As spring unfolds, on a day of abundant sunshine in a bright, blue sky, I visit a new park. My friends and I wander in various directions, and I find myself on a winding path. I pause at a lake and admire the fountains. I stop in an azalea grove and see the first robins of the season.
As I walk, I marvel at the day’s beauty and perfection. I meet a family collecting pine cones, and the youngest child shows me hers. A couple carrying the remains of a picnic wave as they pass, while a group of co-eds giggle, heads bowed, avoiding any eye contact, as if in a secret conference. Since I don’t know my way around and several paths are unmarked, I meander onto some which twist into each other or end in a clearing. Occasionally, I walk through brush, hearing the crunch of leaves underfoot.
Then I reach a paved walkway, which seems to lead to the other side of the park. A sign posted indicates that the area is closed for a private event, though I hear only a crow calling and see no barrier or anyone else around. A few yellow butterflies float ahead of me, and like a little girl in a fantasy, I venture forward, aware that I am “breaking the rules.” As I walk, I see two benches facing one another in a grove of olive trees. I sit on one of the benches, attempting to determine which has the better view, when I see the golden placard which reads:
In Loving Memory
I rest for several minutes, breathing in the fresh afternoon air, jotting a few memories in a tiny notebook I often carry. I feel the warm air through my light cotton sweater.
It’s said that those who pass on never truly depart; they merely become invisible to our human sight. I think of my father and how much he loved gardens and any pathway where he could consider, as he called the foliage, the “growings.” I remember his advice to take time to smell the flowers, to be still and know the Presence of God, in and through all God’s creations, great and small.
At any moment, I expect to be told to leave. Yet no one else appears, so I linger. Only after I shift to the opposite bench to consider another view do I realize the divinity here. For when I look at this placard, I see:
In Loving Memory
I don’t know the Bernsteins, where they lived, what they did, what they believed. All I know is: Someone loved them.
In this season of passing over and rising up, no matter what paths we’ve traveled or where they’ve led, we can remember: We, too, are God’s divine creations, loved with an everlasting love, always, to the end of our days — and beyond.
© 2017 – Rev. Jennifer L. Sacks. All rights reserved.