For All the Saints: Living Life without Fear of Death Part Two

Connor brought much joy to all who knew him.

Connor brought much joy to all who knew him.

On September 21 I wrote about “Living Life Without Fear of Death”  
and received several comments on Facebook from friends who said that it seemed I had ended my thoughts abruptly, and I agree (in fact, I went back and added “to be continued …” to my post). One reason is that sweet-faced boy you see in the photo above, my grandson Connor. Because no matter how much I believe in eternal life and don’t fear my own death, losing a loved one–well, that’s another story.

In the earlier post I shared about the death of my father. When I was five my mother remarried, and my stepfather, a widower, became the only father I remember. Along with a new daddy, my brother and I acquired three new sisters (all grown up and married) and three new brothers (one almost grown; a year later we all welcomed our youngest brother and sister, twins. A little over four years later, just after she turned 41 and shortly before I turned 11, my mother died from leukemia. I remember our pastor saying at her funeral that, although she didn’t want to leave her six young children, she was curious about what she would find on the other side and not afraid. But losing a loved one–well, that’s another story.

Today is All Saints’ Sunday, when, in the United Methodist Church, we recognize and honor all in our church who have died since last All Saints’ Sunday. As the names were read this morning, my heart ached for my son and daughter-in-law and Connor’s little sister; for all the family and friends that loved him; for myself. Because of his cerebral palsy, Connor couldn’t speak or walk, but he could love and laugh and share his sweet smile. When he left this life on May 3, I believe he entered into a new life, with freedom to run and play and sing and dance, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a place in my heart that will never be filled. I choose to live life without fear of my own death, but losing a loved one–well, that’s another story.

Sharing the Journey

In the assignment for day 8 of blogging 101, Michelle W. told us at least 2 things that I can vouch for: when you leave a substantive comment, you make the original post that much richer, drawing others into the discussion; & because engaging in conversation is inspiring, you never know where (or who) your next post idea will come from.

On Sept. 17 I shared a few thoughts in a post I called “Making Connections.” The comments made on that post, plus those on Facebook and in private messages, nudged me to give more thought to the purpose of “Shining Through: Seeing God in the Everyday.” Originally I planned to make it primarily a photography blog, to share what I’d learned about photography as a spiritual practice, with the hope that maybe others would find inspiration and look at the world around them more thoughtfully–or, as one of my favorite songs puts it, with “Spirit Eyes.” That goal remains, with the added one of sharing my spiritual journey and encouraging others. I assume that potential readers of my blog would either be at some point on their own spiritual journey or seeking. Why else would they even be interested in it?

As a Christian I am often saddened by the examples of “Christian” attitudes that make the news–judgmental, condemning, sometimes even hateful. I want my blog to be a place where others can find encouragement, inspiration, compassion and hope. I believe we all need those things, especially in these times of such deep division and acrimony in politics, culture, and religion–even among members of the same faith tradition or local congregation.

Instead of one of my own photos, today I’m sharing this quote from Madeleine L’Engle. I believe her words could apply to any situation, not just religious.

L'Engle QuoteI welcome your comments!

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Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place!

Image

Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place!For the past 20 years or so of my life, one of the places I’ve most strongly felt the presence of the Holy Spirit is Blue Lake United Methodist Assembly, particularly in the chapel, where I captured this image. Retreats, opportunities to learn about missions, the people I’ve met and the natural beauty of the setting contributed to, and continue to be a part of, my progress on my spiritual journey.