Friday, April 19, 2019

Draw me safely to Thy side

Apologies in advance, because this is going to be a heavy post for a Friday. But for those in the Christian faith, it's Good Friday, and where I am right now it's gloomy and rainy, so heavy seems appropriate.

In the past several years, death has visited my family far too many times. My dad died of lung cancer in 2011. A couple months later my aunt Linda died at age 61 of a brain aneurysm. My mom died in her sleep of an apparent heart attack in 2014, and then three days later our goddaughter Lauren died at just nine months old. Aaron's mom died of pancreatic cancer three years ago. My grandmother died at age 99 eighteen months ago. My aunt Jean died last fall after years of various health issues.

Last night we sang at a Maundy Thursday service. For as long as I can remember, one of the anthems for the night is "Jesus, Thy Boundless Love to Me." The words are by Paul Gerhart, and this particular arrangement is by Craig Courtney. It begins with men's unaccompanied voices, then the organ comes in. The second verse is sung by the full choir but it's still somewhat subdued. The third verse builds to a powerful crescendo. Then the fourth verse is a cappella and quite soft. Here are the words to that last verse:

In suffering be Thy love my peace;
In weakness be Thy love my power;
And when the storms of life shall cease,
O Jesus, in that final hour,
Be Thou my rod and staff and guide,
And draw me safely to Thy side.

For the past four years, every time we sing those words all I can think is that I hope that is what death is like.

I hope it for my dad and Aaron's mom, who both suffered from that horrible disease, cancer.

I hope it for Linda, who was here one minute and gone the next.

I hope it for my mom, who wasn't ill when she died but had so much stress on her at the time.

I hope it for Lauren, who lived such a short life but touched us all so much.

I hope it for my grandmother who outlived her husband and both of her daughters.

I hope it for Jean who, once she made the decision to move to hospice care, was finally at peace.

Read the words again. If you're not Christian, replace "Jesus" with whatever higher power you believe in.

I hope.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Showin' my books - April '19

Hola, friends! I just returned from Florida, where I spent four days with 20+ sorority sisters. It was glorious. I also managed to read a little so I'm linking up with Jana and Steph.

Life According to Steph

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris - Somehow, I did not know until after I finished the book that it was based on a true story. I seriously thought it was fiction until I read the Afterword and Author's Note. That changed my whole opinion of the book, which I can't quite explain but when I thought it was fiction, I felt like it was missing something. Anyway, I gave this 4 stars.

Educated by Tara Westover - This one I definitely knew was a memoir. I don't know that I would have read this on my own, but my real life book club read it and I was interested in the story. It is stunning to realize that people really do grow up the way she did. I gave this one 4 stars as well, because while it was uncomfortable to read at times, I felt that it was important (for me) to read.

The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory - I needed some "junk food" reading after the previous two, and this fit the bill. What I really enjoyed about this was that it involved an interracial romance but the conflict has nothing to do with race. The characters are all diverse - black, Latino, Asian, gay... I loved that. This is the second book in The Wedding Date series, and I have not yet read The Wedding Date, but I will! 4 stars

That's it for now. I stayed up late to finish The Proposal, so I'm between books right now, but the next book club book is My Sister, the Serial Killer, so I should get on that.