peace and promise, touched with sorrow…

Unwavering certainty and absolute faith

Several years ago one of my dear friends, Linda Davis, lost her brother Hal after a long illness. Her Aunt, Donna Hart Parson, penned a poem that was a great comfort to the family. Yesterday, while I was straightening my study, a copy of the poem “accidentally” fell out of a book. I asked for, and received, permission to reproduce it here.

The poem is called “Morning,” and it couldn’t be any more appropriate for my brother, Geoff.

Where he awoke
It is morning.
Perhaps he paused
Puzzled at the lack of pain
And startled to find
Himself standing
Straight of spine
And firm of foot,
Perhaps he was bemused
A little by wisps
Of sorrow and love
Trailing after him,
Then with a shrug
That loosed earth and time
Like a fallen cloak,
He strode, unafraid
Into the brightness
Waiting there.
- Donna H. Parson, for Hal, 1982

LIFE AFTER LIFE: I asked one of my brother’s Hospice workers what she thought about ideas such as heaven, immortality, and eternity; and I asked if her work with those at the end of life’s journey had affected her beliefs.

“Absolutely,” she told me. “When I started working with Hospice I was ambivalent; but now I’m one hundred percent certain that there’s life beyond life.”

It wasn’t a conversation about Christianity; but it was a conversation about faith. She went on to explain that her work has taken away any doubts, and she feels that it is a real privilege to be a part of such a beautiful transition.

Well, I have to admit that I’m still having a hard time with the “beautiful” part of this, at least from my side of seeing in a glass, dimly. “We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us…” (First Corinthians 13:12 – The Message).

For right now I’ll still own up to pain, and sadness. But – at the same time – I really am feeling the assurance, and I’m owning the promise part too. And I can see my way clearly to the imagery in Donna Parson’s wonderful poem.

Now I see through a glass, dimly...

LONGING: I’ll even accept “beautiful” on Geoff’s behalf at least. Because I know, I know beyond the shadow of a doubt, that Geoff is enjoying the absence of pain, and the firmness of foot, and that he is striding unafraid into the brightness waiting there…

But I also suspect he has a wistfulness, and a hint of longing on behalf of his family – because our love has not nearly yet begun to let him go.

But it’s enough to go on for now. Peace – DEREK


  1. Derek,

    Thanks so much for sharing the poem this morning. I think it will help me as I try to accept the reality that death may be waiting for me when I have the valve replacement surgery…..

    Linda Crouse


  2. Having lost my first husband, then many other dear ones, I certainly relate to all facets of your grieving. However, nearly 38 years later and 35 years of a new marriage, the pain is gone — just some wistfulness remains. I can’t wait for my “two favorite men” to meet in Heaven. πŸ™‚ And for me, and eventually my daughters, grandchildren and great grandson to know the Joy of Reunion at the Throne of my Lord! Thus, I pray so fervently for these coming generations to come to know His Saving Grace and Favor!


  3. I keep getting notifications to confirm my subscription to this instrument. It says if I don’t reply, they’ll never bother me again. I want to be bothered only with your ‘essay.’ πŸ™‚


  4. Beautiful thoughts Derek. You didn’t really find that poem by accident. πŸ™‚ I have saved your encouraging words for future reference – I just know I’ll need them too someday.


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