May is filled with memories of life and death, love and loss, beginnings and endings, sunshine and rain, joy and sorrow. More days in this month hold significance in my life than any other month.
One of the heartbreaking memories is the death and burial of my baby brother…5 years ago today. It was a temperate, sunshine filled day…entirely antithetical…and yet it lent a sense of hope. A rainy day would have been appropriate, but unbearable. My most poignant memories are of the drive to the cemetery - the seemingly endless line of cars filled with people who loved Jeffrey - and our time graveside. The pomp and circumstance of a military burial is gut-wrenchingly beautiful. The finality of the moments before his body was lowered into the ground were given the dignity and gravity they deserved in those solemn ceremonial acts. Rest in peace, Brother, until the Final Resurrection.
If any have toiled from the first hour,
let them receive their due reward;
If any have come after the third hour,
let them with gratitude join in the Feast!
And he that arrived after the sixth hour,
let him not doubt; for he too shall sustain no loss.
And if any delayed until the ninth hour,
let him not hesitate; but let him come too.
And he who arrived only at the eleventh hour,
let him not be afraid by reason of his delay.
For the Lord is gracious and received the last
even as the first.
He gives rest to him that comes at the eleventh hour,
as well as to him that toiled from the first.
--St. John Chrysostom
One of the happy, wholesome markers is the marriage of my Momma and Papa…52 years ago today. They have loved one another well and even though I failed to live up to their example, I respect and appreciate that example more than words can say. Of course they sinned against one another in the course of their life together, but they never crushed or betrayed or abandoned one another. They each sought the good of the other and I am thankful that they didn't "just" persevere, but that they lived in love.
"If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were loved by wife, then thee.
If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me, ye women, if you can."