Sophia writes:This week's Friday Five invites reflection on the theme of remembrance, which is also present in the feasts of All Saints, celebrated in many liturgical churches on November 1, and All Souls--known in Latin@ cultures as the Day of the Dead--celebrated in some the following day.
1. Did your church have any special celebrations for All Saints/All Soul's Day? I believe they did an All Soul's Day service, but I was not there for it. My favorite All Soul's Day service I ever had was in the Catholic church where I did most of my "growing up" back in NJ. They had a large size, beautiful book of blank paper that they set out in the atrium for about a month before the service and invited people to write or draw the names, a story, or something about whoever they wanted to remember. My grandfather and grandmother (not from the same set of grandparents) had died within a few months of each other that year and I loved that I had a sacred place to express what was important to me about them. Some people got very creative in their presentations of their loved ones, doing things like collages and beautiful pictures.
2. How about Veterans' Day? No, we didn't do anything for Veterans Day - that was actually our Reconciling Sunday, where we celebrate our congregations' choice to claim the title of "Reconciling Congregation" (which in the United Methodist Church means that we explicitly welcome all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity).
3. Did you and your family have a holiday for Veterans' Day/Remembrance Day? If so, how did you take advantage of the break? No, my workplace (Habitat for Humanity Kansas City) is closed on Sunday and Monday, so we were already off for Veterans' Day. I used the day to clean the house, do some laundry, sleep in, and run some errands. Trouble, my partner, had to work at Children's Mercy hospital, but was sure to wear her "Veterans for Peace" arm band with her uniform.
4. Is there a veteran in your life, living or dead, whose dedication you remember and celebrate? Or perhaps a loved one presently serving in the armed forces? There are several veterans in my life and I can't think of how I would celebrate one's service more than another one's; they are all people I would hold up for their dedication, sacrifice, and service. That being said, I know the most and have personally been involved with Trouble's service more than that of my uncle, grandfathers, or anyone else's service. Trouble gave me a whole new insight into the life of a military service person and that of their family members (which isn't held up near often enough - they often sacrifice just as much as the service person does).
5. Do you have any personal rituals which help you remember and connect with loved ones who have passed on? Nothing in particular to remember each and every one, but there are certain things that remind me of each of the people in my life that I've lost. Music is something that has always connected with me on a deep and often spiritual level and there are songs that for whatever reason remind me of loved ones that are no longer with me.
Now that you have my answers, feel free to share your own, either in a comment here or posted on your own blog (and let us know in a comment so we can check it out).
I also wanted to take this chance to say thank you to all of the people around the world who give up part of their lives to serve the greater good. I think it's interesting that in this country we have several holidays rooted in military service/events, but there's not a holiday for police officers, fire fighters (although September 11th may be becoming more of something like that), teachers, missionaries, refugee aid workers, Peace Corps and AmeriCorps members, and all the other people who give up a signifcant piece of their lives to serve others sometimes making the greatest sacrifice of all. What does that say about what is valued in our culture? Is it accurate?