Dates matter

Some dates are important.

They need to be remembered on the day they happened.

Birthdays.

Weddings.

Graduations.

For me, I love to remember the happy things in life. 

For the not so happy things, whilst I think it is important to remember them, I don’t want specific dates to be associated with them. For example, I don’t want Christmas to be spoiled because something sad happened in my world just before or after it.

Or so I thought. 

Turns out I seem to find the dates of the sad things important too. 

I had to stay late at work today. It was busy, things had to be done. I had planned to visit the cemetery. I’ve been there on an off for the past year and half or so. I don’t really enjoy it – I don’t think one is supposed to have a good time there, but I am always glad I’ve been. 

Today, having planned to go, and then finding that it might not be possible, I discovered that I really did care about going on a significant date. 

As it is June, it was actually still light enough after I left work, so I decided to pay a quick visit. (gates were open, but once I had parked it seems that the cemetery is actually closed to ‘visitors’. It had been such an emotional rollercoaster of a day that I decided to ignore the signs and stood for a few moments at the foot of the final earthly resting place of both my mum and dad. 

As I stood, I reflected on the world that we live in. The unprecedented impact of Covid-19, the protests in the USA, London and beyond. I wondered what mum and dad would have made of it all. On one hand I am glad that they are free from all the change and risk that Covid-19 has brought, on the other, I wish I was able to talk to them about it, to learn from their experience.

I wondered how they would have coped with things like church by Zoom, and not being able to give their grandchildren a hug. 

The strange thing about faith, at least the faith that I have, and that I know my parents shared, is that whilst I would give almost anything to have them here with me right now, I know with absolute assurance that they are in a much, much better place. I know that I will see them again. I know that if I could but glimpse the experience they were currently having, I would want to be there more than I want them back here.

The Apostle Paul summed that up well when he wrote “For me, to live is Christ, to die is gain.” He understood that co-labouring with Christ here on earth was often a painful, but always worth it experience. He also knew that finding himself with Christ on the other side of death was infinitely better. 

I believe that too. It doesn’t always stop the tears though.

It was important that I went today. 

I miss them both.