All Saints’ Day…All Souls’ Day…All Hallows’ Day…Sabbath Soul…Dia de Muertos. From my perspective, this particular day has always provoked a powerful response. Within our worship service, this day is marked with responsive readings, special hymns, remembrances, lit candles, the presentation of a white rose to a surviving family member, and clergy reading aloud the names of those saints from the congregation who have passed during the previous year. Most disheartening, the list was long this morning. It’s a marked day of remembrance for all who have gone before, not just this year, and, as my Granny B. would often observe, “to open and honor the ‘thin space’ where all the saints meet.”
Thanksgiving, 1996. My mom in her kitchen holding court while preparing the feast in her authentic holiday attire, festive jewelry, coiffed “Steel Magnolia” hair, completely spotless makeup, and brilliant eyes sparkling intelligence and southern sass. I would quietly sneak up to her with my camera, especially on holidays, because she NEVER liked having her picture made; she always took stunning pictures though. She passed in 2016 and I miss her every single day, especially on certain days each year like today.
In a strange way, I find myself deeply nostalgic and profoundly grateful every year on this day…grateful for all who came before me, whose shoulders I continue to stand upon…grateful for the treasured stories, the powerful memories, and the lasting legacies of these saints…grateful for the opportunity to reflect on the transformational stages of my life journey…grateful for the blessings of each day and the chance to clear away the broken parts while exploring new paths to grow in hope and grace. So today, reflect on the saints in your life. Who are you particularly grateful for and why?
Here’s hoping we never lose sight of the gifts gratefully given to us by those who go come and go before us…for when one is missing, the whole is somehow less. “For all the saints who from their labors rest…”