Friday in the Fourth Week of Lent

I noticed that on the website one of the mosy popular posts was one Walter posted in 2006. Realizing there are people who browse the site for posts from the past, I thought I would post, one I recently found that I wrote back in 2003, before the website, when these meditations were merely an e-mail to a few friends during Lent:

Anne Lamont
in her book Traveling Mercies – Some
Thoughts on Faith
talks about holding the ashes of two people she loved in
her hands – her father and her best friend:

…this time I
was able to see, because it was daytime and I was sober, the deeply
contradictory nature of ashes — that they are both heavy and light. They’re
impossible to let go of entirely. they stick to things, to your fingers, your
sweater. I licked my friend’s ashes off my hand, to taste her,  to taste
what was left after all that was left after all that was left was clean and
alive…. We tried to strew them off the side of the boat romantically, with
seals barking from the rocks on shore, under a true-blue sky, but they would
not cooperate. they rarely will. It’s frustrating if you are hoping to have a
happy ending, or at least a little closure, a movie moment when you toss them
into the air and they flutter and disperse. They don’t. They cling. they haunt.
they get in your hair, in your eyes, in your clothes. “

The word “closure” is popular these days. whether
it be about the ending of a friendship, a romantic relationship or death. I
tend to think that like Anne’s ashes every close relationship leaves something
we can never dust off, nor should we want to lose. It’s what makes us alive and

Travelers notes: I am in Atlanta today. One of the many gifts given to me as a child is my Mother’s family. My grandfather Erwin insisted that his three daughters, far into their marriages, always come home for Christmas. So at least during Christmas, my Aunts, my Uncles, and my cousins would arrive at my grandparent’s home in Memphis. This assembly was not easy on anyone, traveling during Christmas holidays was not easier those days, and yet the benefit outweighed any inconvenience. I grew up knowing my mother’s family and they were mine. Her sisters became my second mothers, my uncles my second fathers, and my cousins were brothers and sisters seperated by mileage, but little else. Although seperated by seperate lives today we all stay in touch, suffer when one suffers, and provide support when one needs it. We are certainly not idealic, hardly, but we are family. It is a gift I hope I can convey to my children, not through words but by their observation. Last night’s visit with my Aunt and then dinner with cousins and enjoying their wonderful hospitality reminded me that “family” has a very special meaning. W.

About the author

Webb Hubbell is the former Associate Attorney General of The United States. His novels, When Men Betray, Ginger Snaps, A Game of Inches, The Eighteenth Green, and The East End are published by Beaufort Books and are available online or at your local bookstore. When Men Betray won one of the IndieFab awards for best novel in 2014. Ginger Snaps and The Eighteenth Green won the IPPY Awards Gold Medal for best suspense/thriller. His latest, “Light of Day” will be on the bookstands soon.

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