After my sister visited from her home halfway around the world, my mother kept a broken twisted hair comb held together with a thin gold thread that must have fallen on the floor, on her windowsill. Whenever I saw it, I wondered why it was still there. Over time, I realized it helped her remember that my sister had been there, in her space, her kitchen, in her living room. The relic kept my sister closer in her heart.
When I take the time to notice what is on my windowsill, there is my own array of things. To the left is a wooden egg shaped sculpture with a handle. A simple, smooth form, my mother used it when a hole needed mending in the argyle socks she made for my father. Next to it is an oval stone carved with eyes and the Third Eye brought from Nepal by my son when he traveled there decades ago. Hidden from view and nestled in a decorative pottery dish is a tiny china bird, broken from something and found on the sidewalk some years ago. I reach in and touch it in the morning as I quietly call upon the Spirit to be with me that day and with those I love. On the right is a sweet china little boy and girl holding a rabbit. My granddaughter gave it to me when she bought it at a church fair one Christmas. She noticed it recently and remembered that when she was nine, she had thought I would like it.
Just as my sister’s comb on my mother’s windowsill, my altar at my kitchen sink, holds these sacramentals. Each of them has meaning far beyond what they look like. Each has a spirit, a memory, touchstones.