The House of Mourning

The lovely Angela and I have a friend for whom the medical prognosis is not good. Our time with her seems ever to be shorter. Of course, this has prompted much prayer and reflection on our part. We have pleaded with God to extend her days for His sake and the sake of her husband and sons. And for our sakes. We have thanked God for the rich ministry she has had in our church and school, specifically in music, both singing in our services and teaching our kids more skillfully to praise their God. We feel we still need her, and desire her to remain.

I must admit that, in these reflections, I have found it difficult to contemplate the mortality of this friend without contemplating to some extent the approach of that calamity to other loved ones as well as myself. I have wept–in addition to weeping for my friend and her family–for my mother, my wife’s parents, my own excellent wife. I have wept for myself.

At first, I found this troubling, not wishing to indulge in any morose self-pity, particularly in light of another’s difficulties. But is this not the purpose of the Preacher’s invitation to the house of mourning, our own instruction? In considering the life and ministries of this friend whom we love, do we not learn to desire to acquit ourselves just as well? And in desiring, do we not seek out the appropriate means so to do? In reassuring ourselves of the confidence we have for our friend’s salvation, do we not again assure ourselves in our own confidence of our Savior?

(Ironically our friend has proclaimed to us the very words with which we would comfort her, having on more than one occasion sung in our congregation Handel’s “I Know That My Redeemer Liveth” and Gaul’s “Eye Hath not Seen.”)

And Donne recapitulates the Preacher. Our friend is a part of us; we are a part of her. To think otherwise would be inhumane. It would be a meanness, a shunning of that great treasure affliction, of which “scarce any man hath enough.”

1 comment to The House of Mourning

  • Mom

    Beautiful words making some sense of the emotional pain and misery we feel. I ache to think if ever any of the “moms” were to leave the circle as early as Margaret. You speak so well just some of the feelings that most of us cannot articulate.

    I especially pondered on these”

    In reassuring ourselves of the confidence we have for our friend’s salvation, do we not again assure ourselves in our own confidence of our Savior?

    Our friend is a part of us; we are a part of her. To think otherwise would be inhumane. It would be a meanness, a shunning of that great treasure affliction, of which “scarce any man hath enough.”

Leave a Reply

 

 

 

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>