Wednesday, November 1, 2017

all saints day...

What a wonderfully rich graphic this is on All Saints Day. I am grateful to my friend Martha for posting it on Facebook.  I started an on-line "retreat" two days ago with Abbey of the Arts re: Honoring the Saints and Ancestors of my life. Christine Valters Paintner wrote:

The Celtic feast (of Samhain) coincides with the Christian celebration of All Saint’s Day on November 1st and All Soul’s Day on November 2nd which begin a whole month in honor of those who have died. We tend to neglect our ancestral heritage in our culture, but in other cultures remembering the ancestors is an intuitive and essential way of beginning anything new. We don’t recognize the tremendous wisdom we can draw upon from those who have traveled the journey before us and whose DNA we carry in every fiber of our bodies.

Three years ago in October my father died. As in so much of the rest of my life, it takes me a long time to feel profoundly what his departure really means. I know that after my nephew, Michael; and then his mother, my sister, Linda, died 25 years ago, I was rattled to my core. In time, I took steps towards deeper joy by leaving one faith community - and marriage - and eventually connecting with other loves.  Oddly, this is coming to pass in the aftermath of my father's death, too. In 90 days my 35+ years of local church ministry will be ended even as I start living into new ways of serving God through music, compassion and challenging hatred through the arts.  Another reflection for my retreat puts it like this:

Our western culture doesn't make much room for the honoring of ancestors or valuing what connection to the stories of our past might bring to us. When we uncover the layers of the stories we have lived for generations we begin to understand ourselves better. Some of these stories we may know the details of, and some we may have to access and experience in an embodied and intuitive way. These memories live inside of us, waiting for us to give them room in our lives.

I wasn't really sure why I was drawn to this experience except that it started with an emphasis on autumn and honored both All Saints and All Souls Day. It is raining now with a cold drizzle. The leaves are jumping from their home and being blown everywhere. I love this time of year and am eager to see where the official - and my personal - reflections will lead during this mysterious and even dark season. 

Yesterday, I played sweet, acoustic soul music with my brother, Hal, whom I have known and loved for 52 years. This afternoon I met with new sisters and brothers as we work towards racial, gender and religious justice; we're starting to grow a small network of young, diverse poets interested in caring for "the Beloved community." And tomorrow we head to Brooklyn to celebrate a daughter's birthday as we rejoice with our grandchildren who are thriving. 

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