I am getting ready to honor All Saints Day this coming week, and I usually begin with a litany of saints who have gone before me into the unseen vistas of eternity–family members, teachers. pastors, friends and soul mates, heroines and heroes. But this year I am aware of all the saints with whom I come in contact daily, weekly and episodically. My definition this year of a saint is someone who brings Light (to borrow from Leonard Cohen) though the cracks in everything, cracks of grief, abuse, venality, hopelessness. And there are many!

A few keep popping up:

  • the soloist who gave embodiment to the human grief as she sang “Lacrymosa” from a contemporary Requiem
  • the newly widowed faithful partners as they navigate their way into a new normal with gravity and grace
  • the caregivers who show up to comfort, clean up and be present to those whom they are called to love
  • the neighborhood conscience who keeps us from tripping on sidewalks and losing our mail
  • those who arrive on the doorstep with flowers or coffee bread or just a “hi” when days are bleak
  • the one who always at the drop of a hat says, “Come on in!”
  • the place holder in the pew where she as always sat for years, through pastoral changes, political wrangling and waning societal interest in “religion”
  • the poet who sees, then articulates, the beauty of the created world and calls us to celebrate
  • the persistent one who tenaciously refuses to collapse into despair, even with diminishing strength and agility
  • each one who stands up to bullying, whether it occurs around a dinner table, a private office, or a public arena
  • the writers for hope and justice–in blog, book and op-ed pieces, who keep calling me to Live Into Hope
  • the preacher who faithfully speaks the truth in love–transparently, courageously, in spite of slings and arrows of cranks and critics
  • the children who remain delighted with Halloween, bugs and dogs and soccer games, no matter the weather–political or meteorological
  • and, after Mr. Rogers, the helpers, the ones who see what needs doing and do it, after calamity, after tragedy, in ordinary time.

I am so grateful to be aware of the saints who course around me like a stream of mercy never ceasing, even as I am grateful for the saints who have gone on ahead–who saw in me things I could not see, then allowed me to become all I was meant to be. I am grateful for the saints who always allowed the Light in, no matter the cracks in everything that I could see, without “spiritual bypass,” without rigidity and judgmentalism, without giving up. I intend to be one too!