Wednesday, November 6, 2013

For All the Saints

My mom and my oldest wearing the Baptism outfit she made for him.

Since Sunday, I have been constantly singing a song in my head. We sing it every year for All Saints Sunday. It starts out, “For all the saints, who from their labors rest ...” As with all hymns, it goes on for at least four – 45 verses. When we got to this one, my voice cracked with emotion:

O blest communion, fellowship divine!
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
yet all are one in thee, for all are thine.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

I thought of my mama, my Granny Kate, Papa Pierce, Grandmama Ovice and Papa George – their faces a glow, their bodies healed, their minds clear, their hearts full of love and goodness. As you know from my last post, I have some religious baggage. Sometimes I’m not sure what I believe. It took many years for me to even be comfortable sitting in a church again. After many internal battles – and some that continue to rage on – I had to arrive at a place where I admitted, “I don’t know, but I believe.” After all, isn’t that the purpose of faith? It’s about believing in things you can’t see, trusting that your life matters and is part of a bigger plan – a higher purpose. As I was singing this hymn, it hit me. They are why I’m here. It’s “For All the Saints” – the saints in my life – that I am drawn to church in the first place. Christianity was important to them. It’s how they were raised and defined who they were. I may have my issues, my doubts and my concerns – especially when others use the Bible and the Christian faith to justify their intolerance and flat out hatefulness toward others. There are some doctrines and dogma that I don’t feel comfortable with – but there is a lot I do feel comfortable with. Those are the messages of love, acceptance, humility, generosity and caring for the community.

Granny, Papa and Mama.

As my throat choked with tears, I tried to imagine us all together again. I imagined myself in Granny and Papa’s living room. They were in their respective recliners. Mama was there too. Everything decorated exactly as it has been since I was a little girl. Then I imagined Papa and Grandmama’s house before it looked like a convalescent home. The little propane heater humming. Papa sitting in his chair with his spit cup (snuff: it’s a Southern thing). Grandmama sitting in her rocker sharing the family news or talking about something that Preacher Moore said. How I wished I could go back in time and have everything be safe, warm and familiar for just a moment.

But, I can’t. And that’s why All Saints Day, All Hallow’s Day, All Soul’s Day or whatever you call it is important. It’s important to remember. Even if it makes us sad to reflect, those who come before us are a part of who we are. For that, I am thankful. They instilled in me a desire to be a better person, a good mama, a caring friend, to love my neighbors, and importantly for this blog, to be a good cook. I do it for myself, but I also do it for them – for all the saints.

Grandmama and Papa.

For All the Cooks
If you're new to the blog or missed these posts in the past, here are my favorite recipe posts related to my family. I truly believe that cooking and eating is another way we can all be together again as well!

I hope to be back with some more favorite family recipes and remembrances real soon!

No comments:

Post a Comment