“Doesn’t everything die at last,
And too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?”
- Mary Oliver, “The Summer Day”
I used those words in my sermon this past Sunday. Today I took a ride upriver to the tiny town of Plattenville, where I visited some of my ancestors. This particular slab holds the names of my paternal grandparents, an aunt, an uncle, 3 cousins, and my parents.
Since the late 1800s, we’ve been laid to rest in the cemetery connected to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church in Plattenville. It’s a lovely setting, surrounded by sugar cane fields on one side and a bayou on the other.
I went to pay respect and to say thank you and to be embraced by family history. I “told” my family that I’d soon be leaving home to pursue some wild and precious retirement dreams in Flagstaff, AZ. I remembered the picture of the Grand Canyon that hung in a place of honor in my grandparents’ home in Old Metairie, a picture that I now have. I gave thanks to my parents for taking me there when I was 13, and for a trip back there with both of them when I was 44, and another one with my Dad a few years later.
My parents died too young; that will always make me sad. They also lived good and full lives. My Mom was beautiful, creative, and kind. My Dad was loud, intelligent, and kind. They loved my brother and me well. They weren’t perfect, of course, but they lived fully.
I think they would be glad that I am headed off to pursue a big dream in a new place.
I said on Sunday that change is hard, and I am feeling that. It is also gift. What a joy to get to pursue dreams!
And for Grace: What bliss to be able to follow Jesus in new ways! What a gift that God keeps calling us and keeps offering new chances to be more faithful! What exquisite joy it is to live in grace, whatever is happening around us!
God is good. All the time.
Grace and peace,