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“In your light. . .”

In your light I learn how to love.
In your beauty, how to make poems.
You dance inside my chest,
where no one sees you,
but sometimes I do,
and that sight becomes this art.

Monday night I went to the cemetery to meet my friend and writing/teaching partner Betsey Beckman who has created a video of her Mary Magdalene storydance (will be available early 2010).  She had asked me to come film some still shots of her for the cover.

I absolutely love cemeteries and am used to having strange and serendipitidous encounters there.  As we finished shooting, her videographer had brought some champagne to celebrate nearing the end of a wonderful project.  We lay down in the grass under the golden light of the evening sky and relished the moment.  Talking and laughing I saw a man heading our way and I worried we had been disturbing his peace at the cemetery.  Instead he walked up to us with his 3-year old daughter and offered us cupcakes to go with our champagne. Then his little girl starting playing with the videographer’s 4-year old son, romping and frolicking together among the gravestones with sheer delight.

We thanked our new friend for his generosity and asked him his story.  His wife has died a year before of cancer and he came here often to this place to remember her and celebrate her life. For him, laughing, running, playing, having cupcakes and champagne, were just how you should be at the cemetery when remembering a woman filled with light and love. He told us of how this young mother, who knew she would die and not see her daughter grow up, wrote this young girl letters for every birthday she would have for the next several years, offering her the advice only a mother can give.

Like all meaningful moments, this one continues to sing through me as the days pass.  I am present to the beauty of the world on a late summer evening in this place where we honor our loves ones who have gone into the Great Night.  For this moment I cherish the gifts of children and friends and laughter.  In my full presence I am made whole again, in the light I learn how to love, in beauty I offer beauty.

Tomorrow’ would have been my own mother’s 67th birthday.  Her death was quite sudden and I wish dearly that I had letters of advice from her to keep opening and guiding me through adult passages.  Instead I have to turn to the world around me and discover there messages from a wisdom beyond me that pulses all around.

What have been the moments this week that have made you pause and brought you to your own wholeness?

Photos taken last night in the cemetery.

Make sure to visit this week’s Poetry Party on the theme of Moments!

© Christine Valters Paintner at Abbey of the Arts:
Transformative Living through Contemplative & Expressive Arts

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5 Responses

  1. Thanks for the memories…and for the continued teaching and example about living into grief and being present with it in a grace-filled way! Amazing!

  2. A little late to this, but wow, I agree with “goose bump beautiful”. This is just gorgeous, and your photographs get better and better.

  3. “goose bump beautiful” is a fabulous description. it was pure joy also to hear and see you describe your evening in person. the only thing more perfect would have been joining you among the gravestones for cupcakes and champagne. :-) what a fabulous moment(s)!

    i am still preening from my encounter via facebook with an old college friend who helped me recover a memory that helped me see the imprints of my life in a new and satisfying way. the light shows up in the most unexpected places & ways, doesn’t it? xoxo