“Time it was
And what a time it was, it was
A time of innocence
A time of confidences
Long ago it must be
I have a photograph
Preserve your memories
They’re all that’s left you”
― Paul Simon
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
Verse 6 Psalm XXIII
(an old Jewish book of prayer, opened to the XXIII Psalm / Julie Cook / 2014)
It had all the makings of a most odd union of two very different people.
One, a young tomboy who had a bad habit of saying whatever came to mind, often letting her emotional heart lead when a thoughtful mind would have sufficed. A zealot when it came to her Christian faith and a bit of a rabble rouser, yet one who actually played it safe and obeyed all the rules.
The other was more girly and most reserved, often painfully conscious of words and actions. She was often reluctant in her acknowledgment of her Jewish faith. Her family was multilayered consisting of step parents, 5 half brothers and sisters and several step siblings. More worldly and one who enjoyed a good time.
What drew them together?
What kept them together?
Fast forward over 4 decades.
Sitting in the ornately fashioned sanctuary, feeling a bit out of place and silently waiting for the service to begin, my mind began to wander in and out of the past 41 years and as to what had actually brought me to this particular place today. The delicate sounds of the piano soft and soothing.
Unexpectedly the weight of all the previous years, with all of their enormity, and all their stories, their secrets, their joy, their sorrows, came tumbling forward as I sat in silence feeling suddenly very very tired.
The Rabbi entered leading the family to their places. I watched a fragile figure, lead by husband and followed by daughters, take her solemn place.
A time of good-bye.
Had we not played this role before?
First almost 30 years ago for me, then years later for her, and now, we were gathering once again.
The last time I walked this aisle was 30 years ago during a wedding as I lifted a young confident bride’s trailing gown up the steps. I had worn the same dress 3 years prior as the roles were then reversed.
I grew up attending church 2 miles north on the same street.
What is it that separates us?
Likes and dislikes?
Miles, family, and doctrine?
The Cantor began the prayers.
A mournful and deeply reverent form of prayer as a profound moaning and yearning of the heart reverberated off the masterfully carved roundels along the ornately decorated ceiling.
Our moms both now gone.
Once it was agreed we’d trade them, one for the other.
I wanted the sweet one, she wanted the sassy one.
Now our trade is all but a forgotten long ago secret shared between two young angst ridden teens.
She was the stoical one, I was the emotionally driven one.
For good or bad, time and circumstances have reversed those roles.
Yet today we are both caught in the tide of emotions as life, age and death collide chaotically becoming one massive wave of what will soon be but a memory and moment of time passing.
Our time once passed painfully slowly as we yearned to grow up quickly.
Now time passes painfully quickly as we yearn to live more slowly–savoring and holding each sweet morsel of life tenderly before it filters through our fingers.
The differences are obvious.
They always will be.
The similarities however are found in the lamenting prayer from a mourning heart to the God of all of creation as we each watch the other learning to say good-bye . . .
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
I’m so sorry! She’s blessed to have a friend like you to love and support her!!
I’m so sorry your lost your friend. This is a lovely tribute to your friendship. Hugs and love, N ❤
it was my friend’s mom, she was 92 and had been in poor health for quite some time—it’s just that my friend has a very hard time with such—not that any one does handle loss well. . . but our dynamics are worn smooth with the passage of time and this is one more “moment” in our very different lives–yet which is something that binds us together—which is the blessing in the loss —
thanks Natalie for your kind words—as always—you would have loved the weather today 🙂 warm and sunny
You know I thought I remembered you saying it was someone’s mom and that she was in her 90’s. I’m so tired tonight that I must have not followed the story line as much as I should have. I had a dentist appt. at 9 and we were on the run for the better part of the day after that. I think we all handle loss differently and some appear to handle it better than others, but it usally just means they’re internalizing it. The preacher in the church we attended when my dad died came to the house the next day and spoke with my mom and all three of us girls. He told me since I was the oldest I’d have to put my grief aside and be the brave one that shored up the others. I was barely 18 years old and I took it to heart and did just that. Then in my 30’s I had to have the help of a mentor to finally let go of all that grief I had internalized and held onto. Thank God for her wisdom and the relief and release of and from all that hurt.
Hugs, N ❤
I know everyone processes the death of loved ones differently—and like you I had to pretty much put my grief aside and take on the role of “parent” to my dad who was then at a crippling loss—he couldn’t even boil water and simply sunk into a stupor of helplessness! And I desperately needed at the time, a strong figure to be there for me! I was young, newly married—my young husband did not know how then to be a supportive husband and helpmate—I was working, having to make the 70 mile trip over Atlanta weekly if not more often in order to tend to dad, then try to maintain my own “home”—it wasn’t until years later that the repercussions and fallout of my not having had anyone supporting me and helping me in own loss and grief all came to a terrible crashing collision in my life—a terrible time of spiritual and personal near destruction—it is to this day that I am so thankful for the Grace God has offered me, demonstrated to me and the fact that through my anger, resentment and destructive behavior, He still wanted me and loved me. . .and I’ve not let go to that life saving Grace!!
Life is certainly not easy–and how people manage to go about with God and His constant Grace and Love in their lives is hard for me to understand——
Happy Happy Wednesday Natalie!!!
Ya know, sometimes it’s uncanny how many similarities there are in your life and mine, missy.
I’m so sorry all that happened to you, but I’ve come to realize that it is our “brokenness” that allows us to bear fruit. As a gardener you know that a seed or pit or bulb must split open for life and growth to emerge. So now that we have been broken open, as it were, you and I are able to bear good fruit and in so doing not only hold onto the Grace that saves us but to also share and promote that constant and loving Grace to others. The Lord wastes no experience that comes into our lives and He can and does bring good out of all that we endure. I love you, my sweet Georgia peach. I hope you have a happy, happy Wednesday too. ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
boy what typos I have—and that should be “how folks go about WITHOUT God’s mercy and saving Grace— jees louise 🙂
kindred spirits are a gift to the soul and I thank you for being that to me 🙂
You are a gift to my soul as well and I thank you for that every day when I see “cookiecrumblestoliveby” appear in my inbox. Typos, what typos. Friends don’t see typos. Hee hee 🙂
That is amazing writing. Wow!
Hi Marce—-I see Soph must have told you about the blog —thank you for reading and for your kind words—I just hate seeing Soph so sad—but as she is what I’ve always said to be more Bud’s daughter than Helen’s, she has more strength in her then she ever realizes!!!
Hugs and love to you!!!
Oh Julie, no words. Let the scales fall off where they need to fall. Let truth abound. Bless the Lord of my soul and all my people Israel. You are a treasure to me.