11.02.2011

The Dead an' Us'uns






November 2 is set aside as All Soul's Day.

Yesterday, November 1 wuz All Saints Day, an fer Mexicans
Dia de Los Muertos. (check out Boxer's cool post an' Moi's homage to Dia de los Muertos.)


Fall is the perfect, intuitive season to recall our dead family and friends. Nature is physically slowing down, going dormant....an' we speak of the Autumn of Life for ourselves--a time to reflect on all that we's experienced during our sojourn on this lovely orb.



Seems healthy to me to address issues of death an loss squarely. I'se still grievin' fer Granny Cracker--an each of ya' have losses that still are tender, too. Yet, these days--days of saints an' souls--are offered as times of happy recollections, even gratitude fer all the interestin' souls that preceded us.

In his classic book,
Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature, William James defined saints:

" The saints, with their extravagance of human tenderness, are the great torchbearers of this belief [the sacredness of every individual], the tip of the wedge, the clearers of the darkness. Like the single drops which sparkle in the sun they are flung far ahead of the advancing edge of a wave-crest or of a flood, they show the way and are forerunners. The world is not yet with them, so they often seem in the midst of the world’s affairs to be preposterous. Yet they are impregnators of the world, vivifiers and animators of potentialities of goodness which but for them would lie forever dormant. It is not possible to be quite as mean as we naturally are, when they have passed before us. One fire kindles another; and without that overtrust in human worth which they show, the rest of us would lie in spiritual stagnancy. "


Sometimes "extravagant human tenderness" an "clearers of darkness" feels like Mission Impossible. But mebbe if I am extravagant in tenderness to jes' one person, clear some dark fer one other soul....it's a start. A little sparkle sprinkled heah an' theah cain't hurt, can it?
*

11 comments:

Aunty Belle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DEATH'S GHOST said...

I HAVE COME FOR MANY PEOPLE NAMED WILLIAM JAMES THROUGH TIME, SO I'M NOT SURE WHICH ONE YOU CITE. THE AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGY PIONEER?

REGARDLESS, HIS WORDS ARE BRILLIANT AND YOUR COMMENTARY UPON THEM EQUALLY WISE. AND GOOD.

moi said...

"One fire kindles another; and without that overtrust in human worth which they show, the rest of us would lie in spiritual stagnancy." Exactly.

Also, why is Death shouting? This is a day of inside voices . . .

Aunty Belle said...

Death's Ghost,

yes, the very same William James, brother of Henry James.

Thanky, DG.

Moi,

is ya up fer air? A day of inside voices--uh huh...feelin' a li'l quiet meself.

Boxer said...

A little sparkle here and there never hurt anyone, I so agree. I'm glad your Momma sparkled, Aunty and I hope there is only joy in your life today.

Lovely post. xoxoxo

Boxer said...

p.s. I agree with Moi Death's Ghost is very, very loud today. shhhhhhh!

pamokc said...

I'm undecided about this holiday. Isn't how we live our lives a testament to our loved ones who have passed on? That's how I feel about it. Not sure about the shrines, etc. I understand the idea, but isn't this what Memorial Day is for also?

Anonymous said...

Thanky !oxer-babe! Granny were a stitch
Thas' certain.

PamOKC,

Thinkin' on your hesitation...an' a lean
Yore direction, mayhap, though I does have
A table whar' a photo of Granny and a few of her
Thangs is laid out...jes' never considered
It a "shrine". I mahself doan go fer the skulls
And skeleton stuff--but I git why
The Mexicans do it--tryin' to stare death down.

But all in, all out, your take is
Best--live your life well cause that is
Good testament to them that went afore
Ya'

Aunty, unsigned in.

Boxer said...

To Pam - this is how I think of it; they are many shrines and altars in our lives; a mantle, the top of a dresser, a bulletin board. I was hestitant also, mainly because I though it wasn't my place to take from a different culture. In the end, it brings comfort and when my husband (very NOT into this type of thing) asked that I add a picture of his Mother, I knew it was a good thing. For us. But I understand where you're coming from.

foam said...

I know you're still grieving for Granny Cracker. It'll take a while .. nothing that can be rushed.
I never specifically thought that I was creating a day of the dead window when I decorated my haloween window with skeletons, skulls et all. I like that stuff. But I have had Hispanic mothers linger in front of the window and point out the skeletons and skulls when they've brought their little tricksters over for a treat. This year, it brought me great comfort to add photos of my aunt, uncle, mother and brother. It just felt good to do so.

Roxie said...

Thank you for these comforting thoughts. Time, like water,smooths all the rough edges.