Holy

Rebecca’s bath tray is beautiful – a deep dark-stained wood covered with mysteries. There is a large bottle of oil with a stopper. A small hand-blown vial with a twisted lid in the colors of fire. A squat round jar with a lid of woven silver holds pale blue salts. A candle burns in the middle, the same soft shade of buttery yellow as the lotion bar molded into the shape of the smiling moon.

“I like your bath tray.” I say, as she carries it through the warm afternoon light of the dining room.

“I don’t take a bath,” says Rebecca, “I have a ritual.”

I love rituals. They mark holy time, holy space. I have so many of them people tease that is see everything as holy. It’s starting to seem that way. Or maybe it always has been this way and I’m only now coming to see it as so.

In Holy the Firm Annie Dillard writes about buying wine for communion. It’s one of my favorite pieces of prose and I refer to it often. In is she says, “Are there holy grapes, is there holy ground, is there anything here holy?” Her answer, as is mine, is everything and nothing. Nothing and everything.

She goes on, “There are no holy grapes, there is no holy ground, nor is there anyone but us.” But then, she sways, changes course, sees another piece of reality: “ I have an empty knapsack over my parka’s shoulders…Here is a bottle of wine with a label, Christ with a cork. I bear holiness splintered into a vessel, very God of very God, the sempiternal silence personal and brooding, bright on the back of my ribs.”

There is, if we look hard enough, holiness in nearly everything: in the striking of a match and the lighting of a birthday candle; in the licking of a stamp to be affixed to love letter; in the real, raw emotion of a thrown and broken plate; in the knock on the door by an Amish woman expressing condolences to woman widowed by her husband’s own violence.

What are your everyday rituals? When you smooth the sheet down on your bed, what is holy? When you grind the beans for your coffee, what is holy? When you turn on the computer, adjust your chair, tap the keys, what is holy? Where does your life echo, “holy”? To what do you give this name – “Holy”?

“Are there holy grapes, is there holy ground? Is anything here holy?”

5 Responses to “Holy”

  1. Deborah Says:

    I experience everything as holy which for me means intensely heartful on a feeling level, if I am willing to be really present. My favorite ritual is to make the bed and turn on my little space heater, sit on the floor with Sophie(my dog) and read meditate and feel the warmth.

  2. Rachelle Says:

    sounds wonderful!

  3. jen lemen Says:

    everyday when i make the little walk from my house to my neighbors, i feel i am treading holy ground, these little pilgrimages everyday, to love and be loved by people who were once strangers.

  4. Ray Says:

    Hi Rachelle,

    This post inspired me to do a little reflectiing on this topic. I wrote about it in my own blog if you care to read. Thanks for the inspiration along the way that I pick up from reading your thoughts.

    Ray

  5. Susan Young Says:

    my morning oatmeal and cold coffee. hmmm. can’t wait until morning. breakfast with Berto instead of him eating with Elmo.