Several years ago now, one of my favorite Sisters of Charity passed away. Her name was Sister Marianne. As is the custom in most religious orders, “Sis” as we affectionately called her, was waked in the chapel and after a time of receiving guests who came to honor our beloved friend, the formal story telling of her life began. I remember that day like yesterday – we cried, we laughed, we were silent, we sang in thanksgiving for her life. That experience brought me to think – what will others say about me when I die? At first glance, it sounded egotistical – yet there were deeper questions that popped up immediately after – Who am I? Whose am I? Who shall I be?

Twenty years have passed since then – and as I serve in a new community with lots of funerals and lots of weddings – I am a privileged witness and companion on the journey.  I am reminded over and over to ask those same questions — to consider the time that has passed and the time that may lie ahead as I age cooperatively with the Creator in wisdom and grace. Those important life questions are at the forefront again.  We are all given this time – this place – to ask: Who Am I? Whose am I? Who shall I be in these stages of life that God generously gives me? How shall we consider this gift of life – and then choose to either treasure that gift – or unknowingly perhaps squander it. We have all the time in the world, right?

We might consider that dying and rising are not just about “end times” but all about the daily cycles of life, death, and birthing. It’s never ‘one moment in time’.  Rather it is in the ‘time after time’ during an entire day that we each have the opportunities to reflect on where we are in communion with all of life. None of us are the same person today as we were twenty years ago. Certainly we are aware, at least intellectually, that we will live in a new way with the Sacred after we physically die. But are we not given that gift each day – each time we awaken and give thanks for being able to wiggle our toes in the bed, take in those deep breaths, and walk the walk in new ways? Do we embrace the daily “dyings” each day so that we might live more fully and dream a new world into being – if not for our sake, then for those who come after us?  And as importantly, how do we reverence “time”? Do we see it as a commodity to be traded off for something else? Scripture would remind us – Where your treasure is, there your heart shall be…seek the things that last…

As we enter into this Labor Day Weekend, we stand on the threshold of a new season of life – leaves will soon begin to fall – trees will be bare – and the ground will eventually freeze again only to melt and bring forth new life. Yet if we live mindfully we have that opportunity every hour of every day.  The daily cycles of life and birth – holding on and letting go – embracing and releasing – are presented to us moment to moment.

© 2015 Institute for Liturgical and Spiritual Formation.  Use with permission only.