Today is All Saints Day. Often I take time during this day to honor those who have gone before me and have taken up residence in my mind as Saints around me.
This year, as I reflect on those who have gone before me I am so grateful for those in the cloud of witnesses but also those gathering in community now. It seems like a saintly activity to gather after the many months we could not gather and be present to one another.
For those who have gone before me this year, I honor them and miss them. For those who have been gone much longer I hold them in my heart and honor them, hopefully, in how I live out their memory. I stood on the Elbe river beach yesterday with some dear friends and as the sun peeked through and highlighted amazing autumn colors, I was so grateful to know so many saints in my life. None of them were without fault and yet they have so enriched my life.
Halloween has become quite commercial and somewhat silly but there has also been a surge in my perception to look at Day of the Dead and make altars of those we want to welcome back home when the veil between here and the afterlife becomes much thinner. I am grateful to remember those with pictures across my mind these days.
While we were getting ready to remember and celebrate, Ana and some friends of ours and I took advantage of the weekend and took a little getaway weekend in Hamburg. This has been in the making for a while and it worked for all of our schedules just this weekend. We made it happen. A couple of our friends stayed with the pups, thankful for them as well, and we got on the train to head north. One of our friends lives in Hamburg so she was gracious to host us for most of the time. Half of us rented a place together and we spent just a couple of days exploring, walking all over, eating good food and having a little Halloween fun ourselves.
It was a great weekend and I came home tired and grateful for how we connected and how we traveled together. We were eight people from five countries and many different backgrounds and languages and experiences and deep thoughts, etc. It was really lovely to feel as though we were surrounded by our people for a weekend, to let down our guards and enjoy one another. It was a moment in time we will talk about for a long time.
Hamburg is a city surrounded with waterways and influenced heavily by what that means for the city, shipping and water activities. It is a city that has beautiful places and a beach to walk along by the river. It is about a million people (Berlin is almost 4 million and Portland is at 600,000 or so for some perspectives) and it seemed like everyone was out this weekend to absorb the last days of autumn sun before the weather forcast showed rain all week (the norm for Hamburg). We really enjoyed our time and enjoyed returning home last night to our pups. It is nice to take advantage of being able to see more of Germany.
Who are the saints and where are the places you are honoring today?