My Very Own Cloud of Witnesses

NOTE: Wade is in surgery today, but we do have our first guest blogger. This post. comes to us from our beloved “baby” sister, Dale, a valued member of the Lazarus Project team.

They’ve added spice to my life–like a well-seasoned oven roast–in fact, I am who I am, in large part, because they’ve touched my life and I love them still, deeply in my heart. Though they are gone from this world, their fragrance is all around me. It’s kind of like those cookbooks, full of colorful photographs that almost let you taste each recipe.

Now, all at once, I’m crying, “I miss my mom.” Where did that come from? Is that deep calling to deep? Or did images of the delicious things she used to lovingly prepare for us, prompt a comforting albeit melancholy visit to my memory? Here are some of my favorite Mom-food moments:

Perfectly sautéed chicken livers on toothpicks, shared while the bird roasts in the oven.

The fragrance of chestnuts, roasting in that oven, but only on Thanksgiving.

A wonderfully stuffed artichoke.

Tasty meatballs in a hunk of crusty bread, swimming in spaghetti sauce.

Yum!

Thanks for the memories Mom. Yes, I miss her, but I believe a part of me has become a part of her and vice versa.

Then there are nano-particles of friends, Esther and Marilyn clinging to me like the fragrant smoke of their wood-burning stove we would sit around. I met them only four years ago, yet I weep more times than I can count because they have left us.

Because of them I’ll never be plain slice of bread again.

And then there’s Tess, who died so young. Once she wrote to me, calling me, “Beloved.” What an old soul! Who else could be so poetic and hilarious? Memories of her might make my nose itch from her cat’s dander, yet I remember her as a friend who loved me. Loves like hers sustain me today.

And then there’s Alice, dear Alice…what do I say about my best friend from high school?

Those who come into our lives and love us never really leave us completely. Some of their essence has infused our souls forever. They cling like a cosmic presence, only explained by the mighty workings of an omnipotent God. Didn’t he create us for these kind of relationships–to live in community with others? In a bygone day it was called “the communion of the saints.”

We are dust, yet He created us to yearn for these deep ties. The deaths of loved ones are tempered by the brush of  angel wings–spirits gone from sight, but still loved. And, they may be more than just memories if the writer of Hebrews is correct:  All these people inspire us still, surrounding us like a cloud of witnesses, so let us put aside things that keep us from doing right… and keep looking to Jesus. (Hebrews 12: 1-2, Our paraphrase).

King of the universe, we are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord, not only with those still here, but also with those departed. Help us to conduct our lives in a way that is worthy of their loving witness.

 

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