Thursday, 29 April 2010

In the midst of life we are in death

Within the last six months two men that I have know and respected have died of complications of Alzheimer’s disease.

Today I learned of a third, who yet lives in that shadowy world which steals memory, and thereby steals identity.

I cannot imagine how it is to live (?) (if it is living) without a sense of my identity. Yet this has happened to my friends Russ and Charles, and is happening to my colleague Ken.

Russ and Charles, now departed from this life were blessed by the heart-breaking fidelity of their wives - Jean and Naoma.

Ken, still amongst the living, is sustained by the faithfulness of his wife Ruth.

I salute, respect and commend the fidelity of Jean, Naoma, and Ruth. “For of such is the Kingdom of heaven”.

Charles left this life just a few days ago. I had a super conversation this afternoon with his wife Naoma. She related that the poem “Crossing the Bar” by Alfred Tennyson had brought her great comfort.

I understand that Tennyson penned these words in the face of his impending death. They make sense in that light.

Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,
But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.
Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;
For though from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crossed the bar.

Indeed, the Christian hope is that we shall see our Pilot face to face when we have crossed the bar.

Russ and Charles already know that. Ken will know it ere long.

1 comment:

  1. in the 1911 Hymn Book of PECUSA, Tennyson's poem is set to music.