". . and this, too, shall pass away. . .". This partial quote is from a speech made by Abraham Lincoln. He told the story of a king from the far east who asked his wise men to make up a statement that would apply to all situations, good or bad.
I walked up the stairs to the library, watching my surroundings. I saw a somewhat familiar face, but it had changed just enough I wasn't sure. As I started to pass by, the face said, "I know you".
I mentioned a name, a question to my voice. She confirmed.
I'd run into her once before at Wal-Mart, maybe about seven or eight years ago. I'd grabbed and hugged her too hard that time -- just enough to irritate her -- so I was careful not to push. She rose from the bench and embraced me this time.
"How are your boys?" she asked. I answered and added a note about my daughter and her kids.
"Do you remember my son?" she asked, describing the one she meant. A visual image of a cute, sweet little boy, who had always been friendly to me, came to mind.
She described how her son had grown to manhood, attended college and worked with kids. He had grown to be a wonderful person, as I would have expected. Then she told me he was dead, cut down by heart trouble on a basketball court. At least he was having fun at the end.
I have tears in my eyes as I write this today. That wonderful little boy became a wonderful man and then he was gone.
She talked about how they had known of his heart problems since childhood. "And we got to have him for twenty-three years," she said. The positive spin that soothed her aching heart.
"I know why you took him when you did, Father," I said. "You wanted him with you."
In a recent sermon Joel Osteen said God never leaves us in the valleys of life and when He brings us out, He makes things better for us than before the valley.
Part of me grieves for the ache in her heart -- and the hearts of her husband and the other three children. The rest of me admires the courage and faith with which she faces life, as well as, death.
The hole in her life will never completely heal, I guess, but the ache will lessen as she remembers his beauty and sweetness. Her life will go on and grandchildren will arrive periodically. She'll have more good times to balance the bad.
This, too, shall pass away, may not mean that she will never grieve again. But it does mean that she will crest the top of the hill once more and more joy will be in her vision.
And then at the end, she, too, will reach her time and he will be waiting with other loved ones to escort her to her Lord.