There is something about All Souls’ Day, coupled with All Saints’ Day, that stirs something up within me. Last year, it was a post reflecting (albeit briefly) on the promise and hope of eternal life. Now a year later, in a very different place but among the same set of days I find myself reflecting once again on the importance of these days- not just these holy days but the days that we live out each day of our lives.
As I write this, I think back on the past few days; days of reflection, deep connection, and exploration. And in this moment, on this All Souls’ Day, two things strike me.
The first is contained in the last few days, which have been full of connection- of realizing the awesomeness of this life, no matter how unknown or unknowable it is at times, and having those in my life who are willing to help me and be with me in genuinely and sincerely recognizing that. Truly it is a blessing to have such people in my life, to have the ability to share, and to find where God is acting and speaking deep within me by journeying with them.
The reminders abound and blessings are aplenty. Today, as I wrapped up a long day in a long week leading up to the health fair I’ve been planning for this Sunday, a message came into my inbox. There at the end of a business e-mail lay a signal, one of those blessings & reminders:
“What a beautiful sky today. Hope you had a chance to see it.”
And then I paused. I looked out the front door of the community center toward the sky peeking through the iron work of the El and between the row houses across the street.
Had I seen it? No. I hadn’t had a chance.
Among the hustle and bustle of the day, I hadn’t seen the sky that was so beautiful; the sky that caught the eye enough to warrant a line, moved enough within someone to be put into words for me. It had been there the whole time, but somehow I had missed it. The chance for today was gone.
Not that I didn’t see the beauty around me- a coworker feeling appreciated by recognition of a haircut, a movement of the Spirit during the sign of Peace, homemade pie and homegrown appreciation, a volunteer coming into her own in a space she finds safety in, and conversation far beyond the boundaries of cordial office chatter. All of it was meaningful and beautiful.
Still, I wish I could have seen the beauty of that sky. The chance beauty found and shared by another. While I know it will be there tomorrow, somehow having missed it today is missing a connection. A connection with another soul, with the moment, with God.
That leads me to my second sentiment for this All Souls’ Day. It surfaced at Mass this morning. Reflecting on the readings for the day and the meaning behind this day of remembrance and, ultimately, celebration, Fr. Bruce honed in on a very certain point about this day and the end of this life: When all that is, will be God.
I sat with that phrase for a while, considering in all my humanity what it was meant to say to my soul. First, I faced the meaning in it, that at the end of this life as we draw close to God and enter into the Kingdom to come, all that we encounter in the joy and glory of that moment will be God. In that moment of being in a way we have never been before, all will be as it is and will be God. Such divinity and sanctity- to find at the end of known being, not simply the unknown, but the grace-filled, triumphant moment of being one with God- completely unknown yet known inexplicably in the depths of our soul.
That moment is one held in faith. Rested and grounded in the confidence of the promises of Christ. It is the result of a life well lived- a life that seeks unity. One that strives to discover and be present to all that is and, in the process, recognizes that all of this is and always will be God. It is in this that the soul rests.
Today, I find that that is what my soul can rest in and I pray that all those who have passed from this life are enjoying that- a place, a space, a being where all that is is God. That is serenity. It is what I seek in this life, and as I draw closer to God that sensation of nearing that being is but a foretaste of what is to come. It is the sensation of finding God in the moment; being united with others and through them God; uncovering beauty among the mundane- even if it only peeks through the iron grate of the El, the smallest window of a soul shared, or the call from another to take a chance to see it in what has been there all along.