1 November 2011

saints, souls, and sinners

Today is All Saints Day, and tomorrow All Souls Day. I'm not too sure what I think about All Souls Day, it is outside my own education. But this morning I read about Steve Job's last words as he moved through into another world, saying "Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow" which gives food for thought even for sceptics. Then later in the day I was reluctant to leave the station at Cassino after saying goodbye to young friends. Something made me linger. Was it a roaming soul, seeing two Kiwis racing to their train with a minute to spare, that had suggested I turn back to the station?

I asked if they wanted the train to Rome, then ran on ahead to ask the guard to wait while they got their bags down the underpass and up the other side. They'd possibly have coped without me, but I think that by the time they had worked out which was their platform they would have made it up the steps just in time to see the train disappearing into the distance. (I didn't notice that one was wearing a Crusaders shirt until they were safely on the train, and we then managed a short conversation and got their tickets stamped before they were on their way).

One of the young couple I farewelled is, as far as I am concerned, my niece. But in Italy, technically, and probably also in NZ, as my Italian friends pointed out, she is nothing to do with me, there is no blood connection. If she is "nothing to do with me" as was so bluntly suggested, why did I have tears of excited anticipation as her train arrived, why was the hug between us so warm and why was I so sad to say good-bye, blinking back the tears again? Kith and kin, kin and kith. I don't think it is important to know the difference, because yesterday and today there was none.

But I digress. So, thinking again of saints and souls, I wondered why the word "sinners" fell out onto my keyboard and into the title of this post.

One of the first things my young Catholic husband taught me, forty years ago, was that Limbo was a place, and I could hope to go there but not to Heaven. Limbo, it seemed, was reserved for good Protestants and bad Catholics, those who could not reach Heaven. I dismissed the idea back then and haven't given it much thought since, until today. I still prefer to think of limbo as a dance, that incredible test of balance and flexibility, rather than a world of mis-placed souls. Even this, though, is related to death and the life cycle. Perhaps it is appropriate to research it today after all. And tomorrow, as I see on the bill-boards in town, even local government will be praying for the souls of the departed.

I think it's time the dogs walked me. One of us needs to get some exercise and fresh air.

Today I am grateful for good weather.


Teacake said...

Kith and kin? I am mum to someone who shares none of my genes.

Kay said...

You share endless love, and no other person's definition, comment or dictionary can take that away!


LindyLouMac in Italy said...

I am so glad that you left a comment on my blog recently while I was away travelling. I am delighted to have discovered each other and I enjoyed reading your recent posts. Good to meet you. :)