Remembering Infinity

Spirituality | Metaphysics | Consciousness | Life


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Remembering Infinity: Spirit Signs


Does the "Spirit World" really communicate with us through subtle signs?

Does the “Spirit World” really communicate with us through subtle signs?

I find it interesting that so many others who have an interest in spiritual and metaphysical study seem to have such astounding experiences that encourage them along their way. So many others report having profound visions during meditation, an ability to connect directly with loved ones who have passed and beings from other dimensions, or witness paranormal activity with their own eyes.

Me? Not so much.

I, it seems, am a very tough case! Sure, I believe in many things I can’t see. I believe in many of the accounts others share of otherworldly beings and contacts. I believe that many other forms of intelligent and energetic life exist even beyond the farthest reaches of our Cosmos and our understanding. I believe that our consciousness lives beyond the grave—and that we are eternal souls. But without actual firsthand proof of these things, it seems I only have my faith in the accounts of others to go on.

Then there are days like today. I experience yet another synchronicity that subtly suggests that many worlds exist beyond ours—and that spiritual energies help nudge us along to the exact places we are supposed to go.

Before I share my account of today’s rather mystical events, I suppose I must explain that my paternal grandmother was a very spiritual person. She considered all religions as valid and wonderful pathways to personal discovery. Although raised under the umbrella of Western Christianity, she studied and deeply appreciated other religious paths, particularly those which touched the Eastern philosophies of Buddhism, Taoism, and Hinduism. She meditated quite often (although she often told us she was “just resting her eyes”) and spent much of her life in deep contemplation of Source, Our Universe, and our place within the Unity.

I was born and raised for most of my younger years in San Francisco and, since my grandmother lived not far from us, she spent a great deal of time exploring the city with me in tow. No matter where we went, whenever she spied a church or house of worship of nearly any kind, she would be drawn to it, much as a moth to a flame.

“Oh,” she’d exclaim, “what a lovely little church! We simply must go inside for a visit.”

Even at five or six years of age, I must have rolled my eyes and grinned—much as I do now when I recall those precious moments.

“Yes, Grandma…” I’d sigh with resignation. But I really didn’t mind. Our visits to these old churches, with their heavy wooden doors; cool, dark, and echoing interiors, and peaceful energy, left me feeling happy and at peace with myself. We’d go in, sometimes light a votive candle or two, and sit for a few moments on the smooth wooden pews. Grandma usually wasn’t much on ritual, but she’d sometimes make the sign of the cross and close her eyes in meditative prayer. I’d do the same, but instead of making a connection with Spirit, I’d pretend to pray and sneak peeks at the beautifully crafted statues and stained glass windows instead. I’ll always remember how beautiful my grandmother looked at those times—her wrinkled hands resting peacefully upon her lap and her softly lined face a perfect reflection of heavenly bliss.

When my grandmother was here in the physical, she loved butterflies. Well, she loved butterflies and ladybugs, but butterflies were her favorite. Especially the Monarch Butterfly, with its bright orange and black wings. She’d always point them out excitedly, every time she saw one. In the many years following her passing, I’ve come to understand that butterflies are “Heaven’s Messengers”. A great many psychic mediums have identified these delicate, colorful creatures as being used to convey messages from the spirit world to us, in our dense 3D-ness. I’ve even noticed myself that, many times, shortly after thinking of my grandmother, either a butterfly will flutter by very closely or a ladybug will land on my arm. To my mind, the frequency that this occurs is far beyond the statistical margins of “chance”.

But I digress.

Since today was one of the last few days before my teenage son starts school, I had offered to take him and his lovely girlfriend on a jaunt to Chinatown for lunch. They agreed, so we headed into the city from the suburbs. We hopped off the train, trekked through the downtown financial district, and found ourselves seemingly in another part of the world. If you haven’t seen it, San Francisco’s Chinatown is a mystical feast for the senses. Established in 1848, it is known as the largest Chinatown outside of Asia and the oldest in North America. Handsome, multi-story brick buildings line the street and strings of brightly colored lanterns, banners, and even drying laundry hang from balconies and light poles. Large glass windows offer expansive views into quaint, old-fashioned storefronts. Bright, colorful wares are often stacked floor to ceiling—and some goods even spill out onto the sidewalks to beckon the throngs of shoppers in.

As we walked down the street, smelling the wonderful aromas of incense and food being cooked in nearby restaurants, I noticed a tall, brick church that looked familiar. The sign in front read, “St. Mary’s Church” and I remembered it as one that my grandmother and I had visited nearly fifty years ago. I grinned at my son, mentioned that she and I had once been there, and suggested that we go inside “for a visit”. He wasn’t really interested—in fact, he and his girlfriend wanted to go play “Pokemon Go” on their phones at a park, just across the street instead. :rolleyes:

I was somewhat disappointed at their not joining me, but as a parent, I get it—after all, who would want to go in some old boring building with your dad when there are lots of wild virtual creatures to catch with your girlfriend, outside, in a bustling city?

So we parted ways momentarily and I disappeared into the nearly empty church. Just as my grandmother and I had done so many years ago, I lit a candle, found a quiet pew, and sat for a few moments. Now, much older, I did meditate for a few moments—but some things haven’t changed. I must admit that I stole a few glances at the stained glass and the familiar figures in alcoves along the walls. I thought about my grandmother, somehow just trusting she was there with me, and wondered if I would ever really feel her presence as I have done on a few very rare occasions.

Sadly, not feeling anything in particular, I shrugged my shoulders and got up to leave. I walked out of the church into the sunshine and walked across the street to the little park where my traveling companions waited. I found them on a bench and, much as I had expected, they were deeply engrossed in their technological adventures.

“C’mon guys…” I encouraged. “Let’s visit a couple of more shops and head to lunch. The place where my grandma and I once ate is right across the street and the food is fantastic!”

As they got up and we turned to leave, something caught my attention. There, out of the corner of my eye and behind some trees, I had noticed a brightly painted mural on the bottom floor of a very old apartment building. Once can scarcely imagine my surprise when I saw, much larger than life, two monarch butterflies painted on a garage door!

Now it didn’t escape me that, because of the position of this mural, there is absolutely no way I could have seen it from the front stairs of the church. The only way I could have seen it is to walk over to this park…and if my son hadn’t wanted to play his game there, I wouldn’t have seen it at all.

I laughed aloud, pointed out the mural, and told them both why seeing the butterflies meant so much to me. Although they may be young and somewhat skeptical, I don’t think the significance of the finding was entirely lost on them. My son’s girlfriend even mentioned that sometimes her family has seen what they too interpret as “signs from above”. She and her family have noticed on several occasions that, just when they are thinking or talking about her grandparents, lights or other electrical appliances will turn on for no logical reason.

So, once again, Spirit has sent me a “sign” that we and our loved ones are never truly gone. And once again, all I have is a wispy “inkling” in the place of rock-solid proof. But that’s OK. I suppose it’s much more fun that way…when Spirit plays a mystical game of “hide and seek” with us incarnated human beings.

One day, when my son has a family of his own, I hope he returns to Chinatown and recounts the story of the day his dad received a sign from Spirit. Perhaps then, if I’ve moved on to other realms, it’ll be my turn to send him a sign of his own. And I’ll just bet he’ll be awake and aware enough to notice it.

Hey, it’s now 5:55 as I’m writing this!

That just reminded me of what comedian Jeff Foxworthy used to always say in his show…“There’s your sign!”

What signs have you received from Spirit or your loved ones?

With Love,

stargazericon

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“Motherly” Love


Happy Mother’s Day to all who unselfishly nurture and care for others—just as any mother would.

Happy Mother’s Day to all who unselfishly nurture and care for others—just as any mother would.

On this Mother’s Day, as we think about, acknowledge, and honor all the beautiful souls who have brought life into the world, I’d like to express my gratitude and appreciation to all women—and indeed, the sacred aspects of femininity that exist everywhere!

Whether or not they have physically conceived, carried, or given birth to a child, there have been countless examples of blessed beings (both men and women) who have embraced what many perceive to be expressly feminine or so-called “motherly” traits. These often include such virtues as empathy, compassion, acceptance, and creativity. We see examples of this every day—when people (and even animals) care for, nurture, and share unconditional love with others.

I’m reminded of a pond near my home where a large goose has, for several years now, taken on a role as protector of many young ducklings. The goose, who is clearly not the progenitor of these youngsters, follows them and their mothers around, keeping a wary eye out for would-be predators and fearlessly warding them off. Although the goose is not a mother herself, it has quite unselfishly taken on such a role. To me, this exemplifies the finest qualities of motherhood and unconditional love.

It’s important for us to understand that, although our physical bodies may reflect a certain gender, we humans are most spiritually balanced when we embrace and honor both our Divine Masculine and our Divine Feminine sides. This simply means that we can allow ourselves to freely express whichever aspect is needed and most appropriate for a given situation, regardless of any preconceived notions about gender or any perceived societal role.

For far too many millennia, humankind has denied, persecuted, subjugated, and suppressed the feminine. This has resulted in a patriarchal modern society where women and the Divine Feminine must struggle to find equality in religion, government, industry, community, and even family. Although much progress has been made, particularly in the past few decades, it’s high time for all women—indeed, all human beings, to step forward in their power as Divine, Sovereign Individuals. All must be free to become the highest expression of themselves, regardless of gender.

So on this “Mother’s” Day, I’d like to recognize and honor not just all the moms out there, but the beautiful spirit of “Motherhood” that beats powerfully in the hearts of so many others. Whether you’re a grandparent, parent, aunt, uncle, or any other caregiver, it doesn’t matter if you are male, female, or someone’s biological mother. If you’re caring for someone as any mother would, you serve as a shining light and nurturing example of all that is right in the world.

Motherly Love. It isn’t just for mothers anymore!

Respectfully,

stargazericon

P.S.: Thanks, Mom!

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Remembering Infinity: BOO!


BOO!  Happy Hallowe'en!

BOO! Happy Hallowe’en!

Hallowe’en has always been one of my favorite days of the year.  When I was a child of 7 or 8, and perhaps even younger, I’d enjoy dressing up in a costume and going to school.  I always admired and appreciated the creativity of the other kids and their families as we’d circle the schoolyard for our annual Hallowe’en Parade.  There were ghosts, goblins, witches, and super heroes.  There were clowns, mummies, princesses, and draculas.  The variety seemed endless!  Some kids would have the usual store-bought costumes, but the ones I enjoyed most were the clever, homemade ones.  I’ll never forget one fellow in my 5th grade class painted a big cardboard box (very accurately, I might add) and came dressed as a big box of laundry detergent!

My mom was always struck by the Hallowe’en spirit too, for she’d always decorate our small city apartment with pumpkins, indian corn, and autumn leaves.  Their bright, cheerful colors always seemed to make things better, no matter what family drama might have been going on.  Before I became big enough to do things on my own, Mom would help me create my costumes.  Whether I’d be in the guise of a swashbuckling pirate, a civil war cavalry officer, or an old west sheriff, she’d sometimes work into the late hours on the night before Hallowe’en, sewing, gluing, and painting.

But no matter what the costumes might be, the highlight of the day would always be when we’d go trick-or-treating on those dark and spooky autumn nights.  We had a wonderful tradition of going to my cousins’ house, where we could scarcely wait for the sky to darken and the moon to rise.  We’d fuss and fidget all through dinner, pestering our parents with every bite.

“Is it dark enough yet?”

“What time can we go?”

“Was that the doorbell?”

“Can we go now, puleeeeeeeese?”

Finally, with an exasperated shake of the head, an eye roll, and a knowing grin, one of our parents would surrender!  Like curled, dry leaves fleeing the cold wind, my cousins and I would don our masks and race from the house.   With empty sacks waiting to be filled with all manner of candy and treats, we’d fly through the neighborhood.  Racing from house to house, the three of us (and many other neighbor cretins) would trample across lawns and stumble shamelessly through any flower beds that might find themselves along our darkened way.

Some homes were “haunted”, of course, and those were the most fun.  Witches and demons crouched behind their doors, all waiting for innocent and unsuspecting fingers to press on doorbell buttons.  Surprised by the frightening spectacles that greeted us, we’d shriek in delight, forget to collect our candy, and run, giggling breathlessly, to the next house.

Now that I’m all “grown up”, my teenage son and I have turned the tables.  It’s our turn to scare the daylights out of the neighborhood trick-or-treaters!  Sometime during the week before Hallowe’en, our front yard turns mysteriously into a graveyard with an abundance of realistic gravestones, creepy creatures, and human remains (all fake, of course!).  A low-hanging fog, flashes of lightning, and some spooky sound effects (mostly thunder and scary music) send scores of the more adventurous souls screaming down our driveway–and I suppose our stumbling zombie characters do a great deal to “help” them along their way!

It’s sometimes difficult for some to imagine, but there are some who truly fear Hallowe’en.  From its history, they feel it is a practice that feeds into satanic or negative ideals.  While there may be a slight element of truth to this, I prefer to think of it as an opportunity–an opportunity to help us embrace and even overcome some of our deepest fears.  When we can face the “monsters” of our own making, learn to make “light” of them, and appreciate the experiences and lessons they bring, we often discover that we no longer fear them.  We find that they no longer have any power–because we are the ones who can choose to not be afraid!  When we find our own power under the light of this Truth, things like darkness, death, and the unknown lose their fearful sting.  In their place, we are often able to discover balance and a newfound sense of peace.

So be not afraid!  Face those “demons”!  Then pat ’em on the head, shout “BOO!”, and toss a piece of candy in their bag.  If one chooses to look at things in that way, Hallowe’en can be a whole lot of fun–for kids of all ages!

With Love (and lots of candy),

stargazericon

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Remembering Infinity: Grandma’s House


We may find that "Heaven" is within ourselves—by simply opening our minds and hearts to its presence.

We may find that “Heaven” is within ourselves—by simply opening our minds and hearts to its presence.

This post is dedicated to my good friend Grace, at Amethyst Road and The Earth Plan.

One of my favorite places growing up was my paternal grandparents’ house.  One of many boxy row houses squeezed alongside one another in San Francisco’s Miraloma Park neighborhood, most of the homes were built there in the post-war 1940’s.  Their uniform stucco walls weathered the infamous San Francisco fog well and from their flat tar and gravel roofs or upstairs bedroom windows, the views of the Bay were absolutely spectacular—at least on those seemingly rare days when the sun actually broke through the gray.

Whenever my parents and I would come by for a visit or a weekend stay, I’d race down the walk between closely trimmed hedges, race up the painted concrete steps, and ring the doorbell next to the dark wooden door.  Grandma, plump and rosy-cheeked in her apron, would often be working in the kitchen when we’d arrive.  She’d greet us at the door with a delighted laugh, and as she dried her softly-lined hands on a faded tea towel, I’d rush in for one of the warmest and best hugs—ever!

The door would shut tight behind us with a solid thump and click, shutting out all the worries and cares of the outside world.  We’d cross the worn hardwood floor, pass through the dim, book-cluttered living room, and head straight for the kitchen. With its large windows, pale yellow paint, and bright vinyl tablecloth, the room was always warm, cheerful, and inviting.  On warmer days, the fragrance from Grandma’s favorite “Cecile Brunner” rose bushes would drift in through the open windows, along with the joyful song of her many backyard birds.

Grandma would put a pot of water on the stove to boil for the adults’ coffee or tea and bring down a package or two of cookies from the high cupboard above the oven.  Sugar cookies, iced raisin cookies, or chocolate chip “Angel” cookies—all were well-appreciated, especially when dunked in a glass of cold milk which, in those days, was still delivered to their doorstep in heavy glass bottles with little pop-out cardboard caps.

While the adults were catching up on the latest news and gossip, I’d usually excuse myself and go explore.  Sometimes I’d sneak down the squeaky wooden stairs and into the dark, cave-like basement, full of its electronics equipment and power tools.  Grandad, in addition to being an amateur radio operator, was well-regarded as an electronics “whiz”.  He took pride in being able to repair just about anything that had wires, transistors, or glass vacuum tubes in it—and every nook and cranny in the basement reflected it.  Every square inch, including the overhead rafters, was crammed full of saved parts and pieces from disassembled appliances or communications equipment.  Even though his work kept him away from home for long periods of time, his well-organized workbench always smelled pleasantly of melted solder, shoe polish, and his lingering aftershave.  Sometimes I’d just sit on the tall stool at his workbench and spin round and round, dizzily watching the basement rush by in a blur.

Since both my grandparents had experienced the difficult and “lean” times of the Great Depression and World War II, neither one threw much of anything away.  They saved just about everything, for they had learned that to throw something away was only to have need of it later.  And if the basement of the house was a collection of goods for posterity’s sake, the remainder of the house was much the same.  It was replete with dusty stacks of papers, books, magazines, and every manner of box and container.  Most of the rooms were stacked, floor to ceiling, with such treasures—all of them just waiting to be rediscovered by a snoopy youngster.  Closets, drawers, and creaky-hinged trunks were adventures in the making and, thanks to a rather active imagination, I had a grand time exploring undersea caves, jungles, and centuries-buried tombs.

But in addition to all my imagined adventures, there was another, even more important thing that I’ll never forget about Grandma’s house.  It was a truly special place that was filled with love. I always knew that, no matter what I had done or what might have happened since my last visit, at Grandma’s I was always forgiven and loved—completely and unconditionally.  I always knew that I was free to be, fully and unabashedly, me.

Now, many decades later, I know that in life—just like at Grandma’s house, we are always forgiven and loved by Our Creator.  And there’s no need to go anywhere or search afar to find our Home or connection with this Source either.  One only needs to look about with a sense of awareness, spiritual connection, and gratitude to realize that “Heaven” isn’t somewhere else.  It’s already here.  We simply need to open our minds and hearts to discover that it’s hidden deep within ourselves—right where it’s always been!

With Very Much Love,

stargazericon

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Remembering Infinity: Going Up!


Wishing you the most brilliant and wonderful Holiday Season and New Year…ever!

Warmest intentions for the most brilliant and wonderful Holiday Season and New Year…ever!

Remember that feeling of excitement and exhilaration when you took some of your first elevator rides? Perhaps it was a little scary—or maybe it was more fun than frightening. Either way, I’m pretty sure your stomach flip-flopped and you felt a bit dizzy with the sudden lurching and swift movement. I know I always did!

When I was about five or six years old, I remember the anticipation of climbing aboard the elevator at one of the larger metropolitan department stores. It was Christmastime and we were headed for the top floor, where the toy department and the Winter Carnival awaited. Complete with its rides, decorations, and fake snow—it was also the temporary home of a child’s best friend at Christmas, Santa Claus!

It was chilly outside and we were bundled against the elements in woolen stocking caps, scarves, mittens, and heavy coats. To this day, I still remember my apprehension at getting on the elevator. Holding my parents’ and cousins’ hands so I wouldn’t get lost among the cheerful mobs of Holiday shoppers, we stepped over the threshold and into the crowded car. It felt cramped, close, and much too warm.

As the elevator doors clanked firmly shut behind us, I felt completely wedged in among the much taller adults, ladies’ purses, and paper shopping bags, bulging with their brightly wrapped gifts. I glanced up at my parents for reassurance and, when they looked down with a grin, I knew everything would be alright. I don’t know if they sensed my nervousness or not, but they asked me what gifts I’d ask Santa to bring—just so I wouldn’t forget when the time came to ask him (or so they said at the time). That helped me take my mind off the swaying and rattling we experienced on the way up and, as I realized many years later, it also gave them an idea of what to purchase for my gifts that year.  Parents can sure be “sneaky” around the Holidays!

After what seemed to be a small eternity, we arrived at rooftop level. There was one last woozy, slightly weightless feeling as the elevator slowed and lurched to a stop. I waited impatiently for the doors to open, feeling somewhat like an Olympic runner at the starting blocks. Finally the doors rattled open to a brilliant world of colored lights, cheerful Holiday tunes, and the aromas of buttered popcorn, cinnamon, and hot chocolate. Cool, crisp air rushed in to replace the stale, dankness and we all surged forward, spilling out into the glitzy, sparkling, and fabulously artificial Winter Wonderland.

My cousins and I, suddenly set free, raced toward the carnival, screaming with joy—for there were real ponies, as well as whirling carousel animals, motorcycles, and even fire trucks to ride! There were games to play, prizes to win, and candy canes galore. Then there were the endless shelves full of toys—with big, shiny metal Tonka trucks, slot cars, model airplanes, G.I. Joes, Matchbox cars, and colorfully illustrated books of all kinds. Not only that, Santa Claus and his elves were there somewhere—and we had to find them. “Last one there’s a rotten egg!” My cousins and I shouted in unison as we blissfully scattered like snowflakes in the wind.

As I fondly recall that and similar Christmas adventures from long past, I can’t help but feel that we’re all experiencing something similar now—spiritually speaking, that is. Our world is changing and we’ve all stepped into a crowded elevator. Some are still distracted by their lists and shopping, not realizing the importance of this time or caring a whit which direction we go. Others, as little children, are awakened to the moment—bright-eyed, joyful, and filled with eager anticipation.

Which way will the elevator move? Will it be going up—to a new world of joyful excitement? Or will it be plunging back down—to the dark, enclosed basement garage where scary things lurk among the many shadows? We all have the choice, you know, and the way you live will determine your destination.

Me? I’ve already pushed the button for my ride. There may still be a stop or two along the way as more people join us, but this is a definitely a one-way trip—and I can’t wait ‘til we get there! So in the meantime, no matter what your own customs or traditions may be, please accept my warmest intentions for the most brilliant and wonderful Holiday Season and New Year…ever!

Going up!

stargazericon

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Remembering Infinity: Living With Loss


Our “Bubbies” It’s important for all who grieve to know that the deep ache we feel with each loss will eventually be healed.

Our “Bubbies”
It’s important for all who grieve to know that the deep ache we feel with each loss will eventually be healed.

One of the most difficult things we deal with as human beings is the loss of a loved one—be it a close friend, a member of the family, or a beloved pet. My family and I recently dealt with the death of one of our own canine family members, Ramsay (whom we affectionately came to know as “Bubbies”).

Bubbies was an Alaskan Malamute and a gentle giant. When we adopted him through an animal rescue organization six years ago, he had actually been scheduled for euthanasia and had less than 24 hours to live. My family and I drove for well over an hour just to meet him and it was love at first sight. I knew we were destined to adopt him when my wife looked up over his waving plume of a tail and whispered, “We just have to have him!” So we happily adopted him—and one of his kennel mates too, right on the spot.

From that day on, we were blessed to have him in our family. He was calm, well-behaved, and somehow seemed to have a seasoned “old” soul aura about him. When he suddenly developed a limp in a hind leg this spring, I took him to the veterinarian, thinking that he merely had something in his paw. Instead, he was diagnosed with an advanced state of bone cancer. We were utterly devastated by the news. Although he spent his last several months bravely navigating on his three good legs, he never lost his enthusiasm for life, his love of us—or his great fondness for stalking and chasing squirrels in the yard.

Shortly after we made the agonizing decision to spare Bubbies from further pain and suffering, my son and I sat quietly with him by our backyard pond. It was one of our favorite places to sit and that afternoon seemed strangely still—even the squirrels were respectfully absent. A visiting veterinarian carefully administered one injection that would let Bubbies fall asleep, then, once he was asleep, another that allowed him to escape the bonds of this world. As my son and I sat with Bubbies, appreciating him, loving him deeply, and sharing in the transition of his soul, it was truly one of the most beautiful—yet bittersweet experiences that anyone could ever have.

Despite the relative ease of his passing and the wonderful opportunity we’d had to say goodbye (for we spoiled him rotten on his final days with us), our sense of loss and sadness was profound and lasting. Of course, it helped to share our feelings with our family, friends, and one another. The love and comfort from those moments helped fill some of the emptiness that weighed so heavily on our hearts. I’m fairly certain that the individual consciousness of animals transcends death, just as it does for humans, but the thought did little to fill the void we felt—and still feel today. I do gain some comfort by talking to Bubbies during quiet moments when I feel his presence nearby. I remember how it feels to wrap my arms around his shaggy neck ruff and feel the softness of his ears. I remember the warm, close smell of his fur—and I feel so very grateful for our shared experiences and memories. I know it may seem strange to some, but I can’t help but feel he still hears and appreciates my thoughts and words at those times.

It’s now been several months since our Bubbies has passed and we’ve since adopted another beautiful dog soul into the family. Through a number of synchronicities, I’m just as certain that she was meant to be with us as I was about Ramsay when we first met him. The possibility hasn’t escaped me that perhaps, at some level, he knew this and moved on in order to make room for her. I don’t really know—but in any case, I’m deeply grateful that she has found a home with us.

Over time, I’ve come to realize that the pain, sadness, and grief of loss are just more things to be experienced, accepted, and appreciated through our daily living of life. As difficult as they may be to endure, it’s these and many other emotions that bring a depth, a fullness—a richness to life that can’t otherwise be experienced. It’s also important for all who grieve to know that the bitter ache we feel with each loss will eventually be healed—if not through the joy of fond memories and the passage of time, then certainly through the love and care of those who share the loss with us.

While the sadness of their passing may always tug at our hearts, I find great comfort in knowing that this separation from our loved ones is only temporary—that one day we will all be reunited. I don’t wish to hasten the day, of course, for I wish to experience as much of this life as I possibly can in the meantime, but the understanding that we will one day be rejoined makes the time we spend apart so much more bearable.

So if you are grieving or suffering a loss of your own at this moment, please take heart. We have all known, in some way, the emptiness you now feel. All of us understand and share in your sense of loss. And please know that our strength, our compassion—and indeed, our love, is always yours. Just like Bubbies, you can count on it.

Respectfully,

stargazericon

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Remembering Infinity: What’s Your Recipe?


“There’s just something about soup that’s good for the soul!”

Grandma would always say, “There’s just something about soup that’s good for the soul!”

I love soups—all kinds of soups. They can be chicken, beef, clam, bean, rice, or vegetable.  It doesn’t matter to me if they’re bisques, creams, gumbos, stews, or chowders. They’re all great! And isn’t there just something wonderful about the atmosphere of a home when there’s a big pot of soup simmering away on the stove?

I have many fond memories of being at my grandmother’s house when she would suddenly be struck by what she would call the “soup bug”. It would usually be a dreary, drizzly day—and she’d suddenly announce that we’d be taking a “hike” to the store to pick up a few things. She’d put on her long, black coat, touch on some lipstick, pat her silver-blonde hair into place and we’d be off. Back then a trip for some groceries was no easy task, for Grandma didn’t drive—and the nearest supermarket was at least a half hour’s walk each way.

Once we arrived, she’d pick out a few things from the shelves, count out the necessary bills and change from her rose-pink coin purse at the register, and we’d make our way back home. When we returned, I’d help her unpack her voluminous satchel—a large see-through plastic affair with giant flowers printed on the side. If she was making bean soup, she’d have white navy beans, onions, and bacon. If it was chicken and dumplings, there’d be chicken, biscuit mix, and peas. And there were always potatoes, cheese, and milk for her mouth-watering, creamy potato soup. Mmm, mmmmmm! It still makes me hungry just thinking about it.

As she’d start getting ready to cook, Grandma would always laugh and say, “There’s just something about soup that’s good for the soul!” I suppose I should mention that this was many years before the series of popular books was written under a similar title. At the time, I was too young to do much except get in her way, so I’d usually just sit at the kitchen table, swinging my legs beneath the chair and munching on saltine crackers while she worked. Grandma would put on her apron and hum, or sometimes even sing quietly to herself as she bustled about the kitchen.

It wasn’t long before the ingredients would start to simmer—and their appetizing aromas would begin to waft through the room. On her breaks between stirrings, tastings, and seasonings, Grandma and I would play games of “Old Maid” with our favorite card set. For those few who might remember them, they were small, pocket-sized cards with pairs of humorous characters printed on them (pictured in the photo above). The “Old Maid” was a rather wild and wacky looking spinster—and any time either one of us would pull her card from the others’ hand, we’d burst into helpless fits of laughter. It would be especially funny when one or the other of us would strategically place the card where the other might pick it—and the plan actually worked!

Finally, when the soup was done, I’d sit at the table with an old tea towel in place as a makeshift bib, breathing in the wonderful aromas and waiting impatiently.  Grandma would bring me a warm bowl full and I’d savor every spoonful–always using a big spoon and some crumbled crackers to make sure I soaked up every last drop. I now realize that Grandma was right. Homemade soup doesn’t just warm your body, it warms your entire being, through and through—because it’s been made with love.

So what does this story—or soup, have to do with spirituality? As I’ve thought about organized religion and how its various forms relate to spirituality, I’ve come to see them as being a bit like the brands of prepared soup one might buy at the store. They’re packaged nicely, they offer some general nutritional value, and I can appreciate their flavor—but they’re not quite the same as a soup that’s been made from scratch in somebody’s home kitchen.

True spirituality, being that deeply personal connection one makes with his or her own Creator, is a lot more like Grandma’s homemade soup. It’s inherently simple, fresh, and savory—so it doesn’t need artificial additives, flavor enhancers, or preservatives. Oh—and there’s one more very important thing. Like all of Grandma’s soups, true spirituality is best—because it’s always made with love!

Respectfully,

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