As the year begins to draw down, I'm reminded that there are so many calendars in our lives and that it is these calendars that tell us who we are, as peoples, as communities of faith, as families and as individuals. Remembered in every calendar are those moments over time, in the words of Gaudium et Spes of "joy and hope, grief and anguish" in the life of a people, or a faith community, or a family or an individual.
On my own personal calendar for October was my sister Nancy's birthday, who would have been 60 years old on the 29th. (She was a year younger than me and died when she was 11.) As with everyone, I have a personal calendar of joys and griefs, hope and anguish that I chose to observe each year, ranging from the delightful and lifechanging such as meeting my wife Paula for the first time (December 18th) and our first kiss (January 2nd). Other dates in my calendar were filled with such hope and promise: our wedding anniversary (October 23rd), the births of our daughter and son (July 19th and April 12th, respectively) and my ordination as a deacon (August 10th).
And the inevitable events of grief and anguish, which are both universal and deeply personal: my sister's death (January 14th) and the deaths of my teacher and mentor Pere Igor (March 17th); of my friends Helena, Raul, Buddy and Richard (June 28th, November 13, February 5th and August 6th).
But of course, we live, not only observing the feasts and memorials of our own personal and private calendar, but within larger calendars that include others: the yearly observences of nations and peoples, the monthly calendar of the tides and annual cycle of the seasons, which is the earth's calendar and the cosmic calendar of the moon, the sun and the stars. And for believers, the religious or liturgical calendar.
What we remember and what we anticipate are bound up in all of these calendars, which in their various cyclic observances overlap with the arc of our lives from birth to death to eternal life. I'm thankful for the ways in these cycles allow me, allow us, to live in time and in rememberance
and in anticipation of the world to come, which is beyond time and somehow brings together past, present and future.
I am grateful that all of these various cycles of time afford me the opportunity to set aside the time to remember all of the beloved persons and events of my life. As each year of my life has unfolded, this is such a joy and a consolation.