October 2018

The cosmos are in bloom in our gardens. Perversely, from an unlabeled six-pack, all the whites ended up in the front yard, and the pinks in back. Cosmos remind me of the seashore – they thrive in stony, nutrient-poor soil. Visit Cape Cod in late summer and you’ll find them in front gardens along village streets and by the roadways. They are a cheerful, untidy plant.

Cosmos also remind me of my maternal grandparents. Seeing them would prompt my grandfather Carl to tell the story of how he met my grandmother. The year was 1913. He was fourteen, with a summer job as a bellhop at an inn in Rye Beach, New Hampshire. My grandmother was five years older, a scholarship student at Wellesley College. She had a job waiting tables at the same inn.

“A group of new waitresses arrived from the train station. I picked her out right away, and grabbed her suitcase to carry it to the women’s dorm. When I left I said, ‘See you at the beach.’ She thought I was a fresh thing, and way too young, but I worked at getting to know her anyway. Impertinent. Cosmos always remind me of Rye Beach, and of that summer.”

I was lucky – I had childhood and young adult relationships with all four of my grandparents. I heard lots of their stories. Both of our boys knew and remember my grandfather Carl, who was 98 when he died.

Naomi Rachel Remen writes:

“Hidden in all stories is the One story. The more we listen, the clearer that Story becomes. Our true identity, who we are, why we are here, what sustains us, is in this story. The stories at every kitchen table are about the same things, stories of owning, having and losing, stories of sex, of power, of pain, of wounding, of courage, hope and healing, of loneliness and the end of loneliness. “

Stories of flowers by the seashore, stories of falling in love.

Our theme for October is stories. What are the stories that have formed you? And what, for you, might be the one story hidden within? I am honored to know and hold many of your stories. And blessed to be your minister.Janets signature