Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Till We Meet at Jesus' Feet

I first became acquainted with the hymn "God Be With You Till We Meet Again" at my home church in RI. It was while in the process of discernment, not long before I left for seminary. Since that time, I have found it to be evocative and laden with meaning. Shortly after CPE began, I discovered that this is a particularly meaningful hymn to this community as well.

The last couple of weeks I have spent much of my time with the resident mentioned in my previous post.Walking and waiting
with R and her daughters has been an amazing, life altering experience for me. Each time I went to her room, I had to listen carefully to what the Spirit was saying. Sometimes I thought I was going for Rand it ended up being for one or both of her daughters. Other times, like the last time I was with R, I initially thought I was there for her daughters.

For a while I had been praying that God would take R home to be with God. Each day I would check and she was still with us, though that much closer to death than the previous day. My last visit with R began with checking in on her daughters.. Sitting with them, I could hear that R’s breathing had changed since the morning when I had last been there. She was far more congested, so I went in to spend some time with her.

She was not experiencing the peaceful sleep of earlier in the day, but her breathing was much more labored. I sat and prayed with/for her. Knowing how our residents recognize the Lord’s Prayer when they may not even know their own names, I prayed that with her. I continued to pray for God’s angels to surround her and carry her into the Father’s presence. Finally, I sang the first verse and refrain of God Be With You Till We Meet Again to her. When I sang “Till we meet, till we meet, till we meet at Jesus’ feet…God be with you till we meet again,” I realized that indeed I may not see her again “till we meet at Jesus’ feet.” I could envision worshiping together around the throne of grace.

She passed away peacefully later that night, surrounded by family and friends. I will see her again, “…at Jesus’ feet.”

I participated in R's funeral service, along with the hospice chaplain. This was my first opportunity to be involved in a funeral in this capacity. Previously, I had only been an observer or mourner. The family would like me to conduct a memorial service at BV, knowing that many of R's friends were unable to attend the funeral.

J, our CPE supervisor often says that the residents are our teachers. R. taught me to listen beyond words to the heart and soul. She welcomed me into her home and into her life. I was invited to journey with her in her final days of life on this earth—to read to her, sing to her, pray with and for her, and to wait with those she loved as they maintained the bedside vigil. R, for this I thank you. God be with you till we meet again.


Beth said...

It is a privilege to journey with someone into death. There is both joy and sadness, I have found. Blessings to you as you continue your walk with R's family.

Ivy said...

Thanks Beth. There is an old Michael Card song, "There is a joy in the journey..." It can be bittersweet though. God's peace.

Jennifer said...

It is such a privilege to be invited close during life transitions. I'm sure you have been the embodiment of God's grace with R and her family.

Ivy said...

I trust so, Jennifer.

Mark Daniels said...

This is such a good, insightful post.

God bless.


Ivy said...

Thank you Mark.