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The Gift of Starting Anew

November 2nd was All Souls Day, and it was the first time my parish celebrated our Lady of Purgatory. I woke up in the morning excited to join our parish in our All Souls’ Day event. My kids were excited, and we were ready.

Then Z2 woke up with a fever and all the plans were squashed. Instead of feeling disappointed, or annoyed, I was feeling full of love. My son needed me and I was there to help him. Yes, I know this was the first time for the celebration and remembrance of our loved one, but God willing there will be another one next year.

Instead, I spent my Saturday with my family and thinking about my loved ones. All those who were laid to rest before me like my father, friends, and acquaintances. I thought how not much separated me from them—only a few feet a dirt.

I seriously thought about all the plans they had for tomorrow. What they will do when they will retire or when they get that day off. They never thought that the day they died would be their last day. That they—like everyone would have to make an account of their actions.

It’s terrifying when you think about life and death that way. While praying my Liturgy of the Hours this came up:

Now that is terrifying! Our Lord is so good and so merciful, that he waits for us in Confession. He forgives us our sins, and do not hold them against us.

When we are forgiven for our sins, we have a chance of heaven again. We will have grace restored back to our souls, we can once again choose Him.

If those who passed away before me are like me, then past sins comes to mind again. The shame, embarrassment, and sadness that those sins can surface can be depressing. But—and this is a huge but—if we fully dive into God’s mercy, we won’t loose nights wishing we made a better choice. We will forgive ourselves they way we are forgiven.

I am thankful that everyday, we can wake up and start fresh. God gives us so many opportunities to choose Him and put our past behind us.

Thinking about the lives of those who died before me, helps me keep my life in perspective. Today was yesterday’s tomorrow. Today I can do something for my neighbor. Today I can love God the way he loves me. And God willing—I can do more tomorrow.

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