Remembering loved ones who have died merits more than a few thoughts on the official holiday called Memorial Day. I encourage you to allow some time—at least half an hour if you can, and possibly several half hours scattered over a few days—to sit quietly and remember times you have spent with loved ones who are now deceased. Make this an act of prayerful attention. Ask the Holy Spirit to bring to your memory important conversations, or certain days you spent with a person. Ask for help in recalling that person’s gifts to you. Think about what made that person beautiful and worthy of love.
Some people in your life went through many trials, and some people may not have been so lovable. In fact, some people you hold in memory may have been sources of pain and conflict for you. It’s useless to try to remember them in a dishonest way—to edit memories so that a person seems friendlier or more helpful than she really was. In this sort of case, ask the Holy Spirit to give you a vision of that person as one deeply loved by God. Ask for the ability to see that person’s wounds and struggles. Pray for the wisdom and compassion to hold that person in memory as lovable, even valuable.
The Holy Spirit can move powerfully in our imagination—if we make some time, quiet our busy minds, and give God a chance to move our hearts.
How will you practice remembering this week?