Back in 2008, when I was new in town as UCS’s interim minister, I mentioned in what was probably the newsletter column that I’d be interested in getting a tour of the town by someone who knew it well.
Immediately I heard back from someone named George Bailey. It was a long, energetic email, full warmth, personal details, commentary on the church, and an invite to take a ride through town that week, followed by dinner at his home with his wife Lucy.
We rode through the streets of Sharon in George’s old car and talked about everything- his life, my life, the presidential race, being a parent, urban use theorist, and what a difference a sidewalk makes. Dinner with Lucy in their large old home was a delicious healthy meal made from that week’s farmer’s market crop. It was an amazing evening with two very alive bright kind people in their 80’s.
A year and a half later, George was gone. Cancer claimed him, and he met his death with the same curiosity, openness, peacefulness and strength that he lived his life. He was one of several wonderful elders- Ira Gray, Irving Post, Bev Kinraide also come to mind- who passed away around that time. Each a blessing to their families, communities, friends, and congregation.
I mention these of blessed memory not only because we will hold the annual All Souls Service this Sunday, October 31rd. I mention them because there is something about this time of year, fully into autumn, with the poignancy of earth’s passage into winter and sense that all is drawing into itself that stirs us to think of those gone. And stirs us to remember that time is finite for all of us.
November is upon us. May we draw strength from those good souls who live in our memories, from the eternal truths of the earth, and from each other. Alive or gone, we are one another’s greatest treasures.