When my partner and I packed for an eight-month trip, we laid out everything we thought we would need for four seasons, formal occasions, casual outings, long walks, and just plain hanging out.
My share would not fit in the luggage I’d chosen: one large suitcase, one small (the size we called “carry-on” until terrorist threats made them “check-in”), and my ubiquitous, well-used leather pack.
Then the sorting began. I winnowed the contents of the large suitcase down to what I figured I could stand to see myself in for the next eight months. Into the leather pack went the absolute essentials: laptop, camera, and writing notebooks. The small suitcase held books, pens, essential papers, toiletries, and the gifts we were taking.
There was no room for the Goddess of Grace.
Only problem was, I needed her. She was the gift of two of my dearest friends, Theresa Healy and Wendy Young. They had specially commissioned her for me at a time when I had no courage left and had to borrow theirs.
She was my talisman. Just touching her filled me with Tess’s and Wendy’s love for me. She reminded me there were people who believed in me even when I didn’t.
Since this journey was a time of testing the waters of another continent to see if I could see myself eventually calling it “home”, I needed some extra courage. Grace had to come with me.
When I bent to squeeze her into the small suitcase, I swear all the other bits and pieces already there moved aside to welcome her.
For the next eight months, she traveled with me everywhere. She crossed the Pacific twice. She wandered around New Zealand and three Australian states. She was there when I met my partner’s relatives. She comforted me during bouts of intense homesickness.
We’re back home now. Grace lives in a special spot beside my bed. I often touch her when I need a boost. She knows all my secrets, and she never tells.
What talisman do you carry? Who loans you courage when your own is failing? What helps you back on your feet when you stumble?
Story of the Goddess of Grace
Clarie Johnson listened closely when Theresa and Wendy told her about me. The doll she created and the story she wrote to accompany it are perfect. Here’s the story:
Storytelling spins a world of myths, of history/herstory, of imagination…it explains life! The deeply felt experiences of life are passed along as a tale. She embraces her listeners with her magical words and voice, taking them on a journey from the everyday to other worlds of beauty and wonder.
Like the sunflower seeking the sun: “Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you.” (Maori Proverb)
The swan symbolizes self-transformation, intuition and the sensitivity within each person. This swan represents the spirit in which you approach people and life events. With gracefulness and sensitivity you bestow freely, divine loive, kindness and wisdom.
The hand symbolizes the quest to understand and learn from the universe. In these hands is the heart of legacy—connecting the generations.
“As we live each day may we do our part to make one difference, to touch one heart, and through each day, may it be our goal to encourage one mind and inspire one soul.” Anonymous
Cathryn Wellner, 2010