Sunday, February 24, 2008

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Archived memory

On Friday I called Jim, who has been our house/dog sitter while I've been in Baltimore, from the airport to confer about the snow. And when I looked him up in the contacts section of my Treo, the name that came up just below him was Doug McCreight. Doug died two weeks ago, he had been a priest of the diocese for decades and for a short time lived near enough to St Mark's to worship with us here. For some reason, I can't manage to erase him.
If I scroll the length of my Palm address book, there are quite a few people who have died whose records linger on in my database. Marvin, a friend from Bethlehem, our choir director and organist more than twenty years ago, still shares a record with his wife Polly, even though he died a couple of years ago. Fay Shelton is still there at her Orchard House address. Cora Ida Burdett who died January 11 is there, with both her Nottingham Apartment listing and her nephew's contact information in Washington state where she died in a nursing home. Peggy Phillips and Ruth Proehl are there, too, and many more. It isn't just inefficiency or forgetfulness, although it is partly that. It is that I have come to be glad to be reminded of those whose lives have touched mine, have enriched the life of the church. When I scroll past them, it is a little reminder to give thanks for their lives and to pray for them in God's loving care. And then, curiously, they remind me of the people I have erased. Wendy and Alex are listed but no longer Michael their husband and parent. In a moment of efficiency, I deleted Anne Kelley shortly after her death but I can see her still with her sensible haircut and forthright manner and ready laugh. I deleted Joel Beezley but left his kind and gracious widow. And I imagine sometimes that I can smell his pipesmoke lingering around the vesting area from the years and years when we was lector at 7:30.
There is a little foretaste of the communion of saints lurking in my Treo address book. Thanks be to God!