In the Lectionary

May 18, Ascension (Luke 24:44-53)

Luke places Jesus’ final blessing and departure in Bethany—the root of which means “house” or “home.”

My mother was a force. She was a dancer, an artist, an amateur writer and editor, one of those comedians who didn’t always realize how funny she could be. She was also an enormously inept cook and, ironically, an immensely popular and exuberant hostess. And, although I admit some bias here, she was also a terrific and creative mother.

Her family of origin was a long-lived bunch—her father died at the age of 100 and her mother at 104. Since she shared their robust genes, it was a shock when she had a sudden and catastrophic stroke at age 92. She’d been raking about 80 bags of leaves from her lawn the week before! The stroke limited her physically, as such things do, but the most painful part, for her and for us, was that she lost that spark and oomph, that joie de vivre that had so characterized her every moment.

Several weeks before her death, she and I had a long conversation. She had been telling me for about a year that her parents—long deceased by then—had been visiting. On this occasion, she told me that they’d dropped by that morning to say that they would return soon to take her home. She was worried that they might not be able to find her and asked if I would steer them to her new residence. I assured her that I would, but when I asked her which home they meant, she was vague. She paused and looked into the distance.