29 May 2008

The sting

It's a strange, sad day. After French class, I went to the train station to buy my ticket to Paris for tomorrow. As I walked into the station, I remembered that the Mister's train to Paris was leaving just about at that very moment (he has a conference there today and tomorrow and so we're meeting up in the morning), and I ran up to the Thalys platform and walked down the wagons until I found his familiar profile.

There we were, saying a surprise good-bye while the train steamed and beeped. But he broke some news that left me sobbing on the platform as the train pulled away, time only for a brief hug.

A close family friend of ours in Vermont, a young guy only 24 years old, died suddenly last night. He had battled leukemia for seven years, had gotten better, and then now, within days of discovering that the cancer had returned, passed away.

It's an incomprehensible loss; he was an only child and my heart mourns deeply for his parents, dear friends who have been fixtures of my life since before I can remember. My dad wrote, "[our friend] understood that his life was in God's hands. But it's so terribly hard to understand why he was taken from us." It is terribly hard to grasp such a thing, where human understanding and comprehension in the face of death fail us.

So no poem today, rather a passage from the Bible that is a lifeline for the shipwrecked, a promise in the face of human despair of death. In one of its beautiful metaphors, death is simply a change of clothes, something as quotidian and comforting as a new garment.

Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed--in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.

For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory."

"Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?"

3 comments:

Rocas said...

"Who farthest away e'er did roam
Heard the sweetest music on returning home".

I look a death not as a end, but a beginning to a new journey; a new beginning. And while I do grieve for the here and now connection, I rejoice in the life that was; the life that touched me; and the journey ahead for us all.
I enjoyed my visit here and look forward to coming back.

Sarah said...

Robin, I came back here today to re-read and comment on your wonderful, wonderful account of the wedding. I truly loved it and have tried my best to describe it all to Andrew (I should just have him read it). But now I am heartbroken by this news. We'll be praying for those touched by this loss, and I am thankful for those hopeful words from Scripture. I hope they bring comfort to you as well.

Rich said...

Robin - thank you so much for the wonderful words about our dear son's entrance into Glory.

Your way with words is truly a gift from God. We are so touched by your words and wisdom. Indeed, 'Death has been swallowed up in Victory'.

As David well said '...he can not come to me, but I will go to him'. Even as we grieve our loss, we rejoice that his trials are over.

Thank you dear friend!