At a Later Date

On each of the first two Sundays in May, there were over 250 obituaries in the Minneapolis newspaper, and many of them ended with the words that a memorial service or celebration of life would be held “at a later date.” In recent weeks, it has seemed that everything about my life has been postponed to a later date. The Oblate Monday book group will resume only when it is safe to do so. In my home church, I lead several small groups, and they are all on hold. My summer expeditions have been postponed or canceled, and I’ve been furloughed from my two volunteer jobs. At the time of this writing, it’s still too cold in Minnesota to plant the vegetables and flowers I bought earlier than I ever have. If everything is going to be at a later date, what should I do now? My husband wistfully suggested I could bake chocolate chip cookies.

Part of my pandemic routine is watching/listening to daily online devotions from a church in Olympia, Wash. Stuck in my thoughts about the elusive and uncertain “later date,” I was blessed by the words of the woman providing the devotions. Her theme was hope, and she read passages from Paul’s letters. She had chosen words of encouragement for those who might be downhearted: 1 Corinthians 9:23–24, Hebrews 12:1–3 and 2 Timothy 4:6–8.

I will let those Scripture verses stay with me. They tell me that I am to live faithfully today, looking forward with hope and patience. I can find comfort and joy in New Testament words, the first oriole of the season and warm chocolate chip cookies.

Marge Lundeen, OblSB

Photo: A calendar in the monastery