I met a woman who is an artist, teaches art within the local school system, and makes jewelry on the side. She makes an pendant called the tree of life, in many different incarnations, and for whatever reason, I am taken with this. I'm not a jewelry person, except for earrings and the occasional bracelet, but I like these pendants. I have this vague idea of creating them, in a larger-than-jewelry size, and putting them on a plaque to give to my children, a reminder that they have the same roots, that we are branches from the same tree. Perhaps use the dream catcher idea, and just put them on a ribbon to be hung at a window. Not sure. But like I said, I'm taken with the idea.
I don't know why I just feel compelled to remind them of that, but it is important to me. For Christmas, I bought a set of porcelain angels, exquisitely detailed, and broke the set so that each kid had an angel for their own tree, in hopes that each Christmas, they will hang that ornament remembering that the rest of the family has a matching ornament on their tree.
So I struck up a conversation with the artist, and it wasn't long and I was offering to host the classes at my house. So we meet here once a week, and it is fun sitting around a table and working together, making jewelry. They hit the front door callling, "Where is my kitten!" and Paddy comes running.
We are a disparate group: me, a woman I worked with long ago, a masseuse who's moved back to the area from South America, our artist friend/teacher. As we talk, we uncover connections as will happen when you live in a small town.
A new student joined us, and she does not talk much, but she's easily frustrated with the process, and nervous. I wondered about her history. Being a self conscious person, I thought perhaps she was uncomfortable being in a room full of new people who all had established a friendship. I felt sorry for her a little. She complained bitterly to the teacher after class that we all talk too much and the fact that we talked about religion offended her.
I was a little shocked. We talked about our faith because the masseuse was headed to Mexico on a mission trip to build a house for a ill man and his family, and we all thought that was a very cool way to spend the holiday. We talked about faith in action. It was a lovely talk. I couldn't imagine it being offensive to any one.
Offended. Such a strange word. The woman comes to my house in a shirt cut down to there, with her bosom pushed up to there, her breasts in danger of spilling over and out. She has "JESUS" in great big huge letters tattooed on top of her breasts. I worked hard on my jewelry, and I tried to mind my own business, but I found myself staring at that tattoo without meaning to, and I was embarrassed that she might noticed and be offended. The questions spilled over in my mind. I was dying to ask questions about that tattoo, but I didn't, because I did not want her to be offended.
But she was anyway. A simple conversation of faith and helping others offended her.
People are a strange bunch, aren't they?