Friday, October 21, 2011

Poetry, Death and a Wind

I went to a funeral this morning, for the husband of a dear friend of mine.

The service was very beautiful.  Great hymns - Love, divine, all love's excelling and For all the saints (not the New Orleans melody, but just as beautiful).  One of the readings reminded me of the context of the bible verse on my mother's tombstone - which, obviously, moved me.  The second reading was I Corinthians 13:1-13, which is better known for the "Love is patient, love is kind," verses often read at weddings.

But I loved this, at the start of that chapter:
If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all the mysteries and all the knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but don not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love trumps all - faith, knowledge, talents, power, things, your body.  Love changes all.  God's unconditional love, our love for others, receiving love.

Toward the end was my mom's verse-
For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we shall see face to face.
My mom said to me, about that verse, that it was an awesome promise.   Here's my youngest niece at the grave site who last April asked me to take her to the cemetery.   You can see part of the verse engraved at the top.

And then at the end a bagpiped played Flowers of the Forest, which I had never heard and is a Scottish Folk Tune.  The melody embodied so much.   We walked outside for the committal into the Columbarium.  The crisp day was made a bit warmer by the bright sunshine.

The wounded National Cathedral, still closed, loomed in the background and added to the sadness.

But then as we together, for the second time, said the Lord's Prayer together a wind passed over us and...well, I felt God, love, my mother.  I felt a lot, exhaled and surrendered.

And finally, because of his military service, a lone bugler played Taps.

But what I also really wanted to share was the awe-some poem my friend Joanne selected for the bulletin.   I love so much about this:
If Death is Kind
Perhaps if death is kind, and there can be returning.
We will come back to earth some fragrant night,
And take these lanes to find the sea, and bending
Breathe the same honeysuckle, low and white.
We will come down at night to these resounding beaches
And the long genre thunder of the sea,
Here for a single hour in the wide starlight
We shall be happy, for the dead are free
 - by Sara Teasdale
 Here are some photos of the Cathedral from that day:

No comments: