Old Hymns and Angel Wings

Old Wings and Angel Wings

The clock ticks on the bedside table.
You sing softly. Old hymns.
Songs of life and the living memories.
Sometimes, the eyes open or flicker.
Sometimes, there is no response.
The room is thick with sadness.

You spend too much of your time with the dead and dying.
A strange thing perhaps for one who lives so vibrantly,
who believes in in the power of new life and love,
who sings and dances more often than is seemly
for a man your age.

But this is what you do
and you have become comfortable in the hours before death,
and the days after, never forgetting
they are alive, even in the last moments,
even in the moments after.
You choose a new hymn,
“I’ll fly away”, and sing.

About this poem

It has been a week. I did a funeral for someone precious to a good friend on Tuesday. I will spend time at someone’s deathbed later today. I began my own radiation treatments yesterday.

One of the many things I worried about when I answered the call to being a pastor, was dealing with the dead and dying. I was not sure how I would do. How would my own emotions handle such a time? Would I be able to serve others through my own emotions? My own sense of loss. I did not know.

It turns out, it is one of the most precious parts of my work. Two years ago, I added hospice work to my ministry and that, the honor of loving the ill and dying, and loving the families in their lost has become a calling all it’s own, and I do it, hopefully well enough, but certainly in love.

Life, I believe, never ends.

Tom

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