The Reverend takes a moment to underline the fact that the people in this place have been “loved” and have led important lives. “What I mean to say is, we had been considerable,” he notes. “Had been loved. Not lonely, not lost, not freakish, but wise, each in his or her own way. Our departures caused pain. Those who had loved us sat upon their beds, heads in hand; lowered their faces to tabletops, making animal noises.” Despite this love, though, nobody has ever come to hold them like Lincoln held Willie.
It is clearly important for the Reverend to believe that his existence in the Bardo doesn’t reflect the life he led. This makes sense, considering that he’s a Reverend and therefore someone who has most likely devoted his entire life to leading a meaningful and virtuous existence. Now, though, he finds himself in a place where none of that seems to matter, so he must remind himself that he was “considerable.”