Monday, March 5, 2007
Forty years ago today my mom died. I created a little altar space this morning with food, flowers and a yarzheit candle and an image of her from a piece of art I made.
Even though I have been working on the art piece, and planning the commemoration, when I awoke this morning I forgot. I just felt this sense of frenzy, like I had to 'get to work' right away! I sat down and journaled and I remembered. Forty years is a long time, much longer than the amount of time 'my mother' existed in my life. Yet for those forty years the relationship has continued to unfold through images. These images do not erase grief, sometimes they magnify it, but they hold a reality that has no other place in a culture of work and future oriented progress. The images let me participate in the incomprehensible mystery of life. Throughout the day I ate some of the beautiful tangerine and drank some of the sherry wine from the offering. The tangerine was a gift from my friend Aviva who came to paint yesterday. This little ritual is in my diningroom, not in a church or synagogue. I pass the altar as I go to put in the laundry, get up from my writing to pee, make lunch, and write a check for the guy who fixed my irrigation to water my new trees.
Above the sideboard that holds the altar is a painting called the Sabbath Bride.
It is a huge story painting about the return of the Shekinah, the feminine aspect of God. I believe these acts of making space in my everyday life for grief and honoring, for love and ritual create the path She needs to return. I think She is calling us to undo the separation of sacred and profane and weave them back together, to weave ourselves back together, mystery with the rational, self with other, with nature. I am deeply grateful to my own mother for teaching me how to intertwine the body with the spirit by honoring the soul, the simple, the true, the everyday mystery.