CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith and Life for the Years of Winter…
The older I get, the more I realize that whenever I do anything, it might be the last time I'll do that.
I did not know it was the last time I would pick up my granddaughter. I knew she was getting too big for me to pick her up much longer, but when the last time happened, I did not know it was the last time. I did not know that until later.
I could still pick my grandson up then, I think, except he won’t let anyone pick him up anymore. I did not know that the last time I picked him up, it was the last time.
I wish I could remember just what Brigid felt like in my arms the last time I picked her up. I wish I could remember just how Joseph wiggled that last time. If I had known they were last times… but I didn’t.
Life is like that. Last times come, and we usually don’t know they are last times until we are looking back. But we can’t remember them, not exactly. The last time melts back into all the other times. That’s okay. I can’t remember the last time, but I can remember holding Biddey and Joey. I can’t remember the last time I held their mother, and her sister, as little girls, either, but I remember those little girls.
I can’t remember my last conversation with Uncle Johnny, but I remember him, and how much he meant to me. I can’t remember the last time Aunt Nora bestowed her beatific smile on me, but I remember her, and her smile. I can’t remember the last time Grandma Mac beat me at Chinese checkers, but I remember that she was always proud of me, even when she beat me, which was every time.
Not only is it “not over ‘til it’s over,” in Yogi Berra’s memorable phrase, but we don’t know it’s over until it’s over, until it’s been over for a while.
Life is like that, and according to the Gospel of resurrection, death is like that. For three days, Jesus’ disciples were saying things like: “I didn’t know it was the last time he would break the bread…” And then, resurrection time, and he’s broken the bread for the last time for millions of people millions of times.
A personal note: I woke up this morning about 3:00, as I often do anymore. This being Easter morning, I automatically started praying for my departed friends. That list is so long now, but it is a joy to bring their names and faces before me and to pray for their resurrection. I have no idea what that means, but I find as I get older, I understand less, but I faith more. May we have peace, in our ignorance and in our faith, in the eternal now.