“With this great cloud of witnesses around us, therefore, we too must throw off every encumbrance and the sin that all too readily restricts us, and run with resolution the race which lies ahead of us, our eyes fixed on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” Hebrews 12:1 REB
Fortunate the person who counts among the cloud of witnesses, people whose lives so touched theirs, that the trajectory of his or her own future was changed. We are blessed by those who sojourn with us, soothe our wounded spirits and care for us in our hurts.
We think of grace-filled people as saints. Our hearts are put at ease in their presence. They enter our lives as teachers, counselors, mentors or as inconspicuously as neighbors, family or co-workers walking beside us for a time. Along the journey we are gifted with friendship. Saints lift our spirits, encourage us and challenge us to be our best selves. We experience unconditional love in their presence. We know we can trust a saint with our fears and doubts. We find safety and shelter in their care. For to be so loved by one who cares for us, is know something of the nature of God’s love, God’s compassion and God’s care.
Blest is the one whose grief mingles with tears of gratitude for kindness given, wisdom shared and whose prayers drew us into the presence of God. Saints are never truly lost. They live in our hearts, words echoing in our minds. We remember nuances of their lives. We cling to shared values of justice and truth. Long ago words slip into our thoughts and guide us in decisions. We are apart, but not fully severed from each other. They walk with us in our dreams, forever part of who we are. We both grieve their deaths and celebrate their lives, grateful to have tarried together for a time.
Henri-Frederic Amiel wrote, *“Life is short. And we do not have much time to gladden the hearts of those who travel the way with us. So: be swift to love, and make haste to be kind.” Saints are like that. Swift to love, quick to be kind and determined to gladden the hearts of others. All the while, showing us a better way to live our lives.
*Dwight was one of the saints in my life whose emails always carried these words of Henri-Frederic Amiel in his email signature.