Dishes hold the stories of our ancestors. Stories that need to be heard and honored. Lillian Lake photo

There are times when you must speak. We know this to be accurate, yet when to speak, listen, or take action is not always as easy as it seems. Added to these words, wrote Mary Quinn in 2010, “not because you will change the other person, but because if you don’t speak, they have changed you.”

“Careless talk costs lives” was a propaganda campaign managed by Britain’s War Department during World War II. Sometimes displayed on posters with real faces and sometimes as cartoons, the campaign was designed to remind people to watch what they say as you can never be sure who is listening or how the information will be used. As I think about parts of the world engaged in the chaos of war, I consider that maybe we need that campaign renewed.

Across media agencies, we see reports of wars wherever they occur. Many of us fight personal battles every day — finding food and shelter, a mother diagnosed with cancer, a sibling abducted, or suicide ideation. And, of course, the battles fought with words, starvation, guns, and missiles.

We have forgotten who we are and that we are responsible for our brothers and sisters.

I thought about these ideas as I stood at the kitchen sink, polishing serving dishes gifted to me by a dear friend and her mother. They had belonged to my friend’s grandmother, Dede (Dee-dee), who had been given them as wedding gifts.

Sometimes, people gift me dishes because they don’t know what else to do with them. My friend and her mother understand that they are more than re-purposed hand-me-downs. Dishes hold the stories of our ancestors. Stories that need to be heard and honored.


As I continue to polish, rinse, dry, and put away, I think about Grandmother Dede and her enjoyment of her family, making people comfortable as they gathered and served up plates full of stories and made up new ones. I never met Dede, yet each time people gather in my home and use her dishes, we continue to create memories and honor stories.

Most of us hold to a spiritual belief. I have found all of them seem to have a common thread of “love,” and yet, what do we fight over? We fight over our beliefs as though we are the only ones with absolute knowledge. Have you considered how it feels to hear someone rant against your heritage? It is telling someone their ancestors didn’t exist.

People are being taunted and physically attacked for what they believe. They are shouted at to “go home.” Where is home? Home is here. The world is our home. This planet was created with no walls. The physical ones made are inventions of our minds and exist out of fear. Fear breeds more fear. It feeds itself into existence. We retaliate from a space of fear and without pausing for knowledge, understanding, and compassion.

Remember this: our thoughts and actions echo through eternity. This karma born of anger and hatred can be undone by love.

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