On October 6th of 2016, we held a gathering of saints (yes, the living ones) to say goodbye to my mom. It was held at my home church, Bishop First UMC. And, truth be told, it was an amazing reunion of beautiful people from my mom's life. There was family from all over the country and there were friends dating back to her childhood. Over the years, her friends, of course, became our friends and extended family. There were people from every stage of my life. People we had traveled with, camped with, done 4th of July with, worshipped with, done mission work with, done ministry with, prayed with, and shared many many meals with. They were the people who helped form and shape me--pastor, Sunday School teacher, my mom's prayer partners, aunts, uncles, teachers, and more. They comprise the tapestry of my childhood (and beyond).
I'm not sure I can properly convey how precious it was to hug them and tell them hi. And I so wished my mom could have been there to enjoy it. She would have adored having time with each of them. She easily could have talked until midnight as she caught up with each and every one.
I am so very thankful for each of these people and the love they have shared with my family over the years. And I am thankful for my mom who loved them and nurtured relationships that span a lifetime.