I turned a few pages and noticed something different. 

I had been thumbing through my mother’s large print Bible when I noticed some additions. There was ink on the page. 

A few lines and a date. 

I ran my fingers over the dried blue stain and felt connected somehow to my mother who loved her God, her husband, and her children. 

I slowed myself down and meditatively took myself to see her with Bible in lap, looking for a pen, pressing the pen to the paper, and expressing ink to make a mark.

She needed to reinforce this verse to the brain. There was a moment here that she wanted to emphasize this passage. This verse was for her and needed to be noted in ink. 

Keep me safe, O God, 
for in you I take refuge. Psalm 16:1

Then the date. 

13/7/03

I remembered that time well. 

It was a time of struggle for my mother. My father was unwell and she was losing him. He died 82 days later on October 3rd. She would follow him in ‘promotion to glory’ 166 days later. 

That moment in God’s larger story was a challenge, not just for Muriel Jocelyn Pearman and Benjamin Herbert Pearman, but also for her children. Health care appointments, changes of living situations, support, love, visiting, saying goodbye, and being grateful amidst the grief. 

My mother left a mark. 

In this moment of time, she is telling me that her trust was in God being her refuge, the place where she felt held in the midst of a storm. 

The beauty of Ink. 

We leave in an increasingly intangible digital world. 

My mother kept the financial books for my parents farming business in a red ledger book in one of the kitchen drawers. I keep my accounts online in some fancy accounting software. 

To listen to music – George Beverly Shea, Jim Reeves – an album was taken out of its sleeve, placed on a turntable, and a needle dropped on the surface. I press a couple of icons on my cell phone and I can listen to any music I like. 

She would write letters to the local Member of Parliament expressing her concerns about Casinos. I can send them a tweet. 

Ink is magic.

Ink takes me to a time of tangible expression, of beauty in handwriting. Caligraphy and art in daily expression. 

Ink speaks louder than words. Ink is tangible.

Being Tangible 

Can you give the gift of something tangible?

It’s the ink on the paper, the note in a book. A craft you have made. A cake you have baked. 

I love digital, but I also need tangible awakenings to the awareness of living in a very tangible world. 

It’s cold out there. 

I talk to people all over the world. Every time I ‘Zoom’ I would like to be in the room with them. 

We need physical touch. The stroking of a hand, the handing of tissue to wipe a tear away. The warm hug of known presence.

No emoji can express the true ‘I am with you’ presence that a warm hug can communicate. 

In your tangible world please send a card, write a note, graffiti your Bible, and leave physical traces of your presence for those who walk behind. 

My mother left a mark, she’s now left a mark on you.

Pass it on to others.

Spiritual Practice: Write a note, with ink, to a friend or family member expressing gratefulness for ink.

Barry Pearman

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Read more about Barry at Turning the Page

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