We did not intend for a whole month to be ruined in perpetuity because of your leaving. And truth be told, it was not just your leaving, but a series of events, circumstances, and experiences that began earlier in the month – your leaving was the final act that painfully displayed for us the human condition.
In some ways we still approach each July with a sense of dread. I’ve been wondering why so . . . why the knot in my stomach, the general malaise, and the constant looking at the calendar to make sure that the month is moving along?
Then I realize how much your leaving has marked us, how much it has shaped our lives. Our bodies will probably always “sense” the coming of that fateful month. Our brains wired to dread it, our posture on the defensive; if we are not careful we might have to re-live it?
But then there are the five years since, with their “other” months. There have been celebrations, changes, moves, welcomes, goodbyes, baseball seasons, birthdays and Christmases, Good Fridays . . . and of course, Easters!
Joy has come with the dawn!
It is a joy marked with the tears that still flow from your leaving, a joy marked with the knowledge that the world is not the same without you, a joy marked with the promise that one day heaven and earth will become one and we will indeed be reunited again.
A joy marked with the assurance of my calling to be a stirrer of God’s Spirit, a gatherer of people, a sojourner, and hearer. What a joy it has been and now your leaving is forever marked in me as I continue my work, as all of us who witnessed your visitation have continued to live into our calling.
This last year has been a difficult one. The “busyness” of my work has at times “clogged” my imagination, creativity, and muse. Leading this community that God has given me continues to challenge me in important ways. I often reflect on that voice from long ago and on the events surrounding your leaving, where I saw the “church” truly living into its calling. So I am inspired to continue the ministry that lives in me, the call that keeps me grounded, the work that brings me much life!
On this fifth anniversary of your death – your leaving – I pray for renewed Julys as your mark continues to make a difference in the world. I pray for renewed hearts, as your mark continues to minister to us. I pray for renewed spirits as your mark reminds us that we have experienced and are bearers of Resurrection!
I’ll see you when earth and heaven meet . . .
Sorrow will turn
Sorrow will turn into song
and God’s laughter make us strong.
(Joy Comes With the Dawn in The Faith We Sing 2210)