This last month has been one of the more dramatic Octobers of my life – which is actually saying something.
What began with a Sunday School kick-off and a wonderful 2nd Annual Irish Wake for my beloved late husband (#BradCon), nearly ended on the anniversary of his death when I slipped off the road and flipped his car in the midst of dense fog on our country road at 5:00 a.m. I was alone and remained conscious the entire time. And I walked away with only one piece of glass on me and some bruising, therefore making it to my 39th birthday the following week. Though I did spend over eight hours at the hospital where Brad died that day getting checked out. At the end of the following week, after my sons had already been suffering from adenovirus for seven days, I found myself with one vomiting in one room and the other managing to flip my nightstand and break his nose and gushing blood in another (yay #momlife). And then, the following Monday, came the fifth anniversary of my mom’s death at the hands of Alzheimer’s, which was very traumatic for both of us and I am still working through that complex grief. Yes, October was a bit dramatic.
And yet, to quote Elton John, I’m still standing…
Oddly enough, when I got to the end of my mother’s anniversary, I found myself remembering one of the very best and most important lessons she taught me: that hatred is entirely unacceptable. She drilled it into me from an extremely young age. That was an essential part of who my late husband was, too. And I found myself refreshed and refocused.
Because I believe, without a shadow of a doubt, that love is the thing we are meant to be fighting for. To be standing up with. To be rallying behind. Sometimes that looks like empowering the voiceless. Sometimes that looks like using whatever position we have to call out the hate. And sometimes it looks like ensuring justice and flourishing for all those who society and especially the church would cast out or hide or shame.
The anniversaries of the deaths of the two most important people in my life (save my children) reminded me of everything that I am meant to live for. And nearly dying, being surrounded by the cloud of witnesses that protected me that very dark morning on that curve, walking away with only small scars, reaffirmed the strength within me to continue the work those saints in my life began.
So in this week that we celebrate All Saints, which for Protestants includes everyone who is united into the body of Christ, hold tight to those memories that give you strength and then keep fighting the good fight that God began through them – in you.