In Between

Today I am in the in between places:  in between dawn and full light, in between rain and sunshine, between day and night, between life and death, between death and resurrection.  My mood matches the rain that is coming down.  It is a day of grief because the first person who met us here at Poplar Bluff has died yesterday morning.

In order to speak of resurrection hope we have to deal with our own grief in missing someone who was a part of our journey and life.  Ron brought to us our keys, a little tour, a bit of humor, and a friend for our daughter, who thought she could never make friends again after moving to Missouri from Maine.  He made sure we were set and if there was a difficulty with some of the new things in the rectory would make sure they were fixed.  Like our toilet when flushed was squirting water straight up at you, so we called Ron and his handyman put in a new one.

The hands poem earlier these past few weeks was written about Ron.  When he was diagnosed with cancer and would come up to the communion rail we had a ritual of squeezing hands because there was only a very few times when he could come.  Then at the hospital in these past two weeks the ritual resumed as I would leave from visiting.  I will reprint it here today.

All the prayers we have in our Book of Common Prayer so fit these days.  One I have sent out to the congregation.  Another short one I'll put here.  Ron, rest in peace and rise in glory.  I look forward to looking across and seeing you at the resurrection!

Hands clasped at the rail while I pass the bread of life
Just a ritual we have done dozens of times
Squeezing your hands after the bread has left my hand
A passing of peace, a prayer for your health and strength
All pass in that one grasp of hands and it all transpires in a second
Hands clasped over the bed rail as you wish for me to stay
Just to sit and be with you a presence, companions
On the way to the unknown in front of us
So many questions of life and what it is
The meaning lost because we think of quality and struggle
Is it worth all the unknowns, all the pain of just trying to make
It through to another day, is it hard to pray when
Someone asks to be let go and I hold your hands
Kiss your cheek and wonder how I will let go again
Because life takes us down this road again and again
We decide to risk again our hearts in companionship on the way
Only to lose a traveler to deaths door
And yet without the risking we never understand loves shore
Nor do we understand rebirth and resurrection life
So here I am holding hands at the side of the bed
Praying for your strength to find the door
To new life and cherishing each day we travel it together.