The one thing that I desire above all others in my life is that all my children and all my grandchildren really know and serve the Lord, as that is our sole purpose for being here - to serve the Lord. This life is very short. When you get to my age you know tha it is all just like a breath and it is over. And it does matter that your life is concerned with what lasts forever - Jesus Christ and his love. Life in Christ is not stuffy or boring, it is totally satisfying and worth while.
There are many dimensions to the sense of loss we feel today as we reflect on our beloved Rachel’s homegoing and what she has meant to us individually. I want to reflect on what is for me one of the most profound senses of lose I feel today. With Rachel’s passing we have lost another significant link to our past.
Last summer out on Mary’s [my mother-in-law] porch swing I asked Rachel about her memories of the adults from her childhood; her memory of her parents and their friends, neighbors and acquaintances of her family. What I discovered was that she had a living memory that extended as far back as the middle of the 19th century. She knew personally people who lived through the Civil War, who voted when Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant became president, and knew a United States with only 30 states.
Rachel began her adolescent years, although there wasn’t such a thing in those days, in the progressive decade of the roaring twenties. This was the height of women’s suffrage when women were just given the right to vote with the 19th amendment; she was a teenager when Babe Ruth roamed right field for the Yankees.
Rachel and Charles [her husband who died nearly 15 yrs ago] were newly weds during the dark years of the Great Depression. That experience was something of which she never lived out of its shadow.
She was an adult during the New Deal, the Space Race and Great Society. She saw two world wars, wars in Korea and Vietnam, and two wars in Iraq. She was born while Woodrow Wilson was president and died with a black man, Barak Obama, as her president. In between she saw 16 presidential administrations.
With the homegoing of our beloved Rachel, we’ve lost the knowledge and experiences of our past, the history of the family and of our very society itself. Her life represented three centuries. The memories of her forbearers are now no longer living with her. While she was alive, her very presence reminded us of the rich history that we in subsequent generations have been bequeathed—a history that is, with her passing, in danger of being forgotten if it is not regularly revisited.
Rachel left each us with a gift of her living memory, and I will for my part, commit to pass it on.