Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Statue and the Importance of Symbols.

Not the statue from the ship
I just sort of liked this story:

Jan 21 (Reuters) - She was found inside the ship's chapel, submerged up to her shoulders, but in one piece. Fire department divers wrapped her in a white towel, and used a nylon belt to hold it in place so she would not be damaged as they pulled her out.
On Saturday, the plaster statue of the Madonna from the doomed Costa Concordia cruise liner stood in a white tent on the port of Giglio, still wrapped in the same towel.
Found early on Friday morning, it was only shown to reporters on Saturday. Orange and black equipment bags were piled next to it, and helmets and diving gear hung behind.
The man in charge of the team which rescued the statue said he had taken the time to recover the relic when there were still 21 people missing because "it seemed like the right thing to do."

Read more here.

The divers also rescued the Tabernacle, the Hosts and the Crucifix.

I realize that there are still bodies to be found and probably other objects to be located, but as the leader of the team who rescued the statue said, "Symbols are important."

Yes, symbols are important. As I look around my kitchen, where I write this, curled up before the pellet stove, I seem a variety of symbols of my life: an icon from Turkey, a plate from Egypt, an African violet that finally bloomed, cup of half-drunk coffee, a broken arrow.  From these things, someone could glean a certain understanding of what must be important in my life since these are the things that I choose to keep in my daily view.

The problem is, of course, when the symbols begin to blend so much into the background of life that they cease to have any impact on our lives.  So what do these symbols that I see mean to me?

Not my icon, but close enough
The Turkish icon is a reminder, not just of the Madonna and child, but of the power of the feminine, the Divinity that each one of us carries within. It is also a sign of the power of art to transcend centuries and a call to me to honor the gifts that I have, gifts that I may have denied or buried.

Not my plate, but almost identical
The plate from Egypt is a recollection of past bravery and call to say "yes" to future adventure; a spiritual ship that says, "You have sailed into the unknown before.  You can do it again, no matter how you are feeling right now.  Just trust and hoist anchor."

Not my violet.  Mine only has one blossom.
The African violet says to me, "All things have a season.  There will be happiness in your life again. Just keep your soul watered and your face toward the sunlight."

Obviously not my arrow, but I needed a picture.  I could not find one of a broken arrow, however.
The broken arrow is a symbol of conquering fear, of facing terror and breaking through it to accomplishment. Its red feathers and silver tip say, "Remember.  Remember.  Remember."  This year I had almost forgotten the arrow, since it hangs above the door, in a place where I have to look up to see.  But even I didn't remember it, it was still there, a silent signal that once upon a time I had the courage to do what I didn't think I could do. 

Um, what do you think?
As for the half-cup of coffee, I think it's just a reminder that deep down, I'm a really lousy housekeeper.

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