Sunday, April 13, 2008

Past Observances

Sharon and I presided at the memorial service yesterday of a woman whose wedding ceremony I performed nearly 29 years ago. The odd thing is that I don't recall anything about that earlier occasion, even after seeing a wedding album that includes my photo and a signed letter I sent the couple at their request following the ceremony with references from sources I had used in my remarks. I was pastor of the Englewood congregation at the time, and 1979 was the year we accepted full-time church appointment, so shortly after we moved to Canada and were gone from Independence some 17 years. This may help explain my lapse of memory, and subsequent contacts have only been once or twice going to their home to offer prayer, but it's still most peculiar to stumble upon a record of my past as though I were an outsider rather than a participant. I hope this is not an early symptom of Alzheimer's, surely one of the cruelest of diseases for both that person in their confusion and their loved ones as they increasingly become strangers. I remember the "long farewell" of several parishioners in Sioux City, IA with this illness and I shudder to think any of my loved ones would be similarly burdened. I tend to think this particular void in my memory bank may be more an expression of my general inattention to life as I have filled it to overflowing with busy-ness and over-commitment. I hope to more fully experience those things I am blessed to encounter in the future and live more intentionally rather than frantically.

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