Thought for the week, 29th October; Goodbye and Hello

The coming week is when in the Christian Church we remember All Saints and All Souls; if you like the heroes of faith and the rest of us, although that is not a distinction I suspect the writers of the New or perhaps the Old Testament would have been entirely comfortable with. Regardless of this, in our benefice and in many other churches, we will recall those who have died, especially those in the last 12 months. Hard on this, in two weeks time we recall those who have fallen in war, especially members of our armed forces. 

As many will know, my own father died in August, so I will have a particular interest in remembering the deceased this time round. It takes time to come to terms with loss; for some it can be a very long process. But, for many reasons it is something we have to go through. As I have entered into that process, I have been deeply struck by some words of my spiritual director, a person I regularly visit to help me look into my own soul. She commented that we need to eventually say goodbye to the dead so that we can then start to say hello again to them. By that she meant that by acknowledging that the deceased are no longer physically present, we can than enter into a new relationship with them based on our memories and acknowledging the ways in which they have moulded us. My All Souls’ project is to make a frame for a picture of Dad to put in the workshop where he used to work and where I now enjoy his tools and the skills he taught me. It is my way of acknowledging that new relationship we now have, and the union that we still enjoy as members of the body of Christ, living and departed.