Just 2 weeks ago I was in Chicago on a business trip. I've been traveling A LOT this year and I have 2 more trips to go before we hit the New Year. Surprisingly I'm not as "travel exhausted" as I should be. I kind of like the change of scenery in different parts of the world. I even enjoyed Chicago for the first time in...forever, actually. (Most of you know that I was born in Chicago but always had a disdain for the place, mostly due to my childhood...but now I don't feel that way anymore.)
While in Chicago I visited this place that my parents frequented a lot when I was growing up called The Temple of Kriya Yoga. This is the religion I was brought up with which is kind of Buddhist, kind of Hinduism-ish...along those lines. The last time I visited this temple was when my parents brought me back to Chicago for a family friend's wedding, back when I was 15 or 16.
When I showed up at the Temple, I couldn't hold the tears back because the last time I was there I was with my mom. (She passed away more than 12 years ago.) And when I sat down in the "front room" area, I immediately noticed several stained glass pieces which I knew my mom had done for the Temple...I guess it's now been 35 years since she made these pieces. And I remember her making the pieces in our cold detached garage of our humble 2-bedroom house in the suburbs, using a pot-belly stove for heat as she would cut stained glass, sometimes into the wee hours of the morning. (She was a night owl.)
I remember as a young kid "helping" my mom put copper tape around each sharp edge of each piece of glass then trying to push each piece into the lead which was very difficult to do with small weak fingers. Each piece had to be put together in kind of a mosaic puzzle before it could be soldered together. And in some far-buried crevice of my subconscious mind, I remember "helping" with the stained glass piece that I have pictured above. I can't believe this piece and the others survived all these years, leaving what I believe may be her very last and only legacy that I got to see for the first time in decades.
What a treat that was. If she only knew that this lovely art form that she dabbled in on the side just for fun would be such an amazing lasting legacy for her and her life.
This is the reason why Thanksgiving will never be the same for me. And why this is just another holiday that I bite the bullet and just make it through. In fact, right now I'm watching movies with my dog Sally while my daughter is off to visit her dad's family for the holiday. I no longer have family of my own. My mom was my family and, in many respects, my only family. She was the one who held all of us together; without her, there is no family, no holidays...no nothing for me.
But...let's talk about YOU, my dear friend and student.
Today is your day to relax, be truly grateful for the wonderful people who surround you today, and to realize that you actually have more of an amazing life than you think you do. I know it's redundant when everybody says to be grateful so I'll just say this: feel and express love to all of those around you because you just never know how much time they (or you) have left on this planet.
And See You At The Top!