Every Single Time
May 17, 2015
by Mary Wright Baylor
After a long brutal winter, everyone is eager to see signs of spring. As a gardener, I can hardly wait for enough warmth to pull on my gloves, shove lingering snow aside, and uncover my garden beds and plantings. This year, I am DELIGHTED that this camellia bush, “Pink Perfection” is blooming vigorously for the first time.
After I left home, I treasured a favorite ritual when I visited my parents. As soon as weather permitted, we ALWAYS walked around their yard and carefully studied all their garden beds. Every Single Time. We cherished every sign of life and growth. With the warming of the season, we made our ritualized pilgrimages and we’d chatter about plants and life and being together. And at the end of Every Single Visit, they’d clip whatever was blooming in their yard for me to take home. Early in the spring, it would be camellia blossoms and they’d send me away bearing overflowing shoeboxes filled with these gorgeous “Pink Perfection” flowers. As the weather warmed, they generously shared huge boughs of azaleas or enormous bouquets of hydrangeas in intense shades of purple, pink, and blue blossoms. As the years passed and their health failed, we knew that these garden pilgrimages were nearing an end. We were able to talk about this eventuality and so, my dad helped me take cuttings of many of their camellias and my mom assisted me as I dug up and transplanted some of her hydrangea “volunteers” to take home to plant in my garden.
My parents and my beloved childhood home are now gone but I have vivid and tangible memories of those special times. In my garden, filled with their gifts given knowing that their time on earth was short, I can feel my parents’ presence. I am reminded of their love and generosity. Don’t you think that they would be delighted that their “Pink Perfection” is covered with blossoms this year? I am tickled that I have been able to share them with others.
As people of faith, Every Single Time we go to the communion table, we take bread, eat it, and we remember. Every Single Time we drink the cup, we feel the vivid and tangible presence of Christ and we give thanks. These are the Gifts of God for the People of God.
As a Eucharistic Visitor, it is an incredible privilege to take the Body and Blood to those hospitalized or shut-in. These People of God are connected by the visit and comforted by this sacred ritual. Some are visibly transformed by the vivid and tangible presence of the Most Generous Giver. It is a tremendous honor to share this generous, excessive gift of love and sacred ritual with others. Every Single Time.
What are sacred rituals in your life that connect you to vivid and tangible memories? What gives you a sense of presence of those important to you?