Monday, October 4, 2010


We spent yesterday evening at the home of a couple my husband met recently as part of his volunteer work.  When they first extended their invitation, I had resisted going, partly because I didn't really know them but primarily because it was to be a make-your-own-sushi evening.

It may seem odd that I live on an island and practically ON the water, but am allergic to seafood... but the fact is that sometimes even the scent of seafood can make me feel queasy, so sushi didn't seem like a good option for me.  So I suggested my husband attend without me, and he duly relayed my concerns.  But our hosts promised there would be other things I could put in my sushi, and so we went.

It was an amazing evening.

The three other couples were delightful, the fish was so fresh I had no difficulties with the aroma, and no one seemed to mind that I wasn't wrapping my rice and veggies in the seaweed so thoughtfully provided, but rather eating it straight.  The conversation was fascinating, and the evening ended with a koto performance by our hostess, who had been playing the instrument since she was a child of 6 in Japan.  The koto is a beautiful instrument -- for both eyes and ears -- and after drinking in the vision of it I just closed my eyes, sat back, and let its music wash over me.

How often does this happen for you -- that the very thing you resist turns out to offer exactly what you need?  There I was, feeling so rushed and harried -- worried about taking time off to socialize when I had so many "more important" things to do -- and the koto music brought me so much peace.  It reminds me a bit of what used to happen when my children were little and would interrupt me in the midst of some "important" project.  Though it was hard to break away, I would do it, minister to them with whatever presence was required -- listening, a bandaid, a hug, an explanation -- and in the process they would have given me far more than I'd been asked to give them; a sense of peace, of groundedness, that no to-do list will ever provide.

I wondered this morning how I could possibly repay such a gift, and somehow was led to this photo: it feels to me the way I felt in that space, with those people, that food, that music.  Peace.  Groundedness. And a kind of liquid presence that washes away all that stress and leaves behind... well... grace.  I can't think of a better word for it.

Grace. Just Grace.


Unknown said...


Maureen said...

Koto. I'll have to look that up. Every so often we get invited to hear a concert in someone's home. I think it's a delightful way to spend an evening.

Grace is the right word for what you describe.

Your image draws one's attention.

Hannah Stephenson said...

What a beautiful thought. I have definitely experienced this...dreading something, dreading it, and then it is so wonderful once we let go.

Has something to do with control...