November 1 — All Saints is a call not only to remember those shining examples of living in God love, but also a time to reflect on those lights that we have seen shine, up close and personal. It is good to remember and reflect on the giants: Vincent de Paul, Francis of Assisi, Catherine of Sienna, Mother Teresa, Thomas Merton. But, there are others who have lived the example much closer to my own life.
My stepfather, Stewart, was such a light. Not perfect — but a man who tried to walk the walk that God called him to. A man who brought much healing to my own image of Father. A man who loved my mother, and embraced all of us (his 3 and her 3 children, plus grandchildren) as family. Today, I stop to remember him, and thank God for him.
My grandfather, Jack who was always there. There’s not much to say in concrete terms from my perspective — I mean, beyond my memories of him showing up on Saturday mornings with Wrigley’s Spearmint gum in his pocket, to take us home with him for the night. Or, my memories of how he loved his great grandchildren. There was a special affinity between him and my youngest son. I wish he had lived to see Daniel grow up.
My grandmothers. One, who taught me how to make a two crust, pokeberry filled mud pie, and how to knit and crochet, and had me help her send checks to the Democratic National Committee (with a promise not to tell my mother what we were up to.) The other, who made wonderful cinnamon rolls, and my first semi-formal dress ( a bright, gorgeous turquoise velvet — or was it the red and white one that I wore to my first dance?). She seemed able to do anything with nothing.
I could go on and on. These people and others taught me how to live and how to love. They are no longer here in body, but in some way, they live on in me. I pray I do them right as I journey.