“Let me hear of your steadfast love in the morning,
For in you I put my trust.
Teach me the way I should go,
For to you I lift up my soul.” Psalm 142:8
I knew my neighbor John only a few months since moving here earlier in the year. We’d talk as he ventured unsteadily down the street, clutching his walker. He had hoped to regain his former vitality after surgery, and the weakness in his legs frustrated him.
It was a long year for my neighbor, whose wife died a year ago this week. No longer able to drive, he increasingly depended on a cadre of help and neighbors who watched over him. Like everyone else this year, he was lonely. While out walking the dog, a neighbor told me. “John died this week, you know.”
The sadness has been with me all day, his death a reminder of all we’ve lost. It’s not for me to know what the Coroner typed on his death certificate. It could have been anything given his advanced years, yet I wonder. The heartbreak of losing a life partner or perhaps the loneliness and isolation of the year of CoVid took their toll. Nevertheless, his smile and gentle spirit remained undiminished to the end.
I will miss my neighbor John. As we greet one another up and down the block on our morning walks, we will speak his name aloud. We will remember him. I cannot help but be glad for him. As we say in the prayers of thanksgiving at memorial services: “We thank you God that for our beloved, all sickness and sorrow have ended, and death itself is past and that our beloved has entered the home where all your people gather in peace.”
Today we remember the more than half a million lives lost to CoVid, and we name the names and we tell the stories, and we count the cost as we commend their lives to God in glory. As we lament this week, we remember the words of the Psalmist that will see us through this difficult season as even now our faces turn toward the dawning that surely will come: “Let me hear of your steadfast love in the morning, for in you I put my trust.”
God’s grace, mercy and peace be with you,