On Totems in the Time of Trouble

Ranger knows what Eyore is for. He brings it to whoever needs comfort.
Ranger knows what Eyore is for. He brings it to whoever needs comfort.

Ranger and I each have our comfort totems.

Last week, one night, I couldn’t sleep. About 2:00am I slipped out of bed and padded downstairs, hoping Darryl and Ranger would not notice. No such luck. I found my blue stoneware mug in the back of the cupboard and warmed some milk. The mug is my totem object, purchased in Edinburgh at age 18, It has followed me ever since. It’s the kitchen item never packed for moving, carried with me in the car to a new location. It is smooth, plain, without word. Only I know it has meaning. Will one of my children know and love it? I doubt it, and wouldn’t expect it. So I hold it close and thank fate that I bought it on my year in Scotland. The mug and I have been together for more than half century!

Not so fast. I soon heard Ranger’s toenails on the upstairs hallway. He picked a way down the stairs and I knew without turning on the light what he carried. His blue Eyore, the stuffed donkey. Long ago I had laid the stuffed animal out for donation, since neither grandchild even noticed it. I remember that rainy, dark morning, as Ranger scrutinized my every move. He gently picked Eyore up and from that moment it was his totem. It is not a toy, and he has kept it in perfect condition. He brings it to bed with him, brings it downstairs in the morning, and only touches it during the day if he sees me crying or Darryl in pain, at which point it is given gently to us.

On that night last week, Ranger found me in the dark on the sofa, with my blue mug of milk, and he jumped up and placed Eyore on my lap. It’s what he does each time he knows my spirits need the touch of a comforting object. Then we sat, finding our centers again, he and I. Eyore, Ranger’s head and my blue mug were on my lap and all was well. We will go on. We both understand the need for an object that ties us to our own history. When the world is not in balance, when we are unsure of the future, a simple object gives us a moment of comfort. It’s all we need to allow us to go back upstairs and crawl into sleep position.