This is my spot in the house. It's not just a spot with pictures. It's not just a spot that looks beautiful. This is more than that.
This is a shelf on one of my overloaded bookcases, set aside just for me.
Each piece specifically thought about and placed in it's spot.
The picture of Madonna of the Goldfinch painted by Giovanni Batista Tiepolo was beloved by my mother and I use it to remember what sort of Mama I want to be for my children.
The cross is from my husband's now deceased grandmother. It's nothing special. It's plastic. But I use it to remember her.
The ikon to the left is a gift from the parents of my old bosses, from Greece. They bought it in their travels to gift to me. It is a Greek ikon version of the Black Madonna of Czestachowa. As they handed it to me, they held my hands and said "Remember, you are Polish. You are Catholic. Never forget these two things. I hope this brings you much blessings in life."
The red rosary draped on the Greek ikon was purchased by me in my wanderings throughout Paris when I was a teenager. It was bought after entering one of what felt like hundreds of churches during that trip to France and Poland. I had a sense of connection to those churches I never felt so much in most churches in the US. I could feel the blood, sweat and tears those European churches were built with, the unwavering faith, the hopes for a better afterlife, the centuries of feet wearing down the stones and bricks by the faithful, echos of whispers across the years. I bought that rosary to remind myself of that connection.
The palms peeking from the back of the Greek ikon came from Holy Cross PNCC, my church in Baltimore. My husband weaved them into the designs they are in now. I also look at it to remind myself that he is also Catholic.
The Rainbow Study Bible was handed to me by Father Bieganowski when we left Maryland to come to Illinois. The Holy Sacrament of the Mass was always used by me to follow along.
The white rosary was another purchase I made in Poland while visiting another church. I remember the smells, the brick, the wrought iron, the towering ceiling, the overwhelming sensation of belonging and of timelessness.
The small ikon in front was a gift from Father Bieganowski when he returned from his trip to Wroclaw, where both our families were from. I think of him and his wonderful family often.
The statue of a man holding a child is one I know nothing about except that it came from my husband's family. It's beautiful. I hope it reminds him of his family's faith.
The black rosary, draped over a framed document, I purchased at a nunnery in Poland. I remember the smiling nuns looking at me with curiosity as I purchased it. I had short dyed red hair, black clothing and makeup on. I'm sure I didn't look very Catholic. But appearances can be deceiving.
The framed document acknowledged my husband's deceased grandmother and grandfather's membership into the Archconfraternity of Our Lady of Perpetual Help and Saint Alphonsus.
The ikon in front, as far as I know, nobody in my husband's family knows the meaning behind it or where it came from besides from his grandparents. I look at it to remind myself that we will one day all be forgotten and that all that is remembered is what we did before we left. Whether we were kind and therefore raised kind children who kept that gift in our world or whether we were selfish and therefore raised selfish children who did nothing for the benefit of the world.
And the most precious of all, the ikon in gold. A miniature of the Black Madonna. My Babcia brought it for us when she visited us in the late 1980's in the US. It was the first time I ever met my Babcia. This ikon always held a special place in my house growing up and was eventually passed down to me. One day, I want to make a pilgrimage to Jasna Gora.
This ikon and my Bible are what this spot are based on and built around. It is my sanctuary. It is in our living room, immediately to my left when at the computer so that I write or cook or play with my children, I can look over and find something to look at and rediscover my strength and inspiration.
Do you have a spot like this in your house? Do you use it to find your strength and inspiration?