My mom, sister, niece and I are on the last leg of a whirlwind trip through Oregon visiting the four daughters of my mom's brother. It's been a fantastic time of re-connecting with cousins we haven't seen for ages and enjoying the beauty of the great state of Oregon. We have laughed our way around the state as my mom has regaled us with stories from her childhood. We found houses she used to live in (Bend and Portland) Bible camps she used to attend and lakes her family used to camp at.
On Saturday afternoon we were in Eugene for a BBQ with 2 of our cousins and their families. The next morning, over breakfast, Paul (husband of one cousin) asked my mom to tell her all the places that she's lived in her life. She rattled them off without any hesitation, then he disappeared into his office.
A short while later he returned and handed my mom a poem that he had just written. He graciously gave me permission to share it here. I think it captures perfectly the joy we have had on this trip.
AN APPEARANCE OF GRACE
June came in a sunny silence to Oregon, and skies
long gray, whispered blue music into a warm and wordless air.
We gathered to pray, a family met from around the world —
from St. Paul; and Washington; from False Pass, Alaska; and Beijing–
and the moment, and the miracle of Love and Providence
witnessed in the twenty-eight hands reaching toward one another
eclipsed whatever words could be said. The prayer was a circle.
I looked toward Aunt Grace, matriarch of the circle, and traced
the lines of her journey, from Minnesota to Oregon;
from Bend to Portland; San Francisco to Pasadena;
Hartford to Karachi; Denver, and Monett, Misourri;
and home again, to her beloved St. Paul. We listened
as she spoke the memories of her life — friends, family, the loves
that filled her sweet remembrence; and the names were melodies:
her beloved Sam; and siblings Paul, and Faith, and Marilyn,
and as she spoke, and laughed and smiled, time simply dissolved
into camping trips to Suttle Lake and long trips to Newport,
the sleeping treasures of a life. This is what June brought —
a bouquet of backyard flowers,
a sweet Grace.
Paul Halupa, Hayden Bridge, Oregon / 2011 June
Thanks Paul, for capturing the joy of the journey.