The photo , forwarded today by Chad and Kristina, spoke of more than the obvious. It was taken a little over a year ago, late July, at The Lobster Pool in Rockport. We’d gathered for a final fling before the California kids flew home and Jud headed back to MGH, never expecting it would be the final photo of the eleven of us plus Uncle Jim, always welcomed at any family gathering. We smiled, clumped together, steadied by hope, linked by love. Arm in arm, hanging on for dear life. Very dear life.
Examining the photo, my eyes were drawn to Jud, standing tall near the middle of the mix. He looked like summertime, wearing his favorite Gloucester tee shirt, sunglasses and well worn baseball hat with nautical logo , a gift from Walter Hansen a few years back when they’d gone sailing together. Jud looked happy, care free, like all was right with his world. Faith at work.
Remembering that evening not so long ago brings comfort. I can still sense the bond, twelve of us huddled together, a hodgepodge of young and old disciples, struggling each in our own way with one of life’s many unknowns. Uncle Jim knew the loss of a spouse before I. His presence then and now says that life goes on.
The photo doesn’t show the picnic table but I close my eyes and see it overflowing with paper plates piled with lobster, corn on the cob, small cups of melted butter for dipping, mussels with bowls of broth. Hot dogs and baked beans for the kids, the simple made sacred by Love that would not let them or us go. We sat fixed in place, eating, telling stories, remembering, appreciating, savoring time. Together. None of us wanting to be separated from the other. We stayed rooted in place, fighting fear with love for each other and especially for one man.
Few would call such a place holy but it was, now that I think about it. And, when I look back on my many days, I find them sprinkled with a holiness I often missed. The presence of Christ among us, infusing the ordinary with a taste of Glory. Fanny Crosby knew it well when she wrote,
“Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine.”
There’s a lot to be said for free samples. I’ve bought more than one item at Trader Joe’s or Costco after tasting the goods they offered. Why not a taste of glory, of what’s to come? I think I tasted some earlier this morning, as I stood in Heather and Matt’s kitchen, making Norwegian pancakes for the ten teens and almost teens who’d come to sleepover last night, half of them Lily’s girlfriends reliving Drake High School’s Homecoming dance and half of them celebrating Luke’s 12th birthday. Family and friends together, holding empty plates, awaiting more than food, sensing the generations embraced by the One Love who will not let us go. A foretaste of glory divine.
Thank you, Jesus, for strength to stand, make pancakes and sing on, “Perfect submission, all is at rest, I in my Savior am happy and blest.”
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