I’ve just come off one of the more emotional weeks in recent years, a trifecta of challenges. A big part of it, as I wrote last week, was being in my hometown during the sudden decline and passing of my “other mother,” dear Ann Palmer of Tacoma, WA.
As sad as I am about her death, I feel inspired by how she lived, and so very grateful that she was a part of my life. Today was All Saints’ Sunday, and I attended services at my home church, St. Andrew’s Episcopal, which Ann and her family began attending in 1964 and my family began attending after we moved to Tacoma in 1969.
Fr. Martin Yabroff invited the small (but energetic) congregation to imagine that we are all runners rounding the track in an Olympic sized stadium filled with cheering saints. In the Episcopal tradition, these saints aren’t just the martyrs and miracle workers we hear about; rather, they are the people in our lives who inspire us and cheer us on. “We are not alone,” Fr. Martin said. Our stadiums are filled with people who have inspired us.
I know my Mom is in that stand, and someday, perhaps not so long from now, my Dad will be there, too. Ann and her husband, Terry, who passed away in 1998, is also there. “Others have been through terrible times,” Fr. Martin continued. “God wipes away tears. We shall persevere just as they did before.”