One of my morning rituals as I drink my first cup of coffee is to check obituaries in the newspaper where I live. Having lived and ministered in the same area for 43 years, this practice has become a way to remember and pray for families that I have encountered during different periods in my life. I am constantly more conscious of the diversity of ages of people who have died – from the very old to the very young – as well as the manner in which they passed, whether quickly or after a long period of suffering.
In today’s gospel selection (LK 12:35-38) Luke recounts the parable of the servants who are waiting for their master to come back from a wedding feast. He cautions them to be ready no matter what time he comes. For me, this parable highlights the necessity of finding a balance between vigilance and peace in life. I need to be ready at any time to let go of this life (which has been very good to me!), knowing that I have done my best to love God, others and myself each day. At the same time, I need to be calm about what I feel is as yet unfinished and not worry about what death will be like when it comes. This is not always an easy task but waking up every day choosing to walk forward into whatever awaits is a willingness practice that I find reassuring. Trusting that God and I are on the same wavelength keeps me putting one foot in front of the other – moving as I’m able, always toward the light.