There was a time in my life — really, most of it — when the idea of seeing a close friend faithfully once a year would have made no sense to me.
“How close can they really be if you only see them once a year?” I can hear myself asking. “What’s ‘faithful’ about that?”
I would answer that differently now.
Because add children, new houses, diagnoses, caring for aging parents, and a little bad weather, and the long-planned dinner or weekend in the country doesn’t happen.
Pastors work on weekends, of course. Sadly, now we are far from alone in that — today, who doesn’t?
And so, life teaches us to write so many things on our calendar only in pencil because, yes…great…looking forward to it…unless…..
…There is always “unless”….
Maybe that’s why it feels more truly faithful to me than it once would have to make the commitment of “even if” in the face of so much “unless…”
To make sure it happens, somehow, that one time.
Because, really, how many people remember our parents back when they were young — in the days when they were ten years younger than we are now?
How many people need little to no context for our news because they immediately get what it really means?
How many people does it lift our hearts just to see? Isn’t it healing for us just to remember that, somewhere on the planet, they’re around?
It doesn’t take long to remember, provided we are committed to remembering.
And there is something deeply faithful about that, too.
So much of faith is a commitment to memory.
Remembering who we really are.
Remembering what lies below the surface of our lives — and of all Creation.
Remembering what matters in a world where most things eventually pass away, but in which the deepest and most important ones are eternal.
Remembering to stay connected to those things.
Remembering the stories and communities that have sustained us and helped us find our place.
It reminds us, too, that faith is so much more than what we “believe in” or “stand for,” important as those are.
It is how we understand ourselves as rooted in all life.
In the end, what is holier than that?
May these be days of memory and connection — or reconnection — for all of us. May we find the power of “even if” for every “unless” that would distract us.
See you in church,