Last week I went to Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, to the funeral and burial of my last living aunt, Mary Barrar. It was a time of sadness and celebration, as we remembered aunt Mary as a take-charge, faith-filled, loving woman.
During the last two years of her life, as she became frailer, she was moved into a retirement village
The night before I left to return to Honduras, her son George drove me around the grounds to share some of his memories of being with his mother there. It was snowy but you could see that the grounds were beautiful are well-cared for.
Aunt Mary had mild dementia and George told me how each time he took her out to the gardens at Dunwoody she would be in awe, since each visit was a new experience. She did not recall that she had seen them before.
Dementia can be awful and very troubling, both for those who suffer and for their loved ones.
But George’s reflection made me think about the gift of seeing things each day as if they were new.
A line from Gerard Manley Hopkin’s poem “God’s Grandeur” came to mind as I thought more on this.
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things
A new year has begun. Maybe the best resolution I can make it be to rise each day to a new day, seeing the world anew, standing in awe and gratitude to God for “the dearest freshness deep down things.”