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Memories of Special People

As November begins to come closer I think of one of my favorite Sundays of the church year, All Saint’s Sunday. All Saints Sunday is an idea I “borrowed” from the Episcopal Church and I think improved upon it as I adapted it our worship. It’s a beautiful and touching ceremony within the Sunday morning worship service where we honor the people whom we have lost due to death in the past year. Long ago, I attended what was then an annual service to honor Chaplains who had died in the past year and I was so moved that I took that idea and adapted it to a service to honor the friends and family we had lost. I am always deeply touched by the service and know that others are as well. It is not a perfunctory ritual but a living reminder of how precious each life is. This year we are hoping to be able to have a slide presentation with each person’s picture on it during the program. I hope we can pull that off.

I often find myself remembering those who have gone on and who are ever and always a cherished part of my own life. We make a difference in each other’s lives. Let me re-phrase that, we have the potential to make a difference, a positive difference in each other’s lives. When I think of some of the people who have loved me, comforted me, guided me, walked with me, led me, corrected me, followed me and shared life with me in a thousand and one ways I cannot begin to express my sense of joy and gratitude. I could give a few examples but by mentioning only one or two I am hoping you will understand the list is many times more. Virginia Hammes was a strong woman and an active leader in our church. She played a great role in the lives of my children, modeling for me that children need and deserve “adult friends” to help them grow up. Jean Hockman became one of the most special and dear people to me as she became “family” to our family. I’ll never forget her telling me how much she regretted not being able to be Treasurer for the church because she and Ralph wanted to travel some while Ralph was still able to do so. Ralph eventually outlived Jean showing me the wisdom of her decision but the unpredictability of life. Ewell Arrasmith walked the hills of his farm in Kentucky with me and taught me the difference between a Hickory tree and a Maple tree and he helped me get in touch with my own love of the land while sharing his love of the land. Harriet Ashmore became another mother. The list is not endless but it is priceless.

Who are the people who have shared their life with you? Who are the people who have embedded themselves so deeply in your heart that they are always with you, until your own moment to pass comes. Who are the people whom you are honored to name and to continue to honor in your own life. What are your stories to both remember and to share? Blessings and Happy All Saint’s Sunday!
Bob Chance