This weekend the unexpected came together, complementing, contrasting, and enriching the moment. It was a funeral. Well, technically it was the inurnment ceremony for Helen, but the sadness that accompanies any passing was still the same. But on the other hand, Helen had lived a rich and full life, having survived until she was 103 and 3/4. Survived is not really the right word here. Many people who live past 100 spend years just “surviving” before they finally find peace. But Helen truly lived until the very end. At 103 she was still living in her own home. She was still alert, sharp, and as cheerful as ever. She died in her sleep, in her own bed, with no pressing health issues, other than being 103.
The ceremony was held at the 200 year old church in Williamstown, Ontario, where she had grown up. When she was baptized, the church was barely 100, almost the same age as Helen when she died. I’m not sure why, but I find something about the symmetry moving. And in spite of the solemn occasion, it was a wonderful spring day. Her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren were gathered to honor her life. The day was moving, sad, and uplifting, all at the same time.
What does this have to do with the pictures at the start of this post? The windows are in the 200 year old stone church, shaded by a 200 year old maple tree. The shade is dark enough that you can see the lights inside the church. At the same time, in other panes of glass you can see the reflection of the sun coming through the leaves. The contrast appealed to me, as it so often does. I hope it speaks to you as well.