Fifteen days ago I was busy preparing our house for our guests, two Tibetan monks, coming here to create a peace mandala to raise money for their monastery and promote compassion. I had no idea what to expect and I was a bit nervous with anticipation of what was to come. Little did I know, the two monks that would stay with us would become our family, that we would grow to love them and call them our sons, brothers, and that they would leave a huge empty space in our home with their leaving.
My heart is full this morning as I sit here drinking a cup of coffee, I could not bring myself to make a pot of tea in my now beloved tea pot that served so many cups of tea every morning, every afternoon. All is quiet, there are no showers running, no prayers being chanted, no walking around, no shutting doors. Gerry and Wesley still sleep, and I have no idea what to do with myself. So I am going to sit quietly and enjoy the memories of these two special people that quite likely have changed our lives.
Yesterday before their departure, we all exchanged gifts with one another. One of the gifts from Tashi and Jamphel were handmade books from Tibet. Jamphel wrote us a letter in one of the books and then read it to us at the table over tea. Tears, as you can imagine. One thing he wrote...the snow that came was a gift from God, so that we could spend important time together. No truer words......
On Jamphel's wrist in this photo are new prayer beads. Earlier in the week, he gave Wesley his beads. She commented to him that she liked them and he took them off and gave them to her. He got the beads when he visited the Dali Llama and they were very special to him. Now she says her prayers with them. They will be with her always. One of the other monks, Tenzin, in return gave Jamphel these beads of sandalwood. You all know my issues with gift giving, but these monks have given it a whole different meaning.
I had photo books made for my three children, memories for them to keep. Jamphel called it his remember book. We were told that many of the gifts they are given, they do not keep, they give away. Not this gift!
They gave Wesley a book of dharma for her to study. Chants written in English and Tibetan so she can learn. We all received another khata. I told Jamphel that I would save mine and when I meet his mother I will give it to her. Tears again.
They also gave us the wall hanging behind Tashi, a lesson on it from the Dali Llama. It is beautiful and it hangs by our kitchen table. I will look at it each time we have a meal here and think of them.
We got Tashi a cover for his new Samsung that he is so proud of. He was very happy.
Geshe Jampha painted this and I got it for Wesley at the closing ceremony. I received an email from the coordinator this morning saying that the party the monks gave us on Saturday night was paid for with money they make selling their own art, not money that is given for the monastery. So in a way the money I gave them for this painting helped them pay for a party they wanted to give to us. A circle complete. Karma.
This was a sad goodbye. There were many tears and I found it hard to even look at Jamphel, the look on his face broke my heart. Twice in one year he has had to say goodbye to a mother. First his mother in Tibet that he had not seen in fifteen years and had a brief three month visit with before he said goodbye again, and now a goodbye with me, who knows when we will see each other again.
And then I turned to see the tears on my own child's face, and my heart broke again. I just held her close as her tears fell.
I hung the khatas in my yoga space on a piece of bamboo. One for Gerry la, one for Wesley la, one for Tracey la and one for our family, including our newest members.
We received many gifts from all of the monks at the ceremony. They gave me and Gerry t-shirts and khatas and a certificate from the monastery. They gave Wesley this Tibetan flag and we flew it in honor of them when they left yesterday. As I took down our American flag I joked that we had become Tibetans, haha!
Last night I received an email from Jamphel with a photo attached. "A ma la (mother), here is my new room, so good, but I miss family". On the bed in the photo was the box of Valentines candy I gave him, his language books we got for him, his robes. Gerry came home one night late after work, he had stopped off and bought a new notebook and pencils for Jamphel. These were also on the bed.
More tears........ what a gift we have been given............ a new journey.