bridges won the Oscar we kept yelling at the screen, "The Dude abides".

You and your soul are beautiful.

adrienzgirl said...

We never had candles in church. I always remember seeing them in the grocery store. Just like you described them. Next to the Mexican items. I thought they were lovely.

The first picture of the fog is amazing. I love the fog. Early morning fog. It's like a blanket, makes me feel like I am clinging to the night.

adrienzgirl said...

Oh, and I got all wrapped up in the imagery of your words and forgot.

You are such a lovely friend. It isn't every day that people offer to bring meals anymore.

You are inspiring!

Joanna Jenkins said...

What a beautiful and honest post Nancy.

Your comment about the prospective new pastor hit home for me. Change is tough and it's even hard when you're considering a spiritual advisor who also has to be a business person who's responsible for "keeping the lights on" so to speak.

The meal for your friends looks fabulous! What a kind thing for you to do.

I have no idea what those candle are for but I hope the one your buy shines some light on you.


Julie said...

This is a most heart-felt post, Nancy. I appreciate that you wrote it for us, as I can learn from it, too.

I am not one for churches or scriptures or prayer or even God. However, I am one for people and place and this wonderful planet. I will employ your thoughts in line with my own directions.

Thank you for your directness and your honesty.

Frau said...

I understand your feelings, I'm inspired how you are lifting the fog. Really beautiful and touching post. Have a wonderful Monday!

only a movie said...

Oh I love this post.

Trudy Woodland said...

let your light SHINE~!

Caution Flag said...

You do have a Sue Monk Kidd writer's voice, Nancy. That is very, very cool!

Love you light in the fog analogy. It really doesn't take more than one willing light, does it?

Now I wish I could cook better because I have a friend who needs a meal, too.

Angie Muresan said...

You have such a beautiful soul, Nancy. I teared up reading your post. I want to go and get one of those candles too. They are indeed beautiful.

Minivan Lover said...

The ebb and flow of life can be very unsettling. Rice Krispie treats make it all a little easier. You are a good friend. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad I read this today... It's beautiful and sunny, but I'm missing adult interaction and Simeon in feverish and I'm feeling a little out of control and you know... And you know, so thank you.

I'm making shepherds pie for dinner. I kid you not. It was on the menu before I read this and tonight when I feed my family, I'll be thinking of you and motherhood and the Madonna. So again, thank you.

Jen said...

Our Sunday yesterday was foggy and gloomy too. And yes, those candles are far from Lutheran. ;) All I can do for my friends and family hurting is pray and try to make them laugh.

Corrie Howe said...

This has a forlorn tone to it. Candles are nice. I wish I'd think more often to burn them.

Marla said...

I love your sincere heart, Nancy. How wonderful to hear your friends are home with their new son.

Jenny said...

OK, not a fluke. You've got in going on girl. For whatever it's worth I'm adding you to my sidebar. Something I never, ever do on a first date!