Saturday, October 10, 2009

What a MESS-kal!!!

THE DREAM: Each Meskal we will celebrate the holiday by purchasing daisy seeds to be planted the following spring, daisies that will be harvested during the following Meskal as representative decorations in keeping with the inclusion of Meskal daisies as traditional decoration during the important Ethiopian celebrations. Each year we will enjoy time around a backyard fire talking about new beginnings and the cross of Christ, correlative to the Meskal fires in Ethiopia that -- topped with crosses -- blaze across the countryside in celebrations of redemption and rebirth. (We won't, however, top our bonfire with a Meskal cross, as burning crosses on the lawn....just....doesn't....translate...culturally.) We will copy the family DVD that we create each year to send back to Ethiopia, for viewing by the adoption-related government officials and by our children's birth relatives, and distribute it with a Meskal letter to family and friends, in keeping with the tradition of our childrens' birth region to honor and celebrate milestone achievements during the holiday (elected officials and newly married couples are "presented" to the community during Meskal in the Hadiya zone. We will mark, like other families often do in Christmas letters, major transitions or milestones in the lives of our members in our Meskal mailings). We will, since our Meskal celebration and our Famiversary are so close in time, share memories, videos, pictures of, and gifts we purchased for our children in Ethiopia and will remember the people in Ethiopia with whom we are indellibly connected during the holiday season. Etc., etc., etc.

THE REALITY: The daisies we planted last spring grew beautifully in their starter containers but never made it into the garden and thereby wilted and died. We never obtained a firebowl in which we could legally light a Meskal blaze, and the law prohibits a lawn fire within city limits. My brother made an absolutely beautiful video of our family, which was sent to Ethiopia as a part of our Post-placement documentation this year....but it takes a while to make copies of that video....and we don't really keep DVRs around the house. Maybe we'll send a few out in the coming months with a late Meskal letter. I hadn't decided on gifts for this year, so the kids probably would have missed them altogether if Olivia hadn't insisted on wearing her Ethiopian clothes. Last year's clothes are altogether too small. I had figured on these outfits working a year or so from now, but I pulled them out at her insistence and am so glad I did! They fit well and would clearly be too small next year! We planned a trip to an Ethiopian Evangelical church service in Indianapolis. We made that trip. We arrived to find out that the service time had been moved back by several hours, and we had missed it altogether, so we played on the adjascent playground until we felt comfortable strapping our kids back into their carseats for the long haul home. Just before we strapped them in, dejected by our many failures to realize the Meskal dream, Josh mused, "so this must be the part where I voiceover....'and that's when we realized, that the true meaning of Meskal is just being together'."

So here we are, together on the Meskal that almost wasn't.

P.S. I'll try to find a link that describes the Ethioipian holiday of Meskal for a future post, but here's my understanding in brief: "Meskal" translates as "cross." The people of Ethiopia believe that they possess a fragment of the true cross of Christ, but the holiday itself, which corresponds to the mass blooming of millions of bright golden daisies across the countryside, extends its celebration to the rebirth and new beginning that the cross engendered and implies. In Ethiopia, it is marked by a gathering of family and time of celebration around a table and around Meskal fires (and it is the sole holiday that we were asked to honor and remember by the babies' birth father). I love it, and will try each year to honor it more fully.

Until then, happy belated Meskal!


M and M said...

Meskal was our ONE request as well, and we're still working on how to celebrate -so I appreciate your post. Next year we might trek to MN where there is a local Meskel event.

missy said...

what rock have i been under that i've never heard of meskal before? i knew not being a reader was going to haunt me in life! thanks for educating me and giving me something new to celebrate. and also for giving me a reason to ask my husband for a fire pit for the back yard. :) your family is precious in their ET clothes!

Cindi Clark said...

You have one beautiful family, my dear daughter! I love you all!