Do you have a talisman?
A medicine man once asked this of me. The wise ones who nurtured him taught him the importance of carrying a medicine bag for himself as he cared for others.
The things we carry to strengthen us, to encourage us, to help us return to the ground of our being are sacred. Like a living prayer, too intimate for words, we may choose not to name them aloud.
Sitting in the dark during an Advent service of Taizé, my talismans made an appearance, greeting me through prayer. I imagined donning them, one after another. Gifts from those who have nurtured me. Sacred objects, artifacts, that connect me to the spirit of my ancestors.
I used to literally wear them, intentionally placing a ring on my finger, clasping a bracelet on my wrist and a necklace around my neck. It was done with the same prayerfulness as celebrating Eucharist. And then… I stopped. For a whole host of reasons… But in the dark of Advent, they returned to me, as did a company of others.
In the storms of life, whatever those might be, we need the prayers of those who have witnessed to us, had faith in us, loved us into our flourishing. So I returned to a childhood minister, and a medicine man, and a mountain shaman who traveled miles to teach. I returned to letters from my grandfather, and his belief in my still unformed substance.
Advent is a restless time, a time of hurrying up, getting ready, and trying to wrest ourselves into a stance of waiting in the right way – as if there is a “right” way. It’s a time of uncertainty. Even though we know the story, it’s as if we are searching to learn it again, to get it, again. And so I returned to a Quaker professor, and the practice of letting the silence gather us. I returned to the reliable clock of a teacher that relieved us of worry about when our time together would end. I returned to the frozen air of winter, and the quiet, slow crunch of snow. I returned to the candles of the night, settling my aching soul.
In the spirit of waiting,
We’re pleased to present the December 2019 issue of our Seventh AveNews church newsletter. It is packed full of important information and fun photos, so be sure to check it out!
CLICK HERE to download a PDF copy!