The Light of Gatherings…Reminiscences

Dear Reader:

A couple of days ago…as I walked into my “Happy Room” the late afternoon sun was shining through the storm door window and setting the right side of the hearth aflame with light…leaving the left side in darkness.

Even the word GATHERING was half in the light and half obscured by the light. I was drawn to it like a moth to a back porch ceiling bulb.

I love the word “gathering” – I like to use it in the sense of having a family gathering in a warm and homey atmosphere. In today’s hectic society…finding time to “gather” for birthdays or holidays, vacations… is more precious than ever….a rare treasure of time.

Looking back on family gatherings as a child…I loved listening to the adults tell stories more than anything else. While my cousins were playing at this or that…I usually could be found sitting quietly near the picnic table just listening. It was only as I grew older and then became an adult that I realized so many of my childhood memories were based primarily on feelings…not facts.

It was always a shock to reminisce about a certain episode from my childhood, only to confront a different perception from a grandparent, aunt or uncle on what really happened in that distant memory.

Other surprises from the past surfaced when I realized that the adult generation in my family had lived such different lives and experienced such varied encounters before I came along to see them only as middle-aged aunts or uncles settled into living in the same house in the same town. Everyone at one time had different lives than the ones I witnessed growing up…a whole different life.

Some had experienced traumatic loss in war times or unforeseen accidents or diseases, changes in fortune or direction…but to me they were always just my favorite aunt or uncle or grandparent. I felt their love and protection.

Now having reached the status of grandmother…I realize my own grandchildren don’t know much about my childhood or youth…dreams and ambitions and leaps of faith…it will come with time….it is my hope that time will be on my side to witness this evolve.

Risk-taking…an important role in everyone’s life at some point…we all must make the decision to put our faith in something bigger than ourselves and take the leap….children need to know this…one of the most important lessons we can teach them.

I like this short story I found on-line that re-iterates this same theme… taking risks to find ourselves and our place in life…our passion.

“The Tale of the Sands”

A stream, from its source in far-off mountains, passing through every kind and description of countryside, at last reached the sands of the desert. Just as it had crossed every other barrier, the stream tried to cross this one, but it found that as fast as it ran into the sand, its waters disappeared.

It was convinced, however, that its destiny was to cross this desert, and yet there was no way. Now a hidden voice, coming from the desert itself, whispered: “The Wind crosses the desert, and so can the stream.”

The stream objected that it was dashing itself against the sand, and only getting absorbed: that the wind could fly, and this was why it could cross a desert.

“By hurtling in your own accustomed way you cannot get across. You will either disappear or become a marsh. You must allow the wind to carry you over, to your destination.”

“But how could this happen?”

“By allowing yourself to be absorbed in the wind.”

This idea was not acceptable to the stream. After all, it had never been absorbed before. It did not want to lose its individuality. And, once having lost it, how was one to know that it could ever be regained?

“The wind,” said the sand, “performs this function. It takes up water, carries it over the desert, and then lets it fall again. Falling as rain, the water again becomes a river.”

“How can I know that this is true?”

“It is so, and if you do not believe it, you cannot become more than a quagmire, and even that could take many, many years; and it certainly is not the same as a stream.”

“But can I not remain the same stream that I am today?”

“You cannot in either case remain so,” the whisper said. “Your essential part is carried away and forms a stream again. You are called what you are even today because you do not know which part of you is the essential one.”  (This Sufi spiritual story is from the book Tales of the Dervishes by Idries Shah.)

So until tomorrow…In everyone’s life don’t we all have to take a different path to get to our final goals…we can no longer straddle the fence or quagmire down… but we must jump off into the winds of change and find the life we were created to live.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

*I had a wonderful surprise visit from Donna Rae Williams yesterday….she was checking out at a grocery counter when she saw these “Boo” kleenex packages.

*She remembered my post on the problem of growing older with “faucets running”…my nose and eyes! She intuitively knew I needed these “Boo” kleenexes! She was right!

We laughed so hard…I have already used up half a pack! 🙂 *Donna Rae also gave me an idea for my Halloween story this year…! You will have to wait and see! BOO!


My morning glories are going crazy wild…popping up from the ground and traveling underground to appear at the end of the fence…All summer they hardly bloomed at all…and now they are going “blooming crazy”!

I picked up a “whirling butterfly gaura”.…and love it! It is a perennial and the ACE Hardware clerk told me they multiply and are light as a fairy…it really looks like little butterflies at its peak.

Today is Anne’s birthday! She is finishing up her last medical test (CT Scan) today….so our birthday wish for her should all be that results come back with good news and a diagnosis that is easily treatable! That would be the best birthday present today!


Good Health Anne and birthday wishes from all the blog family…even one of our ‘first day of the month’ rabbits! 🙂

Hot Off the Press…this just in from Mandy….

A Big Shout-Out to Eva Cate for making the A and B Honor Roll! She had a 100 on Social Studies…that’s my girl! Eva Cate has had to overcome some learning obstacles to get to where she is today…so proud of her determination and perseverance…and an amazing teacher, this year, who is open and accepting of  diverse ways of learning! A guardian angel teacher!

About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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6 Responses to The Light of Gatherings…Reminiscences

  1. Rachel Edwards says:

    So proud of Eva Cate. I sent Ann a bday card and hope that she finds out the issues and can get the right treatment. My devotion today tiied right into this story. God is always with us regardless of our paths.


    • Becky Dingle says:

      God Winks everywhere! Trust and faith in God take us to our next frontier of opportunity…and sometimes we too must give up something in order to achieve everything.


  2. bcparkison says:

    Three cheers for Eva Cate. Hard work pays off.
    Hmmm….I might need one of those Butterfly flowers.


    • Becky Dingle says:

      Thank you…she had to drop back and punt…play the game over…but it is paying off now. And yes you must get one of the butterfly flowers!


  3. Beverly Dufford says:

    Happy Birthday, Anne and may your coming year bring you good health again! Eva Cate is really growing up fast, and I’m proud of her grades, but of course, that history grade rings a bell in my heart. Probably some of my best memories are of family gatherings. We have so many things that make things easier or even do the work for us, so I wonder why we don’t have as much time for family gatherings as we once did. Change happens so rapidly until I’m always three steps behind just trying to catch up. I paid a lot for a telephone three years ago and am still learning to operate it, only to have a young man tell me the other day, “Oh, you can’t do that because your phone is outdated.” Guess I better find a wind storm like Dorothy, but not one to take me back but to take me forward.


    • Becky Dingle says:

      Wow! What a spectacular metaphor…love Dorothy and the Wizard of oz! Everything tech around my house is out dated…cable, television (a dumb one…not smart..IPhone…you name it…computer…all outdated…but then I am too and just trying to survive in a tech age without losing snail mail and face to face gatherings.


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