“And He touched her hand, and the fever left her; and she arose and ministered unto Him.”—Mat_8:15.
“When He giveth quietness, who then can make trouble?”—Job_34:29.
“Be still (let go) and know that I am God.”— Psa_46:10.
“Yes, keep me calm, though loud and rude
The sounds my ear that greet;
Calm in the closet’s solitude;
Calm in the busy street.”
Let us see. Has every thing been done that can be done? Is the boat as shipshape for the gale as we can make her? Are the ropes all taut and well knotted? Are the sails set best for the winds that blow?
Have we done the best to meet the hour’s need, the best of gold and honour, yes, and of . . . steady within there, steady ... of one's own loved ones, one’s own heart blood? Has the best been given and done that can be?
Yes? Ah, yes! Yonder vacant room, and this empty chair by the fire, and at meal-time; the memory of the voice that speaks not, of the old laugh that rings not, of the gentle smile that comes not, of the step that is ever missing; and that little pile of letters there: these all answer a mute emphatic, “Yes.”
Well, then, it may ease the waiting time a bit to sit down, and, in between prayings, talk awhile in slow, hushed tones. Aye, and it will do more than ease waiting time. It will ease the tension on the heartstrings.
The thing that hurts the very most, down under all, is the personal loss.The feeling here is too deep and intense for speech. Always there is someone who is not here. There's the one who doesn't come now.
“The lights are out
In the mansion of clay;
The curtains are drawn,
For the dweller’s away;
He silently slipped
O’er the threshold by night,
To make his abode In the city of light.”
A bit of ourselves has gone. The absent one is a part of one's very self. We're not all here.
There’s a strange, bare, gone feeling.
A part of the life has gone. A part of the inner heart of one is quite gone. There’s only an empty space ... so empty . . . where he was. And the emptiness aches, a dull heavy aching, even in sleep.
There isn’t even a place to put flowers out maybe, on a little hilled-up sod, under a drooping elm. This personal part is the part that hurts most. This is where the thing comes closest and cuts deepest. This it is that seems to hold the break in the heart from getting together and healing.
“Here in this leafy place quiet he lies,
Cold with his sightless face turned to the skies;
’Tis but another dead—all you can say is said.
“Carry his body hence—kings must have slaves;
Kings climb to eminence over men’s graves.
So this man’s eye is dim; throw the earth over him.
“What was the white you touched there at his side?
Paper his hand had clutched tight ere he died ;
Message or wish, may be—smooth out the folds and see.
“Hardly the worst of us here could have smiled—
Only the tremulous words of a child—
Prattle, that had for stops just a few ruddy drops.
“Look, she is said to miss, morning and night,
His—her dead father’s—kiss; tries to be bright,
Good to mamma, and sweet—that is all,
“Ah, if beside the dead slumbered the pain!
Ah, if the hearts that bled slept with the slain!
If the grief died! — But no — Death will not have it so.” (Austin Dobson.)
And there’s the broken future. So much of the tomorrow of one’s life was bound up in the one who isn’t here.
It is as if all the morrows, that were so bright with radiant sunlight, and clustering with buds and roses, and rippling with joyous music, and fragrant with all the sweetest subtlest fragrances of life, as if all these morrows were clean wiped out with one fell stroke.
And only a dull heavy laden-skied today remains, with intervals of nights for sleeping; if sleep will come. And a routine of goings around to ease the sharper edge a bit; but just today; no morrow; the future is dropped quite out.
Future, plans, sunlight, flowers, fragrance, music ... all quite gone, for be is gone. Only to-day’s dull round, heavy steps, drab skies, wintry chill, clinging fog. The cherished plans have gone. This adds its sting to the personal loss.