Before leaving Hungary we paid a visit to Zsolt’s grandmother. Her name is Anna, and she lives in a house all alone with a garden so large you could get lost amongst the apple trees, tomato bushes, strawberry plants, raspberries, grapes and climbing vines. Near the front of the garden (close to her many potted cactuses) are a few fruit trees – white peaches, yellow peaches, plums, and pears. My favourite are the peaches; they’re nearly as large as your head. (Well I exaggerate slightly, but they are huge.)
So we visited Anna, Zsolt’s grandmother, to eat some peaches and discuss the family tree. (Zsolt is hard at work on his family tree, and occasionally he and his grandmother get together and conspire over names, dates and locations.) The conversation rolled from one thing to another – all in Hungarian, so I kept myself busy eating a giant peach, peeling off the skin with a 70 year old paring knife Anna had saved, and dropping peach slices occasionally onto my dress, onto the floor, and onto the table cloth (probably also ancient – Anna keeps everything, and in perfect condition too. I do not have this talent, as we’ve already established.)
Well the conversation was rolling, and moved to the topic of needlework. Along with their paprika and lace, Hungarians are known for beautiful bright coloured needlework. Anna, back when her eyesight was better, was a master with the needle. She has numerous beautiful pillows that she made herself with the thread and needle. (And in fact, she’d just picked up a pillow case from the market for me which she gave to me while I was eating my giant peach. Woohoo!)
But even more special than the pillow case and flowers, has got to be the home blessing. This is a ‘poem’ or just a special thought that people keep in their home to bless it, and will pass along generation to generation. Zsolt mentioned to his grandmother how one day he’d like to put a home blessing in wherever we end up living – and guess what? Well, I am sure you can guess. She gave him a very special home blessing. This isn’t one she sewed herself, it’s from a generation prior –made by the second wife of Zsolt’s Great Grandfather’s. Unlike the pillow cases, this doesn’t highlight any flowers. Instead it’s very simple.
White cloth with blue thread. There are two angles stitched into the cloth, and between them they hold a banner. It reads as follows:
Hol hit ott Szeretet
Hol szeretet ott béké
Hol Beke ott áldás
Hol áldás ott isten
Hol listen ott szükség nincsen.
Which translates into
Where belief there is love,
Where love there is peace,
Where peace there is blessing,
Where blessing there is God,
Where God there is nothing else needed.
Is that wonderful, or what? I think so very much, and it’s made even more special to realize this blessing has been in several generations of the Mucsi family homes, now to be in ours. We’ll hang it in a place of honour for sure.
And I was thinking, now that we have a home blessing (good signs of soon finding a HOME), maybe I should write myself a health blessing as well. Something like,
Where Peace there is Health
Where Health there is Gratitude
Where Gratitude there is Love
Where Love there is God
Where God, nothing else is needed.
I’m not always 100% chatty about my feelings on God, but I do believe in the amazingness of life, of the remarkable miracle of our existence, of a big ‘something’ out there that holds us together (it gives me comfort when I remember that earth is not much more than a speck of dust floating through space),
And you know what else? I believe in staying healthy, happy and cancer-free. In fact, it’s my personal motto.
Do you have a home blessing? What about a health blessing? What would you write in yours, if you decided to go ahead and bless yourself with a few simple words?
Anyhow. That’s my story of Anna, the garden, her needle work and this beautiful home blessing.
(By the by, we are now sailing across the ocean toward New York on the Queen Mary. This post has been made possible by wordpress’s wonderfully convenient ‘Publish’ option – and I actually scheduled it for publication last week. So you are reading my words, in this moment, from the past! Freaky stuff. Or maybe not . . . isn’t that what we’re always doing when reading people’s work?)