We Do Our Best

These are the words the Dead whispered to me as I sat by their fire and offering pit on the last day of the Samhain season.


“Ancestors!” my son sings, spinning in circles, “please come to us on an airplane; you are dead but we love you! Come back to us now, and I will give you apples!” Uncountable generations of grandmothers and aunties listen, then pat his head and fill his pockets with sweets. He does this at every rite this season, and ever patient, the Ancestors listen.

I sit with these women now, names I do not know, far away faces. These are women of kitchens and feasting and keys. There is care and kindness here, but there are feelings under silence. I put a name to this and the fire sizzles, hisses, as if I have given them permission to speak. I hear you, I hear you.

Doing one’s best looks different to each of them, I see, and that is the lesson they bring for me today. Learning the difference between our best and the best is an ongoing struggle for me. I am blessed with certain talents, less so with others. So it is the same for each of us. I do my best now, and release my judgement about this.

I stoke the fire with my breath, and the fire stokes its light in me.

Whatever wisdom may be in these words, take it and put it to good use, they say. Do your best.

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