This is a day designated by the Christian church for the remembrance of all the good, fine people who have lived, illuminated our lives, led the way for the rest of us, and now are also gone before us in death. Recollection, commemoration and admiration of those who have lived as great-hearted souls on the earth and set an example, large or small, of excellence for those of us who follow is, I think, a practice that anyone of any stripe, religious or not, can embrace; we are certainly all made better by such meditations, especially if and when we are made stronger by their guidance to follow in our honored loves’ radiant footsteps.
Spending a day in remembrance of loves lost is bound to be bittersweet, of course. When the bond has been close in life, it remains so in death, and however the pangs of loss may subside over time, on a day devoted to thoughtful recognition of our trusted and beloved friends, mentors and avatars of all things great and good, the pain can be as sharply new again as in the first sweep of sorrow. But if I am genuinely mindful and respectful of their gifts in life, I think that this can be transformational and healing and comforting, too.
Can I live as a reflection of my most-admired angels? It’s too tall an order for any ordinary mortal, I know. But that’s exactly why I think we have these living and loving models among us: to show that in community and mutual, loving support and with determined and patient growth on our own, greater things can happen than if we try to do significant and meaningful things independently. We are raised up by the waves of support around us. How can I not be grateful for that! This realization sweetens the day perceptibly. Do I wish that I could have my lost loves back again? Who would not! But I wouldn’t trade one tear, one iota of the hurt and anger and grief I’ve felt over any of their losses, to miss out on recognizing the beauty and joy and brilliance that they brought to this world in their too-short tenure here, and I know that some lights seem so bright in life that they can blind me at close range to what’s more easily discerned, when seen from this greater distance, as having the distinctive shape of an excellent soul.
This is so beautiful. 🙂
I thank you, Laura.
You’re welcome 🙂
Very beautiful Kathryn…touching
Thanks, my friend. I’m glad you liked it. 🙂
I’m glad you liked it, my dearest.
Well, that was not only lovely, but very stirring. Thank you!
Thank *you*. It’s good to have occasion to bring out fond memories and honor them.
Wonderful post. Very touching.
I appreciate that. I’m glad you found it so.
Yes. That’s the point of view that enriches us.
Thank you, Elena. 🙂
It has certainly given great richness to *my* life. 🙂
I love the stories of the saints and have been constantly inspired by many of them, Kathryn. Have you seen the book: ‘365 Saints: Your Daily Guide to the Wisdom and Wonder of Their Lives’? I think you would really enjoy it; it has been guiding me for at least 10 years. One to have at the bedside. http://www.amazon.com/365-Saints-Daily-Wisdom-Wonder/dp/0060675942 XO ❤
I don’t think I *have* seen that one, and I will definitely have a look. One of my favorites was, if I recall correctly, a very old edition of Butler’s ‘Lives of the Saints’ in the university library where I did my undergrad studies and would go and leaf through when I had time. It was of a vintage that meant it included many saints who have since fallen out of memory or the canonical roster or even been somehow ‘rebranded’ to be less strange over time, so it was wonderfully entertaining and thought-provoking and seemed to me almost like a mashup of the saintly roster with Grimm’s Fairy Tales, so you can imagine I just ate it up for that! 🙂