Faithfulness to Family
Around the still waters of the lake,
We hail our kinsmen and shyly stutter
Out a greeting to shorten the distance
That has grown up between us after a year
Has passed. But as the gap closes
And we rejoice in the communion
Of those standing visibly with us,
We become aware of a deeper mystery,
The lingering presence of those
Who have gone before us – like the fresh smell
Of rain after an evening shower –
There are Percy and Mittie Mae,
James and Percene, Raiford and Jesse;
There are Melba Ruth and others left unnamed.
Our love for them and one another
Hollers after them and brings them
To our midst. And the highest form of love,
As our Savior taught and showed us,
Is self-sacrifice. May we, then, tear up
Our comfortable schedules as often
As we can, offering them like fatted calves
Upon the altar of fidelity
To our family, that the past would not be
Forgotten, that our dear ones who have
Preceded us in death would not fade
Away, but rather that they may abide
With us, and with our children’s children,
Until our Lord’s return, when death will
No longer separate us from their
Joyful faces nor their tear-filled embraces.
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Walt Garlington is a chemical engineer turned writer (and, when able, a planter). He makes his home in Louisiana and is editor of the 'Confiteri: A Southern Perspective' web site.