First Congregational Church
Renewal in Place for Sunday, May 9, 2021
May 9: Mothers Day. On Ginger’s sabbatical calendar: frame family photos. And Colossians 3:13: bear with one another and forgive as God has forgiven you.
Family photos — framed or unframed — tell us who we are…and who we have been. We may choose which ones to display and share. But if we look at them all, we know. We know sometimes more than we want to know. Many of the family photos Gay and I treasure came to us framed. Here are Exhibits A & B, Ellie and Charlie, our granddaughter and our grandson. These photos have pride of place as one enters our home. But the photos I want to use as the base for my Renewal in Place are photos of my parents, Edie and Joe Harter, at ages 3 to 5, that also came to us framed. Each is large and housed in an oval frame, remarkably similar to the other. They are mounted on the wall right next to my desk and look over my favorite chair for reading. I didn’t frame them: they framed me. My mother, Edie, who died more than 50 years ago, lives on in me, her first-born, in ways that keep surprising me. I am who I am because I have her quickness and because she loved me into and through many highs and lows.
Missing are photos of my brother and sister. The pandemic isolation allowed me to reflect on the photos that are present and those that are missing. And so, at last, I have taken some initiative, experienced some Renewal in Place. My brother and sister are not in the framed family photos and they are geographically distant, but only a phone call away. I have called them. And in those calls, we bear one another. We bear one another, sharing joys and letting go of the small resentments and jealousies that find their way into any family. Renewal in place. Renewal in peace.
May 9, 2021