In a town in California, a small Serbian community gathers together on January 7th to celebrate Nativity — by shooting guns into the air. A short video taken from a news broadcast shows a community gathered, intent on keeping something from all that was lost, determined to keep traditions alive despite being a small diaspora. You hear the gun shots and laughter, see the pride on faces of community members — this is their time.
I have always been fascinated by communities of immigrants and how they make life work for them in new places. How they take pieces of their past and beautifully weave them into their present. I love the pride with which they share these traditions, set apart in a good way, confident in their collective identity though so much else is lost.
From shooting guns into the air on Nativity to making Lebkuchen on Christmas to curry dinners the day after Christmas, we take moveable pieces from those places we love and incorporate them into our new homes.
Where would we be without those moveable pieces? So much would be lost and moments of joy remembering what was would be absent.
Moveable pieces provide a thread of continuity through change. They offer tangible proof that what we had in the past was real and meaningful. Moveable pieces offer hope that our lives and hearts do not need to forget, rather they can remember with joy even as we move forward, resolute in our efforts to make a new life and new traditions.
Moveable pieces, though not made of brick or stone, are foundations that offer stability in the midst of change.
What are your moveable pieces? What things or traditions move with you, at the ready when you need them in your new home?
Blogger’s note: I remember my mom telling me that in a life of movement, you need to pack things in your suitcase that can provide a sense of home wherever you are. I always packed a few framed pictures and candle sticks, so that the minute we arrived we would have something tangible that said “We’re here. We can do this.” Moveable pieces.
Picture Credit: http://pixabay.com/en/cologne-cathedral-foundation-105260/ word art by Marilyn R. Gardner