The late afternoon sun dipped behind the trees and cast a long shadow across the dusty trail. As I walked along contentedly with Hannah, our new dog, my mind drifted back to a conversation from earlier in the day. “Walk in her light…be a torch bearer.”
The past few months have been a whirlwind of events – communion, confirmation, engagement party, college graduation and high school graduation. These beautiful events allowed us an opportunity to gather as a large family, celebrate the special occasion (and person) at hand and give thanks for the gift of one another. In fact, that is exactly what we have done. While we have all enjoyed the togetherness, it has also taken a toll on weary travelers and party planners. These momentous life occasions have also reminded us that someone very special in our family in missing from the celebrations.
Joan Mary, my beautiful mother, went home to God exactly nine months ago tomorrow – June 9, 2017. It has been challenging to celebrate these milestones in the lives of her beloved grandchildren without her. In fact, it has been downright difficult. But we have done something special to recall her presence, as most families do when the matriarch goes to heaven. Still, it is not the same… And yet she beckons from above, whispering for us to continue on in love and joy – as there is no other way.
So we resolve to do just that – soldier on one day at a time recalling the life of a person who made us all better people. We get up each day and wonder “What would Joanie do?” Then we try to follow her heroic example as we go about our days as moms, wives, professionals and friends. When times get tough as they often do we reflect and listen to the quiet asking “How would you handle this mom?” If we listen long enough, she will respond in our hearts. A good friend reminded me of that today.
“Walk in her light…be a torch bearer.” I guess we, her family, have been trying to do that for the past 9 months. With each loving word and kind action, we are carrying on the light of Joan Mary Franciose Powers. We need to keep her light alive in this world because she lived a life full of God’s love and the world needs more love right now! By being the kind of person that she was – a woman of charity, courage, faith, hope and joy – we can keep her torch alive.
Perhaps that is what my friend meant this morning when he offered the advice – “Walk in her light…be a torch bearer.” As I’ve thought about it all day, I think we can all be torch bearers in this world. We need to carry the light of God’s love into the darkest corners where there is only sadness and despair. Like the Olympic athlete running with the flaming torch toward the cauldron, we too are called to carry our bright torches into the places most in need of the light of Christ. My mom modeled this way of life, showing her husband, children and others how to live in God’s luminous light, spreading His love to everyone. Look around and begin at home with your families and then go from there. Be a torch bearer!