Sunday, March 21, 2010

Come Down Pride

Come Down Pride

"A short communion with the unseen and eternal prevents the soul from ever being again so completely the slave of things of sense and pride." Phillips Brooks

“Humility is the only true wisdom by which we prepare our minds for all the possible changes of life." George Arliss

I stood with some friends in the sanctuary at Blacknall Presbyterin Church after the memorial service for the mother of our friend Janet. The conversation was mostly about everyday things and our children. I asked Jeff if he had gotten much gardening done that morning. His face lit up as he spoke of walking through his backyard with his coffee in hand and marveling at the signs of hope that he saw there. At this time of year we are watching and waiting and believing as we begin to see the hope of new life awakening as the days grow warmer and the light increases. My winter of hibernation is almost over.

Just the other weekend my sisters and my brother with our spouses spent the night together at our family's lake house. We built a fire in the fireplace and grilled burgers and watched home movies from our childhood. We cried and we laughed. Just being together seemed important. The next morning my sister and I took our cameras out into the yard  under a bluebird sky and took some pictures of the birthing of this spring's gifts. It has been a hard winter for us and the desire to see tangible signs of hope was great.

In the middle of this deep winter season past, my siblings and I, with our step-mother, crowded into the small examining room with our father to hear the latest results. It had been a year since my Daddy had been diagnosed with inoperable gall bladder cancer. We knew what the doctor was going to say. Instinctively, we had know for weeks but we silently moved through the season of Advent and then gathered as a family after Christmas. We knew the past year had been a gift. We knew that eventually we would have to hear this news. The cancer that had been kept at bay for 12 months was now on the move.

And then we turned and received the news just a few days later that was just as heart moving. Our daughter Rebekah is pregnant, expecting her second child on my Daddy's and my son's birthday. Once again the cycle of life invades my present reality. And this takes me back to 1971, the year my mother died suddenly in the summer and my sister and brother-in-law came home to live with us as they moved through a time between college and what was to come next. My sister, Ginny also came bearing my father's first grandchild. Tracy was born into our family in the middle of our grief, bringing new love and life. Her new life was a healing balm in God's hands as He massaged the place of loss in our souls.

Though my father's body gives way to the the ravaging enemy of cancer and it is so very hard to watch, there is the assurance of what is not seen. I know by faith that there awaits a new body that is eternal. Just as the winter is a time of unseeing, so is approaching death. Yet, this new grandchild will remind us that love lives on. Humility grows out of the surrender to the eternal flow of life out of death, bringing hope out of loss. And in our surrender to that which is greater our pride comes down.

This Lenten season has found me hungering for the light. The fasting that I normally choose in this season has instead been given to me. The turning from to turn toward has felt more like I have been taken by the hand and turned around and now I am being pushed forward in a direction I did not, would not, choose. Daily I watch and wait. "There is a time for everything, a time to live and a time to die."  We live in time and within time we find beginnings and endings. There can be no life without death and no death without life. And then we of faith hear of and cling to another reality...the resurrection. Pride yields to humility. Life rises out of death. Love lives on and peace comes stealing slow.

Peace comes
Stealing slow
Falls like
Silent snow
Swing down
Sweet and low
Peace comes
Stealing slow

from Peace Comes Stealing Slow. Kate Campbell

1 comment:

  1. Oh put into words my very thoughts. Peace has come stealing slow as I watch the flowers bloom, and Spring remind me again that a seed must fall for life to be renewed. May Christ's promise of always keeping you close give you the peace you need to walk, wait, and sleep through these difficult days and nights. You have and are loving your father well. And thank you for the way you have loved me and my family well. I stand with a very grateful heart. May the peace of Christ be with you and your family and Dave in the coming months. love, janet