By RGC Editor, Nancy Ramos
Growing up I remember everyone’s mom had a china cabinet. Usually this type of cabinet was enclosed in glass and held the better china, crystal and tableware reserved for special occasions. In Mexican households it sometimes held the special keepsakes from a wedding or quinceñeara, those famous centerpieces everyone takes at the end of the night. These cabinets were special holding places for all things dear and where those things get preserved to stay perfect. Very seldom are these items taken out of the dark and into the light for those ever so special occasions. I look back now and think how sad that some of the finer things we owned were hardly ever enjoyed. They entered the abyss of the china cabinet and never made it out again.
I too had one of those familiar cabinets in my previous home and just like I saw as a young girl I filled it with glass and tableware that was special, expensive, one of a kind and sometimes just meaningful. All of it went in the cabinet and rarely made it out again. Everything in this cabinet of mine was in preservation mode and sadly very unused and seldom enjoyed.
Recently I moved into a new house and all my belongings packed have been in boxes. Slowly my husband and I (very slowly) have been unpacking. To my surprise I am finding things, many things that I had put away and never used. As I unpacked I thought well when am I going to use them?
I have had very small children in the home for many years now and always resorted to our “go to” plates and glassware for most meals. As I unpack my better stuff I am thinking I have been saving some of the best items for really no reason as though to try to keep them unused, to keep them perfect. I have been saving them for some future great event that has to be perfect. I have been saving crystal, fine silverware, for what? To use twice a year? I am going to die one day and maybe then will be the perfect time to use the Tiffany & Co. and Waterford, at my funeral reception.
Recently I traveled to Sedona Arizona, a red rock city and known to many new agers for its intense vortex energy. It was a trip that took over twenty years to plan with four friends that through the years have stayed in touch but have not been together in what seemed to be forever. After marriage (for one of us it was plural), many kids (17 kids between the four of us), demanding careers and heartbreaking losses (three of us lost a parent to cancer and one of us lost a sister to a tragic accident) we just could not decide on when would be the perfect time to come together. Time flew by fast, really fast and before we knew it life was past the halfway mark of the average human lifespan. We hit that midpoint and went into preservation mode just like the items in my china cabinet only coming out of the routine under extenuating circumstances.
Finally earlier this summer we realized that the perfect time was not coming and we no longer had the time to wait. We busted out of our china cabinets and flew to Phoenix from all over and drove to Sedona. It was like we had never been apart and we picked up right where we left off. This trip quickly became about reconnecting and getting back to basics in our health, our careers and our families. Remembering that success and fortune are not the keys to happiness and that life’s greatest treasures were the smaller things in life. Realizing that less really is more.
We did the vortex hikes to the major sites, each an awesome natural wonder. These sites are known for causing people to feel something inside them like an abundance of joy or happiness. Interestingly though only one of the known vortexes made me feel something and I do not think it was because of the direction the energy flows. It happened to be the only Catholic Church on the list of sites, Chapel of The Holy Cross.
This magnificent church is built into the side of a mountain and as you enter it all you feel is light. It is small with about only ten pews on each side but the altar sits on a window that overlooks the most amazing view I have ever had the privilege of witnessing. Breathtaking, tear jerking, awe-inspiring is how I can describe it and even those words do not do the experience of this church justice. I felt Jesus as the light of the world, in it, around it and all over of it. At the altar I felt my beloved mom in the sky and felt like I had been given the chance to see a glimpse of heaven. As I lit a candle for my mom all I could remember was the Lord’s words, “the first shall be last and the last shall be first”.
I sat in prayer for some time. I noticed that around the church were four silk tapestries. Each tapestry was an abstract painting representing the Mercy of God in Life, in Heaven, on Earth and lastly in Creation. I sat right next to the Mercy of God in Life. I sat there reflecting its meaning. I sat there in one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen, next to this beautiful tapestry made of silk pondering the Mercy of God and guess what I, a most fallible believer, noticed and focused on? I noticed a small safety pin in the corner of the tapestry holding it onto the rod on which it was woven around. I noticed this tiny imperfection in a place of perfection. Only me, and the perfectionist in me, would notice this small imperfection at this time and in this place. Mercy of God in Life tapestry was being held together by a safety pin. I could not believe my own laughably perfectionist thoughts. And then it hit me; the perfect was gifted to the imperfect.
God showed us the greatest act of Mercy in Life by sending His perfect son to die for the imperfect us. God expects us, his children, to also be merciful. Mercy is so important that He asks us to bind it around our necks and write upon the tablet of our hearts. In His mercy, He knows and loves the imperfect because He knows and loves us. The safety pin holding that tapestry together is me holding on to God’s perfect mercy in hopes that I can one day live up to what He asks of me.
I came home from that trip with a new sense of gratitude for God’s Mercy. I unpacked the good stuff and I placed it in the kitchen cabinets to be used. I can no longer expect the perfect time, day, occasion, reason, person or life because I too must love the imperfect. Today the only things in my china cabinet are the wine glasses and who knows…I may start serving Kool-Aid in those soon.