Tomorrow is Easter Sunday. In the past this would mean a trip to the local park for an assembly of children and parents searching for hidden Easter eggs. It would have been a sunrise service at your church or a gathering of parishioners in remembrance of Jesus death on the cross. This year Easter is being celebrated in very different ways. The public gatherings are gone. The church doors are closed. And the only Easter egg hunt is happening in your home or backyard. But what about the families who have lost loved ones to the Coronavirus? How do they "celebrate" this time of year when only weeks or months ago their lives changed forever? How does one move on in a world where everything is standing still?
The shortest sentence in the Bible is, "Jesus wept" (John 11:35). His friend Lazarus had died and he was brought to the place and cried. When those around him saw his grief they said, "Look how much he loved him." Grief is how we express our loss. The deeper the love, the harder the loss and the deeper the grief. Tears help us heal. The pouring out of our grief is hard, but holding onto grief only delays healing. Remember those who died, celebrating their lives through remembrance, photos, and treasures that have been collected through their lives. Share those gifts and the stories of how they came to be a part of your loved one's life and that symbol of love will remain for generations to come.
I have a collection of photo albums of my family from generations past. Many of the people in those photos I never met and don't even know who they are. There are no stories to accompany the photos, no letters or notes, and everyone who was alive at the time they were taken is gone. The pictures have no meaning, no memory, and no value for me. Yet I hold onto them because they were important to my grandmother. I wish I could have sat down with her and listened to her tell me who they were. Why were they important to her that she kept them in her family photo album? What stories I could have heard, laughter we could have shared, and the experiences of her childhood that could have opened the closed doors of a life.
We have been given a gift; time. The virus that has driven us into our homes is forcing us to be with family. The gift, if we take it, is time together. To share memories from the past and make new memories for the future. We should collect our pictures, pull them off social media, download them from our phones, and assemble them into photos albums. We should write down stories about what the photos are saying. We should identify the locations, the times, and the treasured memories. We should laugh together and let the laughter and tears mix into pooled memories of love. We are given this gift of time. Let's not waste it.
"We love because he first loved us."
1 John 4:19 (NIV)
Day 63: Memory