All Saints is an important day in the Church year where we honor (depending on which Christian stream you ask) those who have died “in the faith.” This is a particularly important day for me because there are so many people from church history who I owe so much to. There are so many in the great cloud of witness that have shaped my life and made me who I am.
I am in debt to all those who have tread the wilds paths of the wilderness of faith before me.
This All Saints is a little different for me. I have done a lot of study on the Mexican Holy-day knows as The Day of the Dead. I have been so moved at how their culture remembers and honors those who have passed from this life.
It has been a convicting experience learning about the history and practices of The Day of the Dead. In the past I have not done a particularly good job at remembering my family members who have passed form this life. In the last 10 years I have lost two grandfathers, a grandmother, an aunt, and an uncle and the wounds from their death feel just as fresh today as they did on the day I received the news of their passing. So naturally I have avoided even talking about them as much as humanly possible. It is not that I do not want to remember them. It is just that their absence in this life has left a void in my heart that, at times, has felt nearly unbearable.
This year I wanted to do things differently. I wanted to honor them in ways that I had been unable to in years passed. Primarily I wanted to intentionally remember them with my two sons who have no memory of any of the family members we have lost either due to infancy or having not yet been born.
I want to keep the stories of my family alive. I want to pass it on to my children. I want them to know where they came from, who they came from, and how we got where we did.
Iw ant them to know about the awful nicknames my Grandpa Jim would call me.
I want them to know about how their great- Uncle eddy loved their father like he was his own son.
I want them to know about how their Maw Dunn would seemed to never quit talking.
I want them to know about how their Great-Aunt Nellie was one of the most eccentric people that has ever walked this earth.
I want them to know about how their Great Grandpa Cagle was the a man of integrity beyond that of any other man I have ever met.
I want them to know the good, the bad, the hilarious antics, and the broken parts of the lives that have shaped me and their mother. The lives that were beautiful and deserve to be remembered.
During a lesson on the day fo the dead this past Sunday I had a thought (though probably not original to me) about a possible way I could honor their lives and help teach their stories to my boys. I thought it would be super cool to create a playlist of some of their favorite songs and music. Music is such an important aspect of our household and you can tell so much about someone by the music they listen too so this year I made and All Saints playlist to share with my sons the songs loved by our loved ones who have passed from this life.
How are you honoring the great cloud of witness that have made you who you are?