Our spirits and hearts warm as the cold dark nights morph into the long warmer days of summer. Ready or not, the snows recede, the waters warm at least a little, the flowers bloom, and the leaves burst out with the awakening of life.
How wonderful our Alaska is. How wonderful our God is.
As a newcomer to Alaska — only two years now — I am taken aback every day by the majestic beauty of this area, of the land and the life. But in that respect — the love for the land — I am no different than those born and raised here, those who have seen for years and continue to appreciate the beauty every year, every season, every day, like two humpbacks in the channel just this week, probably on their way back from Hawaii. It is those people who appreciate life that we strive to emulate in our lives and remember fondly in death. It is the people who have taught us the lessons of life that we honor as they pass from this world to the next.
For that reason, we at the Douglas Community United Methodist Church are developing a memorial garden — to remember our loved ones who have passed. Looking out at the beauty of the memorial garden, we will recall family and friends gone before us and celebrate their lives and sprits through the seasons of the years to come.
The memorial garden will provide a quiet place for meditation, reflection and prayer. It will be a place to remember as we enjoy the changes of the seasons, the passing of the years and the rise and fall of the tides.
I invite all of you in our communities to join us in this undertaking, connecting the spirits of our loved ones in the spirit of our land as we develop our spirit of community. God has given us all we have and enjoy and we honor and praise God as we develop this memorial garden in the name of God’s beloved for the children of God and God’s creatures (part of the memorial garden will be dedicated to our beloved pets).
At some date in the near future we will plant the replacement Christmas tree, and will begin the transformation of the “cycle of the year” into a memorial garden and, in the process, be reminded to praise God for the spring, the land, and our families in the splendor of the cycle of seasons and the cycle of life.
Welcome spring into your life; welcome sun into your day. Remember from where you came; set a course for where you are going. Embrace the new light with the new season and praise God with every breath you take in this glorious rebirth of our land.
• Cindy Roberts is pastor of Douglas Community United Methodist Church.