We create altars through how we live in this world. We are a living, breathing, loving altar, including all of our scars, broken pieces and missing parts. An altar is composed as much by what is not there, as what is.
All create the whole.
Last week, I wrote of my love of altars and invited readers to share photos of your altars and what they mean to you. Since then, life has been a swirl of Spring Break for kids, Noé and me, the arrival of Mom and Dad from South Dakota and Wyatt from university in Colorado.
Throughout all, I thought of history. I thought of each of our humanity. I thought of all of the years this experience felt impossible to me, for the mosaic of life. The Japanese art form of kintsukuroi mends together pottery that has been broken with gold. This art of repairing pottery understands that pieces become more beautiful for having been broken. I cannot think of a person or family that has not been through a time where the pottery of their life was shattered. In our family, we have certainly experienced this in our own lives. This idea of repairing the pot with seams of gold, of seeing the breakages of life as enhancing the beauty of the whole deepens my understandings of life—my own and others.
Our own Birthday March Madness has begun, with four birthdays (Luke, Mom, Wyatt, and me) falling within two weeks. This past week, time has unfolded not in the structured rhythms of school, work, and sporting events that normally defines our days, but in a jumbled mass of people, love, comings-and-goings, and load of cooking and baking.
Luke kicked off our Birthday March Madness on the 10th with a request for homemade peach pie. A dear friend responded to the photo of Luke and I with, “You sure make good babies and good pies!” If I were to be remembered for anything, these are two at the top.
Mom arrived and off we went to yet another sporting event, this one for Luke playing basketball. We all donned our St. Michael’s High School spirit t-shirts. Wynn made a special one for Grammie.
Dad rolled in a few days later. Our house filled with story, laughter, early mornings of talking over coffee and candlelight, and horsebites on the legs that kept the kids ever- vigilant! The past number of years have overflowed with work for me. I haven’t been able to spend nearly the time on the ranch that I would love. I’ve so missed time with my dad. Treasured each moment.
Mom/Grammie celebrated her birthday amidst all. The world became an infinitely more beautiful place on the day Mom was born, March 20th.
“Wynn sure does love her mommy,” Mom said to me a number of times throughout the week. For anybody who knows Wynn, a woman of few words and a reserved presence, this meant the world to me. “I learned how to be a mom from the best,” I said to Mom. And, I did. We took the first photo ever (I think) of Wynn, Mom, and me – three generations of Wink Women.
We were all home together for Friday Night, Family Night for the first time ever. We sat around the table, eating apple pie, talking, laughing, telling stories, and I realized that altars are not just objects on shelves—we create altars through the way we walk through this world.
Families in all of our compositions are living, breathing, loving altars, including all of our scars, broken pieces and missing parts. An altar is composed as much by the open space of what is not there, as much as by what is present. All create the whole. No altar is perfect, just as no family is perfect. The altars on my windowsills and shelves are jumbled, imperfect, and need tending—just like the people within the living altar of my life. It is in all of their beautiful, messy, exquisite, unique essence—and all of our jumbled imperfection—that I treasure each beyond reason.
Just as the seams of gold highlight where pots have been broken and survived, so we create beauty in the journeys of our life.
Dawn, maker of good babies and good pies
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