A Memory

Tuesday, November 11

11-11By John Bonney of Springfield, Oregon, USA

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die…a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance.

—Ecclesiastes 3:1–2, 4

Eventually, each of us will leave this Earth and the familiar form we know. Our link to the living will dissolve—at least for a time, as far as we know. My relationship with my mother was uniquely close. Or, as Margaret Meade famously said, “You are unique, just like everyone else.” I loved Mom dearly and she loved me unconditionally.

Every time my wife and I went to see Mom at the senior home, we walked down a long, dull hallway. Each time we left we walked the same path. As I said good-bye and I hugged my mother to me, I would always wonder if this were the last time I would hold her—“Will I see her alive again, or is this the final good-bye?”

After she died, we carried some of her belongings down that long hallway. With each trip, we took away some small part of my mother’s life. And, sometime before that experience, I had indeed hugged her for the last time. I did not know it at the time.

So between her six children, we divided her possessions. Each took a token of her life. No one felt short-changed; we felt only that our time with her was too short. One day you are here, and all the trappings of life that you hold are here with you. Then the sun goes down, leaving tokens and memories as testimony. They perhaps say, “There was a person here for a season—a child of God, loving and loved, now with God, at peace.”

Prayer for Peace Compassionate God, we thank you for the people in our lives. May we cherish them each day of their lives. May we share their stories and the peace of Jesus Christ.

Spiritual Practice: Honoring the Worth of All Persons Read Psalm 139:13–18. After each reading sit quietly and let the words sink deeply into your mind, heart, and body. Imagine God watching you grow in your mother’s womb. What thoughts and feelings do you have about being “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14)?

Sense the intimate knowledge and love God has of you and every child. Be aware of the sacred worth of each person. Weep with God over the soul-wounding forces and events that rob people of dignity and worth. How are you invited to notice, protect, heal, and affirm the spiritual identity of all God’s beloved people today? Pray for God’s compassion.

Peace Covenant Today, God, I will hug a loved one, not knowing what tomorrow brings.