Sunday, May 14, 2017

But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow.

Through the branches glance
The moon’s pale round glow of peace
Let my soul rise up

I have been walking through Common Prayer these mornings.

Every morning begins with a prayer to let my soul rise up
To greet Him as the sun rises
Glory to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit
As it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever.

And  there is always a song.
Today was “The Servant Song”, and as always, YouTube provides a plethora of options. There are the usual sunsets and ocean vistas lyric powerpoints. And one with clips from Sister Moon and Brother Sun.
Will you let me be your servant
Let me be as Christ to you
Pray that I might have the grace
To let you be my servant too

But there was also one with clips from The Lord of the Rings.
Last night was the last night for the Coverdale family at 6902 E Fourth Street. Some of the stuff of homes has already been hauled across town to the waiting two-bedroom condo. And there are boxes of dishes wrapped in newspaper and the to donate piles are growing. And of course, because this is the Coverdale home, stacks and stacks of books are being sorted and ever-so-many-half-empty-photo-albums. 
We are pilgrims on the journey
We are brothers on the road
We are here to help each other
Walk the mile and bear the load

The heat of day had dissipated and the night air was fresh under a just-waning moon. We all bounced up and down in the bouncy black patio chairs by the double-bowl fountain. And the stories flowed a bit, of the climbing rope Scott got for his thirteenth birthday and how he and Tom would sneak over to the neighborhood school to rappel off the roof. And how on the back of the silverware drawer of the cupboard that Grandpa Eckberg made for mom and dad it is written that the wood came from the shutter of their 1815 house. There was a scary moment when Jenny realized that it was NOT dad creaking around in the backyard because he and mom were standing together at the end of the hallway so it must be a burglar. And dad chased him out through the squeaky gate.

I will hold the Christ light for you
In the night time of your fear
I will hold my hand out to you
Speak the peace you long to hear.
But mostly, it was a gentle night of Coverdaleness. The Mexican salad in Alene’s carved wooden  bowl. Homemade rolls covered with sesame seeds. Green beans and almonds. Grilled Portobello mushrooms and mozzarella cheese and basil. Zach chatting about his new job at University Medical Center’s intensive care unit. Jenny giving me her great idea of writing a haiku of gratefulness each morning. Scott spending the day with Uncle Jim helping him with his money management. Mom actually sitting at the end of the table, drinking iced tea, and not in the kitchen sticking dishes into the washer.
I will weep when you are weeping
When you laugh, I’ll laugh with you
I will share your joy and sorrow
Till we’ve seen this journey through.
One of the Coverdale things is that we spent a lot of time traveling together, mostly in a blue Chrysler station wagon back and forth and around these united states playing the license plate game and spelling out GHOST, but also in an orange VW van through Belgium and Holland and Switzerland and Italy and France and Spain, and we stayed in a lot of pensiones and Motel 6 motels and even more KOA campsites and for a couple of years I read the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy out loud.
And sometimes I am pretty stubborn and quick to make a decision. And when I brought home a used dog with a crazy smile to hang out with my dad, I announced that her name was Samwise Gamgee. Because old Samwise Gamgee pretty much sums up my feelings about my family. Old Samwise who couldn’t carry the unnamed burden, but he sure could carry Mr. Frodo up that last dark cliff of Mt. Doom.
All of the sideways cracks about hitching up your britches and stopping your bellyaching is just part of the Coverdale story. The real story is that my family is really about serving. We all know that my dad’s first words whenever he answered the telephone were, “How can I help you?” Without a shadow of resentment, he was filled with a deep quiet joy at yet another opportunity to be like his Jesus. And it doesn’t really matter where or what, if it was hauling shoes and haircuts to orphans in Tijuana or sitting through endless doctor visits with our Vietnamese boat family or sticking on long strips of labels onto missionary newsletters, this was our true legacy that will not end when we all drive away from the oleander-bushed pink brick house at the end of the cul-de-sac. Not the gold-gilt Mama Gert mirrors or Papa’s sturdy oak chairs, but the lived out look of what it means to be as Christ.
When we sing to God in heaven
We shall find such harmony
Born to all we’ve known together
Of Christ’s love and agony

Thank you daddy. Thank you momma.