Today in the church world, we honor the Saints who have gone before us. In churches that I have served we typically light candles as we name those who have passed over the past year and then we invite members to come forward to light candles to remember saints in their lives. Sometimes we even ring bells as candles are lit. The light of the candles are poignant when remembering our saints. They are lights that shine brightly and glimmer with what we infuse into them…stories, prayers, pieces of our hearts.
Saints in our lives don’t have to be the most exceptional. They probably weren’t even those who have been officially recognized as saints or even recognized by others as saints. Saints that mean the most to us come in all sorts of personalities, shapes, sizes and characters. The official Saints of the Church world go through rigorous standards and ideals but those saints closest to us are our saints because they meant something to us, they helped to transform us. They were saints because we remember them so dearly and are close to our every thought.
The saints in our lives are the ones that keep coming up in stories. They are remembered and brought back to us by remembering how they would be in this moment. They are the ones we talk about fondly, present or past. They are not perfect but they influenced how we move in the world. Lately I have been thinking a ton about my friend Geoff…he would be the first to say he wasn’t a Saint but he keeps popping up and I realize that he was a saint in my life. He wasn’t perfect by any stretch and had his many faults but I keep thinking I want to call him to talk to him about my life because he was always present, always wise and supportive and always a close and dear and generous person for me and I can’t imagine how his life didn’t include pandemic stories. He passed way too soon/too young and he will have a candle lit today in his memory for me.
My grandparents, Bill and Helen, are part of our family’s saints. We quote them at every family event and there are items in each of our homes that are of them. We carry them with us and we all talk about them often. I am certain my partner is getting tired of hearing grandma and grandpa stories. They are hallowed. They will have candles lit today.
These are just a few examples and more will come to mind. I will name them and remember them.
Who are your saints?