Thursday, September 29, 2016

love undying

The Word for today:
Psalm 116
I love the LORD, because he has heard my voice and my supplications.
Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live.
The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me;
Then I called on the name of the LORD: "O LORD, I beseech thee, save my life!"
Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; our God is merciful.
The LORD preserves the simple; when I was brought low, he saved me.
Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you.
For thou hast delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling;
What shall I render to the LORD for all his bounty to me?
I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD,
Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.
I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the LORD.
My Dad had a hard, even harsh exterior, but inside was the heart of a poet.
Poetic people may not look poetic on the outside, but somewhere inside them "the meanest flower that blows can give thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears." (1)
He never wrote, but when he put his guard down he could discern the sublime in a blade of grass.
My sons often train at the Cold Springs Cemetery. The hills there are perfect for that purpose. As they run through the hilly sections, I jog through the flats.
My Mom's and Dad's graves are there. I don't like to view the site, and so I seldom do. But about a month ago, I made my way through the gravestones to a spot in the shadow of the evergreens, where the meadow meets a wooded hill.
It's a wide stone, with room left for the birth --and death -- dates of others still living. I will be buried there, which I don't mind. But so will Shelley, which gives me thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears. My Dad, the working class poet, has a Robert Louis Stevenson verse on his portion of the stone:
Under the wide and starry sky,
Dig the grave and let me lie.
Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will.
This be the verse you grave for me:
Here he lies where he longed to be;
Home is the sailor, home from sea,
And the hunter home from the hill. (2)
It's not where I long to be, so after reading the verse, I jogged on.
As I did, a verse from another book came to my mind -- the last verse from the book of Ephesians:
Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love undying.  (Ephesians 6:24/NIV)
When my sons and I got home, I told Shelley that's the verse I want on that stone.
But there's miles to go before I sleep (3), so before I do I intend to 'grave the Word of God on every heart with room left for the writing,
the way I just wrote it on yours.
(1) William Wordsworth, "Intimations of Immortality"; (2) Robert Louis Stevenson, "Requiem"; (3) Robert Frost, "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening"

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