all saints day

Today is All Saints Day, the day we remember our friends and family who have passed on. I've been fortunate in this regard. Oh, I've lost the requisite grandparents and a dog and a cat, but all of our parents, siblings, and children are still alive. Not that I haven't had losses; I don't mean that. But the ones I've lost aren't dead yet. Someday I'll talk about that. Not today.

The dead don't need a body to be with us. I believe that. Some people may call it memory, but memory is a viable, living thing. (Just ask Old Aunt Mary.) Some people may call it influence, but influence endures well past the body. (Just ask the grown son of an abusive father.) Some may call them ghosts or energy, but those are just terms to know the unknowable, to define faith, to defend the indefensible.

We always strive to put human conditions on godly concerns. If you pray, have you ever put a beloved grandparent's face on God, just to feel as if you're talking to someone familiar? What if Angels and Archangels and all the Host of Heaven wear the faces of those you knew and loved; and demons, too, have the faces of hated betrayers from your past? What if your family is all around you, always, watching out for you? Some people might call it a "nice" concept, somewhat condescendingly, but no harm comes from such a belief. In fact, much good may come from it.

I've heard it said that death is proof that there is no god. But without death, we could not know the wonder of newborns and toddlers and children. We would have overrun the world long ago. All Saints gives us a chance to acknowledge what the universe dealt us. It's not about understanding so much as it is about acceptance. That can have nothing to do with God and everything to do with living well and right.

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