Today we remember…some with sadness in their hearts, some with smiles. And more often, both….
Lets start with a story…
It was a busy morning at the clinic, and at approximately 8:30 a.m., an elderly gentleman arrived to have stitches removed from his thumb. He stated that he was in a hurry as he had an appointment at 9:00 a.m. I took his vital signs and had him take a seat, knowing it would be over an hour before a doctor would be able to see him.
He was looking at his watch and, since I was not busy with another patient at the moment, I decided to evaluate his wound. On exam, it was well healed, so I talked to one of the doctors, got the needed supplies to remove his sutures and redressed his wound.
While taking care of his wound, we began to engage in conversation. I asked him if he had another doctor’s appointment this morning, as he was in such a hurry. The gentlemen told me no, that he needed to go to the nursing home to eat breakfast with his wife. I then inquired as to her health. He told me that she had been there for a while and that she had Alzheimer Disease.
As we talked, and I finished dressing his wound, I asked if she would be worried if he were a bit late. He replied that she no longer knew who he was, that she had not recognized him in five years now.
I was surprised and asked him, “And you still go every morning, even though she doesn’t know who you are?”
He smiled as he patted my hand and said, “She doesn’t know who I am, but I still know who she is.”
Remembrance means many things….
We come to know who God is through relationships. Spirit’s basic method of communicating It’s self is not the “saved” individual, the rightly informed believer, or even a person with a career in ministry, but the journey and bonding process that Mystery initiates in community: in marriages, families, friends, tribes, nations, schools, organizations, churches and centers who are seeking to participate in God’s love, maybe without even consciously knowing it.
Our relationships are the bond that hold us together, in all times…the good and the not-so-good.
Peacemaking, forgiveness, and reconciliation are not some kind of ticket to heaven later. They are the price of peoplehood—the signature of heaven—now.
We have been talking about relationships in many forms these past weeks, with the 10 ‘words’, with the 5 love languages…all relationship stuff. Did you notice?
Our Wayshower, Jesus, taught us, by example, the importance of relationships. His first vision of church is so simple we missed it: where “two or three are gathered in my name” (Matthew 18:20), I am with you.
We are forming relationships right here, in this Community of like-minded people. And these same relationships help us in unspoken ways through the days and weeks. We may not know it or even realize how the family we have here aids us on the journey. But they do….we do!
The goal of the spiritual journey is to discover and move toward connectedness and relationship on ever new levels. We may begin by making connections with family and friends, with nature and animals, and then grow into deeper connectedness.
That’s what all this talk about getting to know who you are, you-yourself, is about. For as you know yourself, you are better equipted to know, really know, others.
And as we connect with others, we can and will experience this full connectedness as union with God.
For some it starts the other way around: they experience union with God—and then find it easy to unite with everything else. I would venture that addiction recovery works like that.
Without connectedness and communion, we don’t exist fully as our truest selves. Becoming who we really are is a matter of learning how to become more and more deeply connected. No one can possibly go to heaven alone—or it would not be heaven.
And that’s the whole point, we are creating heaven here and now, so, the relationships we have and form helps us all create that heaven on earth.
But sometimes, those that have been helping us create heaven on earth, leave earth a little too early, in our minds anyway. We all have loved ones who have transitioned to divine energy. I have family and friends, beloved four legged ‘family’ too.
This, from Unity Minister Joy Wyler, may help:
“You have to learn to go on with your life without her.” This was the advice I kept getting when my infant daughter Sarah, died. Every fiber of my being shouted, “No!” I quietly wondered how many of those giving this advice had lost a child.
Yet I knew many others have experienced the loss of someone significant in their lives; a loss that feels like part of their heart has gone as well. As I processed the loss of Sarah, I became more aware of spiritual teachings about love, and I experienced a very real sense of the eternal nature of love.
Specifically, I became more attuned to experiencing in my everyday activities the love of Sarah and others I had lost. My response to the advice, “Go on with your life without her,” shifted from just “No!” to “No, I have to find a way to go on without her in my arms but always in my heart.”
We carry in our hearts the loved ones who are no longer physically with us every day— particularly on special occasions. The holidays are a poignant time of celebrating love while inevitably remembering the empty spaces where a beloved once lived and loved.
We can share poignant memories of those who are no longer on this earthly plane, that continue to live in us and through us. Our memories are more than mental monuments. They are expressions of our love for those who have passed.
As we pay homage to loved ones, we revive the feelings of family and unity. We know there is no separation in spirit. We are united in a spirit of oneness that can never be divided. As we live in the present, we prepare for a future of loving expression and fulfillment.
I remember the anniversaries of the passing of my own loved ones. I give thanks for their wit and wisdom, their help and love. I am who I am because of their part in my life. I honor who they were and their contribution to the world. How blessed I am for family, friends, teachers, mentors—for all of those who have helped me grow. I remember them today with heartfelt gratitude and love.
“How someone dies does not make them special. Anyone can do it. It’s how they lived that matters because not everyone lives even while they’re alive.”
Believe it or not, this quote is from one of my Dragons and wizards books….
We are reminded to live our lives daily…the Daily Word tells us every day of opportunities to appreciate what God has presented to us to learn from and enjoy.
Too often we fail at that…at living while we are still here in the flesh. And by living while we are still here, we honor those we love who are not.
In his book “Lee: The Last Years,” author Charles Flood reports that after the Civil War, Confederate General Robert E. Lee visited a Kentucky lady who took him to the remains of a grand old tree in front of her house. There she bitterly cried that its limbs and trunk had been destroyed by Yankee artillery fire. She looked to Lee for a word condemning the North or at least sympathizing with her loss.
After a brief silence, Lee said, “Cut it down, my dear Madam, cut it down and let it go!” He knew that as long as she continued to recount her losses, she’d never get over them. She had to release the North in order to move on to healthy living.
Many of us do tend to hold on to the pain of loss, whatever loss it is. We like to wallow in the sorrow, in the ‘poor me’ sympathy we receive while we feel sorry for ourselves.
We fail to realize the benefit of letting go of all that and getting out of the “Valley of the Shadow” to bask in the sunshine of release.
There is a parable about Krishna saying to the people, “Here, I have a very special gift for you, the gift of immortality. Won’t you reach out and take it?”
“Thank you,” they say, “but we can’t, you see. Our hands are full of these sweet mangoes.”
Krishna smiles, “Let go of the mangoes,” he explains patiently, “then your hands will be free.”
“But Lord”, they protest. “We like mangoes. Why don’t you give us your present first, then we promise we’ll let go of the mangoes.”
What’s the Lesson there? We hold onto something, maybe even fearful of what’s available to come to us…kind of afraid of what just might be even better than those luscious mangos??? Or cutting down a tree destroyed by cannon fire…
Sometimes we just have to have faith. Faith that our intuition is right; that it won’t lead us astray. Faith that there IS a Higher Power that knows what we, superior human that we are, do not know.
“Every beginning starts with an ending. One must be ready to let go of the old before the new can be embraced.”
So, let’s prepare to let go, to move forward. Let’s honor those who have blessed us with their time, their love, their wisdom.
Let’s thank those who have gone before us…discovering the way, finding the Light.
Let’s recognize and give thanks to all who served a higher good. Sacred service is an expression of God’s eternal good, which blesses our hearts, lives, and the world forever.
Let’s remember them all…
AT THE RISING of the sun, and at its going down, lets remember them.
At the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter, lets remember them.
At the opening of buds and in the rebirth of spring, lets remember them.
At the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of summer, lets remember them.
At the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of autumn, lets remember them.
At the beginning of the year and when it ends, lets remember them.
As long as we live, they, too, will live; for they are now a part of us as we remember them.
When we are weary and in need of strength, lets remember them.
When we are lost and sick at heart, lets remember them.
When we have joy we crave to share, lets remember them.
When we have achievements that are based on theirs, lets remember them.
As long as we live, they, too, will live; for they are now a part of us as we remember them.
And I finish with this story that I’ve shared before but think it deserves repeating:
It is told that in 1862 during the Civil War, Union Army Captain Robert Ellicombe was with his men near Harrison’s Landing, Virginia. The Confederate Army was on the other side of a narrow strip of land. During the night, Captain Ellicombe heard the moans of a soldier who was severely wounded on the field.
Not knowing if it was a Union or Confederate soldier, Captain Ellicombe decided to risk being captured to bring the stricken man back for medical attention. Crawling on his stomach to avoid being noticed, the Captain reached the stricken soldier and began pulling him toward the encampment.
When the Captain finally reached his own line, he discovered the soldier was actually a Confederate soldier, but that he was dead.
The Captain lit the lantern and suddenly caught his breath and went numb with shock. In the dim light he saw the face of the soldier, and it was the face of his own son! It seems the boy had been studying music in the South when the war broke out and, without telling his father, he enlisted in the Confederate Army.
The following morning, heartbroken, the father asked permission to give his son a full military burial despite his enemy status and asked if he could have a group of Army band members play at the service.
The request was denied since the soldier was a Confederate. But, out of respect for the father, they did say he could have a small funeral with one musician. The Captain chose a bugler. He asked the bugler to play a series of musical notes he had found on a piece of paper stuffed in the pocket of the dead youth’s uniform.
Those notes became known as “Taps.” We are all familiar with the melody, but do we know the words?
Day is done… Gone the sun… From the lakes…From the hills…From the sky…
All is well… Safely rest…. God is nigh.
Fading light… Dims the sight… And a star… Gems the sky… gleaming bright…
From afar…Drawing nigh… Falls the night.
Thanks and praise…For our days…Neath the sun…Neath the stars…Neath the sky…
As we go…This we know…God is nigh.
Lwt’s take those thoughts into meditation…