May 24, 2020
Hi, Unity Family & Friends,
The lesson title for this week is “Willing Sacrifice” in honor of Memorial Day. You can find the Sunday lesson by clicking on the link near the end of this letter.
I remember on Memorial Days long past when I was a child, I would accompany my Aunt Dorothy to the cemetery and help her clean up and plant flowers on the grave of her mother (my grandmother Katie). She took care of that grave not only on Memorial Day, but weekly for the remaining 40 years of her life! And I did not understand it at the time. I instinctively knew that my grandmother was not there but was off in the Spirit world somewhere.
Now I understand that the grave was like a touchstone for Dorothy, a way by which she could remember and honor her mother. Even though she too believed her mom had gone on, she was able to still show her love and caring through this gesture.
I never had that same kind of need. My parents are buried in the same cemetery. My mother was cremated but still wanted to be placed next to my father. She passed 18 years after my father, and that was the one and only time I saw both of their graves. In visits to Salt Lake City through the years, I have never gone back to see them. I feel like I commune with them both often and feel absolutely no need to show my love by visiting their graves; but on the other hand, I respect and understand those who do.
Memorial Day became more than just recognizing our fallen veterans. It has for many been a time of honoring those ancestors who have passed on. I always think of it as both. I remember my Uncle Max, my mom’s brother, who served twice during the Vietnam War. He did not fall in battle but died later from the effects of Agent Orange. He was in his 50’s and had found joy in a new career, teaching Kindergarten children. The entire school grieved when he did not survive surgery. I always remember his heroism, his kindness, his deep faith in his religion (Mormon) and yet his complete open mindedness and lack of prejudice toward others. Because he lived in a handful of states and countries, it made him different than religious people I have known who never venture beyond their hometown.
I find myself thinking of my Uncle Max on this Memorial Day weekend and also my mom and dad and Aunt Dorothy and the flowers she planted for my Grandmother Katie. Soldiers, including my uncle, have made sacrifices that have helped to preserve our freedom. Other loved ones who have gone beyond also made different kinds of sacrifices that continue to bless us in our lives now. Some we will never know about, but we can assume that each ancestor has played some part in paving the way for our present. I hope you join me in sending out a prayer for soldiers everywhere and for ancestors who have preceded us in death. May they all be blessed!
Here is the link to today's talk: https://youtu.be/0BunKsPq0HY
Love & blessings,
Rev. Kathy McCall