There are icons throughout the church where I am a parishioner. One of the women who attends the church wrote much of the iconography that adorns the sanctuary of the church. I sit in the same spot every Sunday and have noticed for some time that, depending on how the light hits one of the icons near my seat, kiss marks are visible on it. I have been attending this church for many years and find myself wondering if some of those kisses were from people long gone who, at some time in the past, venerated the icon with a kiss ~ a show of reverence. When I think back on all the people who populated, animated and grew this church community who are now gone, I get a lump in my throat. One of the men in our parish died recently. Mr. K. was well into his nineties and had been very active in the church for many years. Attending services for him and seeing his children, his widow and the many people who can no longer come to church every Sunday due to age, poor health, punishing work schedules, I was reminded of a very happy memory. Mr. K., when we were young, drove a Volkswagen Bus. There was a hill with a great "tickle bump" on the road heading to church and every once in a while after church, Mr. K. would pile some of his kids and other children from the parish into the bus and drive around the block and down the hill so that we could get that great, slightly nauseating feeling of our stomachs dropping out the bottom of the vehicle. While I looked at him in the coffin, that was the image that kept coming to my mind ~ a bunch of goofy kids, screaming with laughter, feeling about half sick and begging to go again as soon as it was over ~ and Mr. K. obliging us. Later I wondered if some of the kiss marks were from Mr. K., his wife or his kids. I hope no one ever washes those icons.
Everlasting memory, Mr. K.!!