I will remember you...

In a few days, we will fly back to Tucson. It will be a happy/sad
trip because we're returning to say good-bye to a dear and faithful friend. Since leaving the Southwest, we've been back twice - both times to celebrate a wedding for young people we knew and loved - but this time will be different. Of course, I will check in with a few other sweet souls while we are there, I could hardly do otherwise given the love we share. And it will be a true blessing to stay with our buddies Linda and Larry who are closer to my heart than some flesh and blood.

But mostly we're going to celebrate our friendship with Roger and Debby - to honor his faithful life BEFORE a memorial service - and to be present with two people we love profoundly. This is one of those times when you realize that the only thing we really have to share with the world is our presence. We can't heal or fix Roger's cancer. We can't take away the sorrow or sadness that is part of the leave taking. All we can do is sit and share this present moment as tenderly and honestly as we can. And leave the rest to the Lord.

Today's reading from the Buechner devotional includes this timely reflection:

When you remember me, it means that you have carried something of who I am with you, that I have left some mark of who I am on who you are. It means that you can summon me back to your mind even though countless years and miles may stand between us. It means that if we meet again, you will know me. It means that even after I die, you can still see my face and hear my voice and speak to me in your heart. For as long as you remember me, I am never entirely lost. When I'm feeling most ghost-like, it's your remembering me that helps remind me that I actually exist. When I'm feeling sad, it's my consolation. When I'm feeling happy, it's part of what I feel that way...

Tomorrow I will spend a little time at the hospital and in some homes connecting with a few of the people in this congregation who are hurting - people I have come to love and cherish. And then after worship - and joining our African-American sister congregation for the first time in decades for the Martin Luther King celebration - we will head off to Tucson.  Beyond some stunning weather and freaking-amazing Mexican food, I don't know what that week will hold for us.  I just know it is the right thing to do.

Buechner writes that when the thief who was hanging next to Jesus said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom," there are perhaps no more human words in all of Scripture, no prayer we can pray so well." 

In ways I never dreamed, I get that today.

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