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REQUIEM

Below are the two final essays to be posted on Allegiance and Duty Betrayed. The first one is written by a friend -- screen name 'Euro-American Scum' -- who, over the past four years, has been the most faithful essayist here. He has written about everything from his pilgrimage to Normandy in 2004 to take part in the 60th–year commemoration of the invasion, to his memories of his tour in Vietnam. His dedication to America’s founding principles ... and those who have sacrificed to preserve them over the past 200+ years ... is unequaled. Thank you, E-A-S. It has been a privilege to include your writing here, and it is a privilege to call you my friend.

The second essay is my own farewell. And with it I thank all of the many regular visitors, and those who may have only dropped in occasionally, for coming here. I hope you learned something. I hope a seed or two was planted. But, even if not, I thank you for stopping by ... 25 March, 2010

11/17/2007

The Next Place

Abigail 7-21-07 1.jpg

The ten-month-old child of friends of ours had been battling a rare blood disorder/auto-immune disorder for the last four months of her life. She received a bone marrow transplant two weeks ago, and this past Monday evening she succumbed to a post-transplant infection before her new white blood cells could be produced.

A memorial service was held for Abigail this morning. During the service her parents read the following poem (perhaps better written/read as prose) that had been given to them by a hospital staff member shortly before Abigail passed from this earth.

I am transcribing it here because I believe that its message is appropriate for us all, with the holidays approaching and our hearts beginning to reflect on, and give thanks for, our personal blessings.

No responses are solicited to this poem/story. Please. I simply request that you all read it, and then, as Rick and I have tried to do recently, spend some time reflecting on your own gifts from God.

Thanks. :)

The Next Place
by Warren Hanson

The next place that I go will be as peaceful and familiar as a sleepy summer Sunday and a sweet untroubled mind. And yet it won’t be like any place I have ever been or seen … or even dreamed of in the place I leave behind.

I won’t know where I’m going, and I won’t know where I’ve been as I tumble through the always and look back toward the when.

I’ll glide beyond the rainbows; I’ll drift above the sky. I’ll fly into the wonder, without ever wondering why. I won’t remember getting there ... somehow I’ll just arrive. But I’ll know that I belong there and will feel much more alive than I have ever felt before. I will be absolutely free, of the things that I held onto, that were holding on to me.

The next place that I go will be so quiet and so still that the whispered song of sweet belonging will rise up to fill the listening sky will joyful silence, and with unheard harmonies, of music made by no one playing, like a hush upon a breeze.

There will be no more room for darkness in that place of living light, where an ever-dawning morning pushes back the dying night. The very air will fill with brilliance, as the brightly shining sun and the moon and half a million stars are married into one.

The next place that I go won’t really be a place at all. There won’t be any seasons -- winter, summer, spring, or fall. Nor a Monday, nor a Friday, nor December, nor July. And the seconds will be standing still … while hours hurry by.

I will not be a boy or a girl, a woman or a man. I’ll simply be, just, simply, me … no worse or better than. My skin will not be dark or light. I won’t be fat or tall. The body I once lived in won’t be part of me at all. I will finally be perfect. I will be without a flaw. I will never make one more mistake, or break the smallest law. And the me that was impatient, or was angry or unkind will simply be a memory … the me I left behind.

I will travel empty handed. There is not a single thing I have collected in my life that I would ever want to bring -- except the love of those who loved me, and the warmth of those who cared. The happiness and memories and magic that we shared.

Though I will know the joy of solitude I’ll never be alone. I’ll be embraced by all the family and friends I’ve ever known. Although I might not see their faces all our hearts will beat as one, and the circle of our spirits will shine brighter than the sun.

I will cherish all the friendship I was fortunate to find, all the love and all the laugher in the place I leave behind. All these good things go with me. They will make my spirit glow, and that light will shine forever in the next place that I go.

7 comments:

3timesalady said...

I know you asked for no responses, by I just had to say that I will be praying for Abigail's parents. What heartbreak. And thank you for the beautiful story.

daveburkett said...

Like 3timesalady Joanie, the wife and I will be praying for Abigail's family. Thanks for posting the beautiful poem.

John Cooper said...

"During the service her parents read the following poem.."

The parents must be very special people.

Anonymous said...

So sad. And such a beautiful story. Thank you for posting this.

Anonymous said...

The Brave Little Soul
by John Alessi

Not too long ago in Heaven there was a little soul who took wonder in observing the world. He especially enjoyed the love he saw there and often expressed this joy with God. One day however the little soul was sad, for on this day he saw suffering in the world. He approached God and sadly asked, "Why do bad things happen; why is there suffering in the world?"

God paused for a moment and replied, "Little soul, do not be sad, for the suffering you see, unlocks the love in people's hearts." The little soul was confused. "What do you mean," he asked." God replied, "Have you not noticed the goodness and love that is the offspring of that suffering? Look at how people come together, drop their differences and show their love and compassion for those who suffer. All their other motivations disappear and they become motivated by love alone."

The little soul began to understand and listened attentively as God continued, "The suffering soul unlocks the love in people's hearts much like the sun and the rain unlock the flower within the seed. I created everyone with endless love in their heart, but unfortunately most people keep it locked up and hardly share it with anyone. They are afraid to let their love shine freely, because they are afraid of being hurt. But a suffering soul unlocks that love. I tell you this - it is the greatest miracle of all. Many souls have bravely chosen to go into the world and suffer - to unlock this love – to create this miracle - for the good of all humanity."

Just then the little soul got a wonderful idea and could hardly contain himself. With his wings fluttering, bouncing up and down, the little soul excitedly replied, "I am brave; let me go! I would like to go into the world and suffer so that I can unlock the goodness and love in people's hearts! I want to create that miracle!"

God smiled and said, "You are a brave soul I know, and thus I will grant your request. But even though you are very brave you will not be able to do this alone. I have known since the beginning of time that you would ask for this and so I have carefully selected many souls to care for you on your journey. Those souls will help you create your miracle; however they will also share in your suffering. Two of these souls are most special and will care for you, help you and suffer along with you, far beyond the others. They have already chosen a name for you."

God and the brave little soul shared a smile, and then embraced. In parting, God said, "Do not forget little soul that I will be with you always. Although you have agreed to bear the pain, you will do so through my strength. And if the time should come when you feel that you have suffered enough, just say the word, think the thought, and I will bring you home."

Thus at that moment the brave little soul was born into the world, and through his suffering and God's strength, he unlocked the goodness and love in people's hearts. For so many people dropped their differences and came together to show their love. Priorities became properly aligned. People gave from their hearts. Those that were always too busy found time. Many began new spiritual journeys – some regained lost faith – many came back to God. Parents hugged their children tighter. Friends and family grew closer. Old friends got together and new friendships were made. Distant family reunited, and every family spent more time together. Everyone prayed. Peace and love reigned. Lives changed forever. It was good. The world was a better place. The miracle had happened. God was pleased.

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."
Jeremiah 1:5 (NIV)

Anonymous said...

Abigail's parents do indeed seem to be special people. God's blessings on them during their time of grief.

Lori_Gmeiner said...

I'm so sorry for your friends, Joanie. God bless and strengthen them.