How I miss you! I'm at Grammy and Pop Pop's house in Pennsylvania. You would love it here! I woke up this morning to a heavy spring snow draping the trees, outlining every branch. Exquisite beauty. This is where I grew up, Cora. Everything here makes my heart swell with memories, bitter and sweet....mostly sweet.
I saw some old friends today, my eighth grade teacher and his family. Every time I step through their door it's like nothing has changed (and everything has changed), but I don't quite know how to describe it, Cora. Visiting with them today, I was able to just BE and I felt so very loved for just existing. It was a gift. We laughed and sang together like old times.
Mr. Antonson, my teacher, has lately been inspired by the words to 'All Creatures of Our God and King,' a great old hymn and poem, the words of which were originally penned by Saint Francis. I sang it for him. The fifth and sixth verses (out of seven) hit me the most:
And all ye men of tender heart,
Forgiving others, take your part,
O sing ye! Alleluia!
Ye who long pain and sorrow bear,
Praise God and on Him cast your care!
And thou most kind and gentle Death,
Waiting to hush our latest breath,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Thou leadest home the child of God,
And Christ our Lord the way hath trod.
You were lead home, Cora. You know the ultimate beauty. My heart yearns to join you in that glorious praise.
Mr. Antonson inspired me when I was a child. Music, art, history, culture, literature....you name it, I loved it all because he taught with such excitement. He opened the door to a myriad of enriching opportunities for me, and those experiences formed much of who I am today.
After our visit, I went home craving a good old home video of my high school performance of Shakespeare's 'Much Ado About Nothing.' My teacher's son, played Benedick, and I played Beatrice. Oh the lines, Cora! We were actually pretty good.
I've remembered tonight how much I LOVE the arts! I guess I had forgotten how much. I feel like I'm waking up and remembering a bit of who I am (or who I was) and who I'd like to become -someone who lives into the passion, love and creativity of God through beauty - someone who passes on and teaches that same love to young lives. I want to give the same gift my teacher gave to me.
Then, Cora, to close out the night, your Pop Pop and I sat by the fire and talked about our mutual favorite hymn, 'O Love that Will Not Let Me Go.' If could imagine hymn singing in heaven, this one would be sung there by all the rescued souls as a testimony to all God did for them on this fallen earth. It's a testimony to his redeeming work, the ultimate passion, the absolute beauty of saving souls.
- O Love that wilt not let me go,I rest my weary soul in thee;I give thee back the life I owe,That in thine ocean depths its flowMay richer, fuller be.
- O light that foll’west all my way,I yield my flick’ring torch to thee;My heart restores its borrowed ray,That in thy sunshine’s blaze its dayMay brighter, fairer be.
- O Joy that seekest me through pain,I cannot close my heart to thee;I trace the rainbow through the rain,And feel the promise is not vain,That morn shall tearless be.
- O Cross that liftest up my head,I dare not ask to fly from thee;I lay in dust life’s glory dead,And from the ground there blossoms redLife that shall endless be.
Then Pop Pop and I listened to the most beautiful recording of it that I have ever heard. It was sung by the Westminster Chorus. Such beauty. I was in tears. We sang this song at your funeral, Cora.
I bet you hear music more exquisite than that every day!
I wish you had been with me today, sweet girl.
I love you!