Friday, January 31, 2014

"Those whose lives are closely linked with ours."

It's one of my favorite prayers in the "prayers of the people" from our Book of Common Prayer:
Bless all whose lives are closely linked with ours, and grant that we may serve Christ in them, and love one another as Christ loves us.
Lives are closely linked to ours in a variety of ways -- family of origin and family of choice; friends and colleagues; those with us in this realm and those now part of the greater life in the communion of saints.

And this week -- given the gift of time that a sabbatical leave provides -- I've had the chance to spend a bunch of time with lives closely linked with mine ... many who died before I was born. They were members of Louise's family -- and because we were family to each other they were linked to me.

Louise was the custodian of the family archives and so we had boxes and boxes ... and boxes ... of photos, albums and memorabilia -- and getting them sorted and shipped off to appropriate family members had been on the "to do" list for a long time. And this week was the week.

From her mother's side of the family was the Mason family Bible with births and marriages back to the mid-1800's. Old daguerreotypes of soldiers in uniform and women in wedding dresses. Pictures of Louise's grandmother -- who looked amazingly like Louise at her age -- and postcards from her great-grandmother's trip to California for a wedding in 1922, sent to Louise's mom with photos of Long Beach, Pasadena and Eagle Rock.

Sorting through -- and then packing up -- all these outward and visible signs of the lives and stories I heard about over the years from Louise and her family gave me the chance to give thanks all over again for the family we were to each other -- and for the legacy of love that ties us through the generations to those who've gone before.

So I'm grateful -- not only for the gift of the time to finally get it all shipped off to Colorado but for the gift of those whose lives are closely linked with ours.

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