This was a first, a wedding and a funeral all in one day. Both celebrations of moments in life that happen. The continuation of life, a new journey together, a life let go. To see the glow of the bride & groom, and the aching hearts of those gathered to remember the life no longer present in a daily way. In the middle there were the parent conversations, another component of life, of living. Listening to the parenting was priceless. The being with one another, present in these moments, such an amazing and beautiful experience.
Those present at the Celebration of Life were asked to share memories, to write them down and attach them to tree branches. This, to me, is a moment of listening to the heart. The memory I shared was two-fold: the first part when my uncle hugged you, you were hugged, totally and completely. There was no one else in that moment, just the two of you in that embrace. Several others shared the same memories of the hugs. The second part going to a local joint for blueberry pancakes. Over the years that place has become special enough to go back to with others.
And new memories were created with my own nieces and nephews this weekend. Watching my sisters parent their children, who are all fascinating and characters in their own right. And seeing my aunts and uncles interact with that next generation with great interest and love is sweet. Memories shared, lives lived.
It’s all there, deep joy and deep sorrow. It’s all a part of life. Good decisions. Icky decisions. Thankfully this life is lived with others. This life informs who I am. There are moments when I’d love to respond differently, with more grace and compassion. There are moments where I’d love for others to respond with more grace and compassion. And in every single one of those moments there is mercy and grace. This is the life God gives and our response to that life.