by Ron Cook

A few years ago I submitted the second half of this piece for your consideration. I would like to resubmit it now adding fathers and mothers in these Passages of time. In this country we have officially set aside a Day each year to recognize mothers and fathers. Mothers’ Day is the third Sunday of May. Fathers’ Day is celebrated on the 4th Sunday of June, by Presidential Decree. Mothers’ Day became official in 1914 by then president, Woodrow Wilson. Richard Nixon made Fathers’ Day official in 1972. But what is the underlying reason why this honor is and should be upheld in our, and any, culture? There actually is a very ancient explanation that made the top ten of the Commandments.

This commandment is the only one that comes with a promise:

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you.” Exodus 20:12

Many older Boomers have lost their parents to that next Great Mystery that awaits us all. My Father was a silent German saint; living his life by example way more than by words. Yet, his word was his bond. It was solid. It was wise. It was full of love and kindness. He was the ultimate example of what is known as true Glory: that quality of man that demanded respect … and always gave it in return. He died at 62, a week after he had retired. His last action, in this life, was to reset the cuckoo clock in the living room. A simple finish to a modest, yet gracious life.

My mother was a flame-throwing Irish beauty of a lass! If she thought it, you heard it. She was an incredibly energetic worker in motion at all times. She was an artist with paintings, sewing, remodeling hobbies that would make your head spin! Once my children, in honor of their grandma Margie Jean, took turns taking pictures sitting in her favorite chair with her blonde wig and black sewing glasses, and her favorite shawl. They loved that spirited Irishwoman! The amazing thing is that Mom could also lay down for power naps; fall right to sleep; then pop up fully refreshed in 15 minutes!! Amazing! I did learn this skill which I have used after my noon meal for the last 45 years! It’s just natural to put an exclamation point after every sentence that describes Margie!

Sadly, the last 6 years of her life were spent trapped in Alzheimer’s, unable to pursue the actively creative life she had lived up to that point. Mom passed at 87 years of age. She left a material artistic and energized legacy in each of our homes that we cherish so dearly.

It doesn’t say to honor our parents with any ifs, ands, or buts; we are simply commanded to honor them. A command is not a suggestion; it is an imperial directive to be carried out without question. We literally owe them our lives … that brief interlude between two Great Mysteries.

Honor them while they live. Remember them when they have passed.

Be the best part of what they left you.

Here are the Passage passages from a few years ago …

Thank you so much for joining me on this journey. May you live your best life, remembering the good … learning from the difficult.

“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.” Luke 12:27

“The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it, and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.” Psalm 103:15-16

I’ve always loved songs that reflect the temporal nature of our lives …

“I saw a light in your window, thought I would pause and take a rest, say hello and goodbye, and wish you all the best. I am just here on a visit , I may not be back this way cause when my journey’s over I’ll be going home to stay…” (Anonymous)

Last month a dear friend of mine passed away in Louisiana in an accident. He was nothing short of a treasure as a human being in this life. Louis Lowery was 78, yet he died too soon …

On March 10th my family marked the 36th birthday of our youngest daughter, Brie Juliann … yet she passed away 20 years ago. At 16 she passed way too soon.

We mark the passing of our loved ones with a celebration of their lives. We mourn their loss, yet celebrate the time we did have with them. I have written a few eulogies for loved one’s memorials over the years. Sometimes there are no words … to express the grief we feel, as well as the joy they brought to our life.

I met Louis through mutual friends. We spent some good times talking and sharing our common journeys. Louis was devoted to the search for brotherly love and kindness. He worked in the prison ministry, taught church catechism classes, helped folks who needed counsel legally, emotionally, or spiritually. He gave from his heart with all his heart. He was a treasure …

Brie lived a brief, yet sweet, life. She was born with SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), and a hole in her heart. She had open heart surgery shortly after her first birthday. She miraculously survived to live a fuller life until a year from the end. We hold her fairy-princess-like life dear in our memories and heart. I still see her sparkling eyes that she would put glitter on during her most difficult days … She was a treasured presence.

We should count our days as a treasure. For we do not know the day or the time we will be called. Giving ourselves to life, our friends, and our families is our legacy. That is all that will be left of us when we make that final passage. We can pray that our legacy will be worthy of the glory Louis and Brie have attained.

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