November is a transitional month. The deepening darkness of each day, along with the gradual movement from the golden colors of autumn to the white silence of winter, beckons to a secret part of my self. This quieting movement definitely pulls me inward, beckoning me to a inner, womb-like world where the rapid pace of life slows to a peace-filled hiddenness. When I reach that unseen realm within me, I come in touch with the goodness that filled my soul at birth, the goodness I do not usually pay attention to or may doubt is presence.
The liturgical celebration of All Saints Day on November 1st draws me into a passageway of reverent mystery. As I grow older, I feel increasingly in touch with my spiritual ancestors. I believe the bond we had with our loved ones when they were alive remains firm even though they are no longer physically with us. When I celebrate All Saints Day, I honor not only the officially canonized saints of the church but all dear persons whose lives reflect goodness (God-ness).
Awhile ago I received a letter from a friend who is mourning the loss of a beloved one in her life. Dorothy wrote: “Everyday I ask Honor to gift me with the best of her.” I understood immediately what Dorothy meant. After a close friend of mine died, I thought a lot about how compassionate he was. It occurred to me after his death that I had rarely ever heard him speak negatively about anyone. In addition, he was able to forgive those who hurt him and release the burden that non-forgiveness adds to the heart. Since his death, I’ve tried to follow that example, to withhold my unkind comments and let go of resentments and hostilities. I think this is what Dorothy meant by having “the best” of someone deceased continue on in our life. Doing so is not only a wonderful way to honor these good people by remembering their “best,” but it is also a source of encouragement for us to try to live in the most gracious way possible.
By asking our loved ones to gift us with their positive qualities, our lives, too, can have God-ness shining through them. This November, let’s cast our glance back to those dear ones who left us the essence of their goodness. As we ponder their qualities and pray to have these traits come alive more fully in us, “the best” of our loved ones will continually live on in us and be a blessing for others.
© Joyce Rupp