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"Toys and Boxes" - Monday Moment - October 2, 2023

Happy Monday, friends! I want to thank so many of you who reached out, called, texted, and sent other notes of encouragement, prayer, and condolence on the death of my aunt. They were each and all appreciated. Grieving is never easy and I’d be lying if I said I was finished grieving my aunt. I continue to pick up my phone ready to text or call her only to remember that she can’t respond and that, no, we’re not going to try a new restaurant together, catch a gallery opening, or some other adventure. I admit that I’ve been less than inspired to write a Monday Moment this week. Instead, I want to tell you a story.


I was at most five-and-a-half when my paternal grandfather passed away from cancer. I only have flashes of memories from his funeral. The amount of people—he was from a very large family and lived his life in a tight knit community—and the military honors rendered by the local American Legion post of which he was virtually a lifelong member. I also remember the priest celebrating his funeral mass—a family friend who had grown up with my dad and his brothers—talking about me. At that age I’m sure I didn’t understand the concept or reality of death, but my dad explained it to me this way:


Toys come in boxes. We take the toy out of its box and play with it. We make memories playing with the toy, but at some point, the toy no longer needs its box. We remember all the good times with the toy, even though it no longer has its box. So, Grandpa’s body was like a toy’s box. He no longer needs his body, but you will still remember all the good times and memories you made with him.


I didn’t remember that analogy and my dad only reminded me of it in the last few days. Yet, it is a beautiful way of speaking to a child about death. It’s also an apt way for us to think about our loved ones who have passed on. Regardless of what we believe about souls and heaven, the person continues in our memories and in the love that we shared.


Whose love do you continue to feel? Who lives on in your memory?


Let us pray: God who gathers all souls into your loving care, bless those who live on in love, in memories, and in your warm embrace. May we be comforted by their love though we no longer see them and remember them though they are gone from us. Amen.


Blessings on your weeks, my friends! Let me know if there is anything I can do for you.


Faithfully,


Ben

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