One of the myriad of things that I love about my job is the opportunity to attend our monthly all school Mass. (I love this almost as much as attending Mass on Tuesday mornings with my daughter’s grade school. If ever there was proof that God loves us, it’s a church full of happy kids singing and praying together.) This week, we celebrated Mass together on Tuesday, All Souls Day. Dios de los Muertos. The Day of the Dead. And here’s what I learned:
Someone smarter than I has estimated that since the beginning of time there have been roughly 110,000,000,000 people on earth. In case all those zeros confused you, I said one hundred and ten BILLION people. Some seven-odd billion of us are still here wandering around. So that means one hundred and three BILLION of us have gone on to greener pastures. Wow. Is anyone else sort of getting this mental image of bugs piled up in a porch light?
Anyway, the point is that on The Day of the Dead we are remembering, celebrating, and praying for those one hundred and three billion of our brothers and sisters who have already died.
I’m sure that it wasn’t his intention, but when Father Frasier got to this part of the homily I was starting to feel a little bit insignificant. And then he really drove it home with this gem:
Someday I am going to be dead. And everyone who knew me is also going to be dead. And I will be forgotten.
I suppose if you are super well adjusted that doesn’t freak you out. But anyone who reads this blog knows how far from well adjusted I am. Can you hear the panic in my printed voice?? Forgotten? Me? The girl who was convinced that by 37 she would have star on Hollywood Blvd? Me? The woman who is pretty sure the Great American Novel is lurking somewhere within? Me? Can’t be. I scrapbook. I blog. I take pictures of the stuff I make for dinner for goodness sakes. I’m ARCHIVED. Forgotten?
And then that quiet little voice inside my head asks me, “What do you need to be remembered for?”
I would like to be remembered for being kind and loving. I want to be remembered as a good mother and grandmother (someday). I want to be a good friend. I would hope to be remembered as generous, but the likelihood of that ever being at the level that gets your name on a building is slim. When it all boils down, I don’t think I really need to be remembered. I would love to be thought of fondly by the people who I interact with in this life. But when all you crazies are gone too, what does it matter if my name is ever spoken again? That’s a lot more than most can hope for.
That said, I know that God remembers. And Dios de los Muertos is a day for us as the church to remember. So say a prayer right now for someone else who led a good and ordinary life. And then was forgotten.