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A Gift from the Past

Updated: Apr 12, 2021

One of my most precious possessions is an olive-green writing desk. The veneer is worn, its single narrow drawer is difficult to open. I don't store anything in there, but sometimes I open it just to smell the dusty scent of the warped wood, the only place that still holds the scent of that old house, long since leveled. Grandma’s brush strokes in the lacquered finish take me back to the day I watched her painting it in the front room of the old farmhouse. I was around five years old. Sitting next to her on the floor, I practiced spelling my name on her writing tablet.

I feel a connection to Grandma Tressie’s spirit when I sit at the desk. For a moment, I experience her tired eyes as she carefully enters figures in the farm ledger, I experience a bit of her resolve to hand-write notes in each Christmas greeting and her satisfaction in sealing the final card, I experience her need for great care in moving the cherished piece one last time in her final trip from the farm.

It has been said that when we take in experiences of other times, as nearly as we can, we reconnect with a universal ancestral spirit. We join our presence of mind and spiritual self to the collective wisdom and experiences of the whole of humanity. I believe that is true. I feel it when I, from time to time, let my imagination enter the time and lives of those who have come before me.

What items or places connect you to the past? What feelings arise when you hold them, or enter them? I wonder, what counsel or perspective would someone from a former time offer you at this moment?

Sometimes a place or an item is not a part of your family story or legacy but is nevertheless an invitation to the past. A dear friend of mind recently described a feeling she sometimes gets when she walks into Cathedrals. She feels the presence of those who have passed through there before. It is an overwhelming feeling of being connected to the past, a spiritual experience that has even raised the hair on her arms. When it happens, she feels God in it. A universally present God who spans all generations and is in all experiences.

When the time is right, sit with an old item or take yourself to a place which holds a bit of history. Close your eyes and enjoy the effect on your inner world. Sometimes we are treated to something our soul especially needs or desires.

I would love to hear your examples, feel welcome to comment!

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