Monday, April 21, 2008

On the way

Memories are a strange and wonderful thing. In 1973, when I went to visit my Great-Aunt Ena in Stratford-on-Avon, it was to say goodbye to her before I entered Religious life. Sadly, we did not meet again as she died a short time afterwards.

Attending a Catholic teachers’ conference at the weekend, where Mission Together (Holy Childhood) had a display, there was the opportunity to wander around early in the morning, looking for the street where she used to live.

Interestingly, even though the town is extremely beautiful, it was as if it were the first visit. Everything was so new and so fresh. There was almost nothing of the actual town of Stratford-on-Avon that I remembered after a 35 year absence…and yet, as fresh as the architecture appeared, so did the memories of conversations with my great-aunt. They remained after the images of buildings had long ago disappeared into oblivion.

Is it not a sign of what is really important in life that we can forget beautiful sights and sounds, but remember people, with their words, smiles, gestures and essence?

It really is so silly to look for material goods: they are so passing. Graveyards are full of lichen-covered stones from which time has obliterated names and epitaphs. The stones are obscured with the passage of time, yet what remains is the knowledge that the stone marks a person, a family, a history.

It was exciting but nostalgic to find the little street where my great-aunt used to live. Time passes and caries with it so many rich and varied experiences. It is the people we meet on the way whom we carry with us for ever.

God bless,

Sr. Janet