Several years ago, a crazy friend and I flew to Oxford, England and joined another, almost as crazy, friend for a week-filled adventure full of laughs, walking, freezing, and more walking. We saw the fabulous Blenheim Palace and ate at the fish and chips places. We visited Christ Church and took the trains. On one of our days we went shopping. I don’t remember all that we bought but we had so much fun just being together and looking at the different things.
In the essence of adventure we decided to try out a business called Airbnb. Airbnb is a business which rents out bedrooms to travelers. So rather than stay in a hotel, we stayed in a lovely home not too far from where our friend lived. The people were absolutely amazing as they welcomed us into their top floor bedroom. Other than always being cold, I thought we had a marvelous time.
In the early fall of this year I received a package that brought all of the trip memories back in full force. I opened the gift and gave a hearty laugh. There in the small box was a plastic replica of Queen Elizabeth II. We saw the small dolls while in England. I gave her a call and she said that “yes” those were the dolls we were delighted with in England. Naturally she stored them in a safe place and after three short years had finally found them.
We had a wonderful phone visit. Afterwards, I placed my Queen Elizabeth, complete with faux diamond broche, on my kitchen window sill. The magical thing about the doll is that the requisite black purse hanging over her left arm at the elbow joint has a tiny solar cell in it. The solar cell allows her raised rigt hand to wave back and forth to any and all visitors. Her smile is fixed but she waves a queenly turn of the wrist as long as there is sunlight.
My children were delighted and waved back at her for the first few days. When I do the dishes there is the queen proudly waving at me. I position her at an angle so that the solar cell gains all of the possible light. Inadvertently, we have begun to use the queen to gauge our days. On bright sunny days, when my queen is wearing out her wrist, the kids usually report a great day. But on cloudy, over-cast days when my queen is barely making a move, the kids are grumpy and lethargic.
I find that we have turned to Queen Language to describe our days. “Hey, how was school today?” The response will be, “My Queen did NOT wave at school today. Boring.” Or my husband will burst in the door and ask, “How was the Queen today?” I would like to think that he thinks of me as the Queen BUT he is really asking if I had a good, “sunny, waving,” day. And I find that on the dark, cloudy days, I don’t feel as perky and I can see why My Queen does not wave.
Even though My Queen sits on my kitchen sink and is not real, it has been fun to note how we are more active with good weather and a waving queen. I suspect that this can be generalized to most all of us. Bright, sunny days make us want to be kind to our neighbors and wave like mad when we pass by. Teens don’t wave of course, but hypothetically speaking. And hypothetically speaking, My Queen would not be waving this past week if she read the world news of so many hurting families across the world.
As families across the globe are coming to terms with their difficult/diverse situations of the past few weeks, let us be reminded to be kind to one another and to look out for one another. In dark days, I propose that we drag out that old cliché about walking in another’s shoes, we might think things through a little more carefully. I think of the children and the families living in war torn countries and My Queen has a difficult time waving. I think of the families having to bury loved ones and My Queen goes still.
The days have been dark too often of late. Too much hate. Too much greed. Too much selfishness. As we enter the week of Thanksgiving let us all be attentive to the needs of others. May you have time with your families and may you have time with your friends. May you all have safe travels and create fond memories. May you feel the waving of My Queen in your heart as I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving.