Archive for June, 2012

comfort, o comfort

Hi In the midst of my surreal time earlier this day, as I began (and still am) coming to grips with the loss of someone so dear, Dale texted me from Ohio – Isaiah 40:1-11, 31.  A selection of Isaiah 40 verses; some of them adapted so well in song by Robin Mann in his song Comfort, Comfort are below.

Take care, David

Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that she has served her term, that her penalty is paid, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.

A voice cries out: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. Then the glory of the Lordshall be revealed, and all people shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” A voice says, “Cry out!” And I said, “What shall I cry?” All people are grass, their constancy is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the Lord blows upon it; surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand forever.

He will feed his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms, and carry them in his bosom, and gently lead the mother sheep.

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless. Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

sad, surreal and thankful

Right now I’m numbed.

Lynn, one of our dearest of friends passed away late this morning after a long battle with cancer. Dale and I visited her (and Gary)  just this last Wednesday.  Dale of course flew to the States two days later to be with her Dad and other family members; she lost her Mom in April last year.

I’ve known Lynn all my life – same age, same church, same primary school, same love for music. I could say much. I’ve known Gary for about 40 years.

Spent time with Lynn and Gary last night. Important time, but so hard. I was told then it would be a matter of days. Wasn’t even that; she died 11.20 this morning.   I’m thankful that I was able to take Lynn’s hand softly and thank God for such a beautiful, giving person who shone life, love and God in so, so many ways.  She has been such a special friend, as has Gary and their family.

Two things made it a challenge today:

  • It’s tough with Dale o/s at present … this is time she has so, so been looking forward to, with a road trip with her Dad, sister Diana and brother-in-law Tom coming up in a day or so … half-way across the country where they are meeting up with other family members at Branson, Missouri. (?).  Tough without Dale’s support and love at a time like this.  I know Dale feels likewise.  She’s not back until 13 July.
  • I received the sms from Gary as I rolled up just after midday for the final session of Day 3 of our big DayCamp holiday program. (having been back at home doing worship prep) I was needed – legit reasons – for the final time of singing. Within a few minutes of arriving, Gary texts me and no doubt many others with the news.  The numbing and the tears started.  Tried contacting Dale – had to leave message.  Let our lads know.  Absolutely no reflection on the songleader (she’s a great person) but you can imagine how much I felt like being around 120 kids belting out Pharaoh, Pharaoh.

I just wanted to find the nearest rabbit burrow and hide. I so didn’t want to be there. The numbing increases; too numb to shed much in the way of tears, though knowing me (more “feely” than people realize), they’re bound to come.

Joel, Jeremy and Nathan have been great during the initial aftermath.  Nathan texts me and asks, “Are you OK?”. Jeremy implores me to “Stay strong, stay safe” (even though I feel broken-down right now and perhaps need to be for a while).  Joel offers to help.   They ask what I’d like for dinner- I request a light salad.  Heaviness of food wouldn’t go well with heaviness of heart right now.

So, along with so many others, I find myself in this strange ‘space’ right now.

It’s a bleak time, yet not so bleak that while I can’t easily dismiss the questions like God, why has this happened to someone (and someone’s) so full of life and still so youngno way will it stop me from thanking God for the gift Lynn was to Dale’s and my life … and to so, so many others … and continues to be.

Yes, this time is sad, surreal and thankful all in one. Totally out of context, I find myself musing over the final words of what has long been my favourite movie: Sophie’s Choice. It ends with the lead male character’s voiceover of an Emily Dickinson poem:

Ample make this bed.
 Make this bed with awe;
 In it wait till judgment break
 Excellent and fair.

 Be its mattress straight,
 Be its pillow round;
 Let no sunrise' yellow noise
 Interrupt this ground.

There’s more to it than this, but the final words of the movie are these:

When I could finally see again, I saw the first rays of daylight 
reflected in the murky river. 
This was not judgment day. Only morning. 
Morning: excellent and fair.

Our dear friend and loved one is at peace. Amid our wrenching loss and numbing sorrow and sadness, my Christian faith wants to affirm that life continues for Lynn, in God’s fulness, beauty and richness: morning: excellent and fair.

David 

photo courtesy of: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pioneerwoman/3221890955


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