Like an onion, peeling memories till they placed her in a different time and era, my mother slowly lost memories of her family. Frustrated that she no longer knew everything she once did, she wondered out loud how it was that she could forget the people she loved. It seemed less cruel to tell her that my dad would be there if he could, rather than to remind her again that he died. In this odd period of her life I was touched by her passionate love for my father. She told me how she loved to hold her babies. I reveled in her memories of myself and my siblings as infants and the way that she cherished each of us. I saw a precious part of her I did not know
I was reminded of the words of scripture, “Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you! See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands. . . ” –Isaiah 49:14-16
My mother died just two days before we celebrated All Saints at the church I was serving in 2010. Worshiping at the special service, I took comfort in the knowledge that God will never forget us or those we love. I felt the assurance that when my memory fails (and family history isn’t too positive on this) that God will continue to love and care for the people I love . . . All of those who live in my heart.
November 1st is the traditional celebration of All Saints, remembering those people who have been a precious part of our lives. C.S. Lewis once wrote that a saint “is a person who makes God believable.” All Saints is a day of both remembering and giving thanks for people who have touched our lives with grace, blessed us with their love and nurtured us with their presence. It is a day to celebrate and be grateful for the Communion of Saints, those living both on earth and in heaven. As we remember these cherished souls, may it be a reminder to live in such a way, that others will look at our lives and celebrate the people that we are.