It’s funny how the end of life gets one thinking about how it all began. There is something brilliant about the way the Good Lord wired us to look back when things come to an end. We rehearse events and try to understand the “why” of it all. We think about what we might have done differently or give thanks for how it all turned out when we thought it was about to fall apart. You might think an ending should be a time when we need to begin planning for the future and seek answers for the questions, “Where do we go?” “What do we do now?” “How do we move on when what we’ve known for so long is now over?” But that is not at all how we deal with loss or endings. We are not really as good at planning ahead as we think we are; the only information we have is in the past. So we share what we know and piece together what we have and hope to find our way through.
Most of us have experienced loss. Unexpected grief is never welcomed and deeply personal. Old photos, sent cards and flowers, shared meals and memories; all intend to bring comfort and solace, to show compassion and care. But these tokens have a far greater potential. A memory shared in love can tear down a wall or build bridge; it can mend fence, engender trust, and create a new beginning. There is a tender moment waiting in the weeping for new life to take root. A moment that reaches beyond justice to mercy and beyond grudges to grace. These moments allow us to strengthen the foundations we have so we may begin again on something stronger and deeper. Love does indeed cover a multitude of wrongs…and never fails in its mission.
As days and weeks pass, this time for remembering turns into a time for moving forward…letting go and letting God. Some may turn from the memories and begin the onward journey sooner than others and what is shown on the surface may not be the pain and confusion felt inside – this is OK, not everyone moves through loss at the same pace. There may even be memories that hit in a flood of emotion and then pass leaving us to pick up the pieces all over again. The things we remember are invitations for us to repair, renew, or rebuild something that was broken, then reinforce what we have with greater understanding and more love. Healing of the heart takes time and love is the only cure.
My hope for us all in troubled times would be: That our memories be shared in love…and held with compassion. that our hearts be open to understanding…and ready with forgiveness. That we would all do justly, love mercy, and walk more humbly…