In the liturgical church, today is All Saints' Day. At the Episcopal Church of the Ridge, gathering today at Trinity Edgefield in their three-building worship cycle, the prayers will include the bishops of this diocese and the parish's clergy who have died over the years. The names of those in the congregation having "entered the larger life" (one of my very least favorite phrases) since last All Saints' Day, as well as others whom the members of the church have specifically requested be remembered, will also be read. It's a solemn day.
As always today I think about my remarkable grandparents, all four of whom are dead. And, earlier today I surprised Tal when I laughed out loud. In thinking about them I'd let my mind wander and found myself -- deep in memory -- at my first and ill-fated wedding reception. Actually it was a marriage that was ill-fated. The reception was quite nice.
My new husband's boss during a toast look credit for our having met each other, good-naturedly (pompously?) taking responsibility for the day. True to form, Grandpa Johnson, gregarious and full of humor, was having none of that! He proceeded to regale the crowd with the story of his having, as a young man, spied a really cute girl wearing a red wool coat, a teacher new in Milford. Had that not happened, he concluded, neither my mother nor I have been born and the wedding reception would not be taking place. So, if anyone could take credit for the day ... well, you get the idea.
In truth, it wouldn't take very much for our lives to be quite different (if they happened at all). One decision by any of a vast number of people would be all it would take. The web of connection among us is delicately balanced, even precarious, and likely should fill us with wonder. After all, if noticing a red coat turned a life in a particular direction and influenced countless others, not noticing it would have done the same thing.