This morning, a cautionary tale. The lesson: stay always in the present moment. It is all that we ever can depend on.
This morning I will attend a memorial Mass for a man I did not know. He was 80 years old and came into my consciousness when a woman I have been acquainted with for many years, a widow important to our local church community, re-connected with him. They had known each other in their youth – dated even, I believe, – and found very quickly this time that they were so happy together that there was no reason not to commit to each other in marriage. And so they did – about 18 months ago. She said she had never been happier and it clearly showed on her smiling face. Some time in the latter part of 2017, they were told he had cancer.
I don’t know what these last months have been like for her. I can only speculate on the mix of emotions that have played in her every day. Some people would most likely be raging against a God who was seen as a cruel trickster. Others would, no doubt, be thankful for the unexpected and glorious gift of joy shared so late in life. My sense of this faithful, prayerful woman is that gratitude will win out even as the sadness of loss becomes a frequent companion.
I can imagine what our conversation might be about today if we are lucky enough to share a moment before the ritual. I expect that her faith will be evident as always, her gratitude for the family that has pledged to remain present to her will be expressed and that she will have a treasure chest of memories to carry with her into the future. Most of all, I expect that she will be glad for having taken a risk for such a gift from a God whose ways may not be our ways but who sometimes offers amazing opportunities to those awake enough to say “YES!”