Our friend Rob emailed me with sad news for his family. You all know Rob; he comments on this site regularly and is a valued member of our small community here. Rob lost his mother recently. In the past few days he also lost his younger brother Phil. Phil was 59 years old. In the space of less than a month Rob has had to deal with the deaths of these two important family members. He has been integral in making arrangements and comforting those around him and has flown across the country for funerals in
I know, because I know Rob’s strength, that he has comforted all those around him. I know too that his hurt is real and it will stay with him for a period long beyond the immediate.
Many of us have never had the good fortune to physically meet one another. Despite that fact we do know one another and care about one another and pain for one of us here is pain for us all. I grieve with Rob and I also hold him up. I know Rob and his family will be in your prayers and thoughts as he is in my own.
Rob, have you noticed how it is difficult to say meaningful things to those around you at funerals? At least it seems that way to me. I always manage to give some form of comfort, I hope, but I also sense that we often simply hold out our arms and hope the embrace of caring is enough to sustain, and the words become the weaker comfort. We hold out our arms to you.
I lost my father when he was only 62 years old. I was 36 at the time. I respected him, loved him and I really miss him. At some risk of sounding too mystical, I will tell you that he still comes to visit with me. The most recent appearances he has taken the form of a bird. I know that is meaningful for you as a bird lover/expert. I know you can picture what I tell you next since we share a love of track and have physically met one another. Imagine me running a hard 400 meters in training at a pace of 70 seconds. Not racing, but cruising at a solid rate. Imagine from seemingly nowhere a hawk appearing above my head at around the 90 meter mark. It soared above me and literally followed me around the loop to the end of the course and then soared away. I watched it in wonder as I ran, my head held in an awkward position. My training partner, who was running right behind me in the same lane, asked why I stared at the hawk for so long and added “that was really weird the way it followed us around the track.” I smiled at him and said nothing because I just didn’t want to extend the conversation into the mystical. But I knew what it meant, and I knew who was reminding me that he still watches, cares about me, and patiently waits for me. It was not the first time he had communicated with me in this way. This is offered to me as a reminder that he is not gone. Like the Creator he also watches and waits. These are the dimmed reflections of a greater light above.
We hold you in our prayers
Stand on our shoulders and look above
For the signals that comfort you
Smile and follow what you might find
They remain with you
And they wait for you.
God’s Peace My Friend