So where did it all come from? All the stuff and nonsense we deal with every day? Where did it all begin? Not just the moon and stars and oceans and humans. That’s the big stuff. We hear about that all the time. Creationism, evolution, intelligent design, chaos theory, blah, blah, blah, blah…Where did it come from? It’s that kind of question which keeps philosophers and theologians all googly-moogly inside.
We’re talking here about everyday-in-your-face stuff: Where did dimples come from, for example? Or athlete’s foot? Where did shiitake mushrooms come from and who was the first genius to sauté them in oil and garlic? Where do dreams come from? Or forgiveness? Who first thought that neckties and pantyhose were a good idea? From whence did the notion arise that having the biggest-screen TV on the block was more important than having some good books to read.
Origin of the Species? Sure, that’s fine for some to explore. But what about origin of kiwi’s? Or B-B’s? Or the Figi’s?
Well, we can’t answer all of life’s origin conundrums here in this little rag. But we can address the source of some very important elements in the life of The JUBILEE! Community.
In our Celebration area, for example, there is a beautifully hand-carved altar and globe. These objects form the very heart of every ritual we celebrate with our community. We have celebrated hundreds of baptisms and deaths, dozens of Passovers and Christmases, weddings, Thanksgivings, Mothers’ and Fathers’ Days. We’ve celebrated joy, sorrow, promise and pain. Over the years, thousands of people have wept and worshiped, sung and danced around that globe and altar. That orb and table have inevitably been permeated with lots of holy juju.
There is also a graceful podium and a lithe music stand in the Celebration area. Countless poems, stories and songs have been framed and held by those exquisite pieces.
And, the good news is, we know where they came from: the globe, the altar, the podium, the music stand. No, not Walmart. Or Home Depot. Definitely not from China. We didn’t pick ‘em up on EBay or Pier One. They weren’t discovered at a yard sale in Woodfin. In fact, you’ll never see these pieces anywhere except at JUBILEE! Like everything and everyone at JUBILEE!, they’re one-of-a-kind.
These pieces – altar, podium, globe and music stand were commissioned and given to JUBILEE! by one of the most astute and generous, wise and compassionate – not to mention wild and wacky women – you would ever meet. Her name is Helene Hill. Helene died last week. She was 96 years old. She was our oldest living Jubilant. We call her – and will always call her – Saint Helene. If JUBILEE! had statues of saints, she’d be right up there in marble.
Helene spent much of her life as a community organizer in Nicaragua through the United Methodist Church. Yes, she was a life-long Methodist; but she was still a good person. She retired in Asheville in the mid-90’s and has been part of the JUBILEE! Community since she landed. Helene knew a brilliant wood sculptor in South Carolina named Ken Christy. She commissioned him to design and build those pieces which would delight our community for years and years to come.
Helene’s service happened on Thursday, March 30, at Brooks-Howell Chapel just off Merrimon. Her wit was scintillating and her wisdom gushed like a river in springtime. Her gifts to JUBILEE! of the globe, altar, podium and music stand are indicative of her other gifts to the earth: gifts of grace and beauty, insight and knowledge – gifts that ignite the soul and incite the body to dance.
Thank you, Saint Helene!!!
(And cream cheese, by the way, originated in France. Of course.)