On a recent Tuesday afternoon, I had the esteemed distinction of spending a few precious moments with George. With cane hanging over his right arm and holding his cellphone in his left hand, he stood at the door and asked if he might take a few pictures of our sanctuary. He proudly showed me the pictures he had already taken of the exterior as he explained that on that day, seventy years ago, he and his beloved bride were married in this very place.
Tears filled his eyes as he told me that one day before the seventy years of marriage celebration, his cherished wife made her transition from this world. I shared my thoughts and words of condolence for his loss. He told me of some of the difficult moments he had making his way in life without her physically by his side. With that, his body straightened as he expressed gratitude for the memories of their life together. “We traveled a lot” he said “and we had so much fun together”. He continued with a smile.
We walked on and when I opened the doors to the sanctuary he exclaimed “Yes, this is just as I remember it!” George slowly walked down the aisle once again taking in all the beauty and richness of our sacred space. It was as though he was reliving the very moments of his marriage ceremony as we walked. He stood in the front and I asked if I might take his photo for him to share with his family. “Well, that would be nice.” he replied and added instructions to take a video of him in the church as well. He walked around the sanctuary and took note of the layer upon layer of crown molding that remains to this day, just as George remembered it.
George then shared with me that he grew up on a farm near Irving, Texas and met his wife at college. He knew from their first meeting that she was his “someone special” although it took a little longer for his wife to share this notion. He told me too, that he was in the army and was sent to Hiroshima. His job was to go into areas after the bombing in order to measure radiation levels. Tears fell from his eyes and rolled down his still handsome face as he spoke of the challenging times of life. Suddenly, he added, “We had such a beautiful life together, we had so much fun with each other. I am grateful for the life we had.” George drew upon his gratitude each time thoughts of sadness crept into his memory.
I couldn’t allow George to leave without showing him the courtyard and the majestic live oak that resides there. The courtyard was added some time after the church became Unity. He, like so many others, stood in awe of Katherine’s Courtyard. “You’ve done a wonderful job of keeping this church up,” he commented. He then told me that at 92 years of age, he doesn’t get out to church on Sunday morning any longer but I just might see him one day!
On an ordinary Tuesday afternoon, this divine appointment with George, made extraordinary moments. How fortunate I am to have been gifted time with George. I must wonder how I can see these gifted encounters every day with each person I meet. Not only the obvious ones, such as George, but every encounter. How might life’s richness express if I am fully engaged and aware the each and every person I meet in the course of a day is a divine appointment.
I was moved by how the memories of his life took him from sadness to joy and that George willingly expressed each emotion. I was inspired by his equally willing shift to gratitude for the joys and love of his life. I too am grateful. I am grateful for moments such as these that remind me so brilliantly that we are indeed here for each other. We are the endless, permeable, inseparable web of humanity. Such is the mystery and magic of this life.
Please join me Sunday for “Keys to the Kingdom – Let go of the Past” after the celebration service I travel to Unity Village and will return in time to celebrate the Divine Masculine on Father’s Day (June 17th) and for the ordained ceremony. I do hope you will join me for this extraordinary moment. You have been with me each step of the journey and it will be my great joy to share this moment with you!
Gratitude and joy,