Greetings on this the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord
Readings: Mal 3:1-4; PS 24:7, 8, 9, 10; Heb 2:14-18; Lk 2:22-40
This will be the third installment and the common Grief page links all three.
Friday, February 5th, 2021 will be one year since the death of my Mom.
I love the phrase “My Mom” or “My Dad”.
Whenever someone is talking to me or in a pastoral setting with me I always listen for how we identify the other important people in our lives. Sometimes I listen for the name and sometimes I listen for the identity.
Your Name is how we know you different from everyone else.
Your Identity is how we know you are known by others.
Your Name and Identity often get intermingled by their meaning and the changes in life that occur.
Abram becomes Abraham. Jacob becomes Israel. Simon becomes Peter. Saul becomes Paul.
In heaven, “I shall also give a white amulet upon which is inscribed a new name, which no one knows except the one who receives it (Rev 2:17b).”
Who were you?
During the 1st year of grief we get a glimpse or new insights of who they were. Mom was Mom, yes. But she was also niece, granddaughter, grandmother, sister, etc. In the early days of grief we get a powerful reminder with the visitations, and funeral/burial practices.
Throughout the year, usually, we gain further insights. Random people contact us with a new connection made, distant people are notified with stories to share, old letters read, photo albums reviewed and other gems of ‘who’ come into view.
Who are you?
If you believe that we continue on (no judgment here on how/what you believe) then no doubt in the times sensing way, we wonder ‘who are you now?’ For some belief systems: regeneration, for others, a dream-filled journey on the river, for another, nothingness and for others still, a participation in the Divine Life in a new and spectacular way.
Who will you become?
If the old saying is true, “The only constant is change”, then we must wonder the question, “Who are you becoming?’ How are you changing? For my tradition we speak of moving from purgatory to the beatific vision as one major shift. The other would be what does it mean to say, “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working (John 5:17).
Grief is a processing of all the above. In a very real way, how we engage these questions about the loved one lost is how we understand ourselves: were, are, and will be.
Perhaps Simeon’s answer is the best of all. After a year of bereavement and grief, gaining reflection of all we know and hope to be we can join the perspective of Simeon:
Now, Master, you may let your servant goLuke 2:29-32
in peace, according to your word,
for my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples:
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and glory for your people Israel.
Be at peace
You were, you are and you will be. May your name change too. Expansive in love, tolerant in judgment and merciful to all in need including yourself.
Peace be with you,