Dying or Being Born?

Psalm 34:18

The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

I got a call the other day that my very dear friend.  Her mother-in-law is losing her battle with life, with Alzheimer’s.  No longer is it only her mind that is lost, but her body is failing now too.  How can we comfort those who have already lost so much, those for whom losing even more is imminent?  I found a poem written by Tim Garner who writes:

her-memory

Her Memory

The floor was her stage

when she moved to the music

now the floor, was her cage

mind and body arthritic

every decision she makes

made in hesitation

the words that once flowed

uttered in reservation

A mind full of memories

she can no longer grasp

like sand through the fingers

of hands that can’t clasp

color fades from her eyes

with the walls closing in

memories but ghosts

of things that had been

when the memory goes

time starts to slow

frustrated, confusion

it’s all they know

I question you God

what have you to gain

when the faith that we place

is rewarded in pain

When the weight of this life

drives our knees to the floor

do you lend us a hand

or pile on more

When I look in her face

does she know who I am

is the person I know

trapped deep within

When the disease gets a hold

the mourning begins

it’s death without dying

it’s loss without end.

~ Tim Garner

I wonder, is that how they’re feeling, those left behind?  If so, what about the lost, who can not express?  Where do we find healing?

Alzheimer’s Prayer

Father, free me from these walls

which imprison my mind.

Bring me from this place

into your arms and good grace.

Grant me wings to fly,

unto the sky with angels,

that from this horrid forgetfulness

I may emerge in heaven,

enter through the pearly gates,

stand by your side with

All who I ever loved

And be no more in this broken shell

where my masters are they who

know you nor me not.

Amen.

~ Terry Lynch

It occurs to me that in baptism we die to sin and are raised up to new life in Christ Jesus.  Isn’t it the same then, in death?  In liturgy we drape the coffin or urn in white, signaling the newly-baptized, new life with Christ Jesus.  Another birth.  This is our promise as Christians.  Death is not the end.

Revelation 7: 14-17

These are they who have come our of great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.  Therefore, they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them.  Never again will  they hunger; never again will they thirst.  The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat.  For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water.  And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.

These are God’s promises to you, to me.  No longer will there be any pain, any suffering, or any tears.  He has cloaked those he loves with his great white light and gives them eternal life with him.  And one day, this light and life will guide you and me as well.  We will be with all of those whom we’ve loved in this life, in the next.

 

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