Yesterday I opened my email and noticed an unsubscribe to my blog. I immediately took note, as few people subscribe or unsubscribe. I took note of the email address and then gave a sigh of sadness—it was for the email of a friend who passed away a few months ago. My pulse raced for a second, my heart pounded, and tears are still in my eyes as I write.
Pat was a dear friend who was a great example to me after Rich died. Pat had been a widow for many years. She missed her husband terribly but she never let her loss interfere with her joy in life. My last memory of her was during my visit to the USA last year. She had invited several of her friends from the church to her home to enjoy a music therapy session sponsored by the hospice helping with her care. The music therapist brought with her a huge (to us) harp, and joyfully sat and played hymns for Pat and us to sing. Many of the hymns were new to the harpist, and us, as they came from an old book from a generation just about past. As sick as she was, Pat’s face beamed with joy as we sang songs of praise and shared together. As I left, Pat whispered, “Thank you so much for coming.”
In my mind’s eye she is still enjoying her beautiful garden in Michigan with her faithful dog by her side—but in reality she is in a far better place now, enjoying the glory of her Savior, heaven, and reunited with so many of her loved ones.
Barely a week ago Rich’s brother-in-law lost his wife as well—to cancer. The same disease that took Rich’s first wife. Cancer likewise took my cousin Alysia, my best friend Judy, and an older lady in my congregation, Dagmar. I remember one week, as sick as she was, Dagmar came to the congregation bearing photographs of a beautiful flower that had bloomed in her roof garden. “I know you have trouble with the stairs, so I wanted you to enjoy this picture.”
This year marks 10 years since Rich and I were married—7 since he died. Memories of our life together are far older than the scarce time that I knew him.
I don’t like death. But my heart is filled with hope and gratitude for the time we did have together. I—we do not grieve as those without a Savior. We know that our loved ones who have put their faith and trust in Jesus are with Him now. And one day, O Lord soon, as it is written in 1 Corinthians 15:52–53, and so powerfully set to music by Handel:
The trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption and this mortal must put on immortality.
And this reminded me of a concert I attended earlier this week, filled with hope—Handel’s Messiah in Hebrew, performed by Liturgi-Kal, an Israel concert choir (which just happens to be directed by a dear friend of mine). You can listen to the first half of Handel’s Messiah in Hebrew here. In any language, may our grief be overshadowed with the wonder of our hope in Yeshua.
The featured image is a picture of the harpist that I shared about.