Carrying On

So I’m feeling a bit bad about the most morose post of all time on Monday – and what timing…the day after we celebrated All Saint’s Day. As I listened to the sermon on Sunday I cringed when I recalled what I had already written about those same verses from Isaiah 25. Pastor Sara’s interpretation was SO much more hopeful and positive than mine. In light of that, I decided to write a little about what she said here today – a Hear It on Sunday, Use It on Wednesday redo.
During the All Saints Day service I thought a lot about my loved ones who have passed on.

I remembered how much Nana loved to watch my sister and me play dress-up, even when we clomped over the linoleum in her fanciest shoes, even when we wrapped a dozen strands of her favorites beads around our necks in a tangled mess. She always slipped a five-dollar bill into our coat pockets before we walked out the door, and she smelled like Chanel No. 5 when I pressed my face against her rose-petal cheek. I remember how her glow-in-the-dark rosary lit the bedpost in soft, green light.
I remembered Papa’s gruff love – how he never liked hugs or kisses, but flipped pancakes, carved wooden birdhouses and took us to feed bread crusts to the ducks in Forest Park. He always cooked Thanksgiving dinner, from the turkey to the mashed potatoes to three kinds of pie, and then did all the dishes afterward, too, washing each piece of china and silver by hand, steam rising from the porcelain sink, fogging the kitchen window.

I remembered my in-laws. Janice’s humble gratitude, her steady joy, her quiet faith. She baked an apple pie to absolute perfection, wrapped it tight in saran wrap and brought it with her from Minnesota to Nebraska every autumn, just for me, because she knew it was my favorite.  I remembered Jon’s exuberance, his love of storytelling and 50s dancing, how he delighted in my boys so much. I remembered his incredible generosity, how he was always ready and willing to give anyone exactly what they needed.
As these memories spooled, I heard Pastor Sara remind us that All Saints Day is a time to recall these lives well-lived, but also an assignment, a responsibility, a commissioning placed in our hands. As we remember our loved ones, we are commissioned to carry on their lives as best we can, to pass on what was important to them, to carry on their faith.

So today, in honor and memory of my loved ones, I am thinking of joy, gratitude, generosity and delight. I’m thinking of apple pie, birdhouses, stories, dancing and rumpled bills stuffed deep in coat pockets. I’m thinking of the people I love, the ones who are gone, the ones whose legacies I carry on.
What's one quality of a loved one in your life that you would like to carry on?

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Glenda Childers –   – (November 8, 2012 at 5:16 PM)  

My mom's zest for life in small, quiet and practical ways.

Remembering is so good.


ps. I did not think your post was morose ... just real.

David Rupert  – (November 8, 2012 at 5:16 PM)  

My mother's sense of humor. She always made me laugh

Jillie –   – (November 8, 2012 at 5:18 PM)  

What a beautiful (redo) post today, Michelle. Absolutely loved it. Should print it out, if I had my new printer hooked up. :[

My Nana's both had qualities I so remember. Paternal Nana never uttered a nasty word about anyone. She knew her own life had deep mistakes and regrets in it, and tried never to judge another.

Maternal Nana always had her Bible spread before her in the mornings when I would wake from my sleepovers. Her hair braided around her head. Eyes closed in prayer. Cannot count the times she uttered, "Jesus loves you" in my ear. I truly believe I am His follower today, because of her prayers for me. Can't wait to see her again. My denom doesn't have an 'All Saints Day', but I think we should. It is good to remember that "great cloud of witnesses" cheering us onward.

Thank you for being here, Michelle.

anna see –   – (November 8, 2012 at 5:18 PM)  

I would like to be generous in my heart the way Jack was. Not always tallying, striving, comparing.

Michael Moore  – (November 8, 2012 at 5:18 PM)  

Thank you, my dear friend... this brought tears to my eyes and a smile to my heart! :-)

Michelle DeRusha  – (November 8, 2012 at 5:19 PM)  

Megan, you have already achieved that, friend.

Michelle DeRusha  – (November 8, 2012 at 5:19 PM)  

Thank you, Michael, for the very kind shout-out on facebook today - you are always so encouraging and generous with your praise!

Michelle DeRusha  – (November 8, 2012 at 5:19 PM)  

Oh yes, Amen, Anna. I am a comparer; I keep score. To lift one another up in generosity the way your Jack did, that is the Way, indeed.

Michelle DeRusha  – (November 8, 2012 at 5:19 PM)  

I absolutely love that picture you painted of your maternal Nana, Jillie - so beautiful. What a gift to have that example of faith.

Michelle DeRusha  – (November 8, 2012 at 5:19 PM)  

Oh humor, yes. My father-in-law was that way, too. I didn't always appreciate it when he was with us.

Michelle DeRusha  – (November 8, 2012 at 5:19 PM)  

I love this, Glenda - what an example to carry on. My husand is like that: such generosity, but so humble and quiet in the process.

Jean Wise  – (November 8, 2012 at 5:20 PM)  

This is such a wonderful reminder! I would love to carry on my dad's optimistic, smiling nature. When I remember him, I see his smile. I hope my kids and grandkids picture me smiling too.

Robin Lees Kleinpeter  – (November 8, 2012 at 5:20 PM)  

Wise prose. I want to be a friend with many shoes.

Michelle DeRusha  – (November 8, 2012 at 5:26 PM)  

So beautiful, Jean. I think you have done exactly that, from the look of your sweet gravatar (need to meet you in person to confirm for sure!).

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