Sunday, May 25, 2014

Decoration Day

Sixth Sunday of Easter

Memorial Day was called Decoration Day for many years in my family, before I finally figured out that they were the same days.  I don’t know why we held onto the old term Decoration Day except our tradition was to drive to the cemetery and “decorate” the graves of loved ones with flowers and flags. It was one of those celebrated holidays that was special to me—not just because it marked the end of the school year—but because it was a change in the routine; a day of remembrances and sharing stories among the old men (and women) of my family.

It was a day when we would gather at my grandparents’ home for a meal and fellowship together. And the stories flowed. With aunts and uncles from Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, and Missouri all coming together in Indiana, there were lots of stories and storytelling competitions.

There were also tricks and pranks. My favorite was one my grandpa would pull on the younger children. He would call one of us over and give us a brown paper bag of candy with the instruction to give everyone in the room a piece of candy. The child would always look at the bag and think that there was more than enough candy to go around, and for their trouble they would be rewarded with a special haul of candy for themselves. But grandpa would always count the exact number of people in the room and then take back one piece so the “sucker” would be left out when he got to the bottom of the bag.

There are few things about my life that I would change, but one thing I would do differently is be closer to my family—so that my kids could experience the family fellowship I experienced growing up in the midst of aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents. These special people are not the advocates to which Jesus referred, but their presence in my life reminds me of the promises of Jesus to send another advocate to be with us always.

Father Mark+