For someone who is a declared atheist as I am, recently I realized that I have an amazing number of nick knacks and ornaments of spiritual, sentimental or good luck value. For example, I collect Buddhas and have done so for more years than I can remember. This past year I decided I am not collecting them any longer and warned Tom about that just before Christmas lists were being drawn up. "No more Buddhas," I said. During the past couple of years I noticed that I have sort of started collecting Willow Tree angels. I am not ready to give that up yet. Am enamored by the roundness-like feel and simplicity of these figurines.
I was thrilled to receive Mother and Son for Christmas. I had requested this one, specifically, because it brings me back to the days when I was a young mother, and my son was six or seven.
I do not remember why I started collecting Buddhas. I have been intrigued by them for such a long time. It might come out of my old yoga days, or times when I have contemplated Eastern religions. I simply do not remember.
For the last thirty years or so I have made sure to have not one, but a couple of Hamsas hanging at the front door just to ward off the evil eye. Oh yes, and I possess a couple of fico‘s too, given to me by a Brazilian student back in Buffalo a few years ago.
When I was in Rhodes last May I searched for and purchased an evil eye bracelet which I wear constantly on my left hand along with a delicate bracelet of crystal beads. The latter I received last summer from a new friend to support me through my health scare.
One of my all-time favorite keep sakes is a small rubber mouse. It sits close to my computer. I have kept it for twenty four years. Gilad gave it to me when he was ten years old. The night before there had been a live mouse running around our small apartment. He and I lived alone since his father and I had divorced. The neighbor came to help me chase the mouse away and I stood on the couch and screamed and screamed until it was driven out. The next day, Gilad was out with his father and while they were up in the town together he bought me the little rubber mouse. When they arrived home he presented the mouse to me and said he had bought it for me to learn not to be afraid of mice any longer.
Out on our patio, waving in the breeze fly a long line of Tibetan Prayer Flags that Leanne brought me from Taiwan at my request. She was curious as to what an atheist like me would be doing with such flags. I just love the way they flap and wave in the wind allegedly bringing happiness, long life and prosperity to the flag planter and those in the vicinity. "Besides," I said, "I’ll use whatever it takes!" I attached to my cell phone a good luck butterfly that Leanne and her mother gave me when I first met them. How did they guess I was starting to collect butterflies? And how did I know butterflies were good luck? All I knew was that my friend Susan had given a speech at my book party where she compared me to a butterfly, coming out of its cocoon and spreading its wings. Naturally, I started collecting butterflies after that!
Each ring, bracelet, necklace or pair of earrings have significance and meaning for me and I seem to hold onto even the tiniest keepsakes given to me over the years. As I look around my study I see all kinds of odds and ends, cluttering, or is it propping me up? Supporting and enveloping me with good luck, warm wishes, and symbols of hope. All of them representing different peoples and belief systems, fellow and sister life travelers sharing themselves with me, all wanting the same things: joy, hope, grace, love, forgiveness, light.