March 22, 2015

When Friends and Loved Ones Die

The Bluff Point Methodist Church where Nancy and I worship lost a good friend and a devoted servant of the Lord. Cindy Heggie, the church organist and accompanist for the choir and for soloists, died at the age of sixty-six.

The opening hymn for Cindy’s Memorial Service on Saturday, March 21 was Lord You Have Come to the Lakeshore.  The refrain includes a line which reads “…now my boat’s left the shoreline behind me, by your side I will seek other seas,”

That verse, her service in the Navy, and Cindy’s belief in the promises of Scripture, prompted me to remember the following narrative:
It is a clear bright day, and I am standing with friends on a hill overlooking a picturesque New England harbor. Below us, a sailing ship spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean beyond.  
She is an object of beauty and strength, and we stand and watch her until she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the ocean and the sky mingle on the horizon. 
Then someone at my side says, “There, she is gone!” Gone where? Gone from our sight, that’s all. She is just as large in mast and hull as she was when she left the harbor below, and she is just as able to bear her faithful pilgrims to her destined port. 
Her diminished size is in us, not in her. And just at the moment when someone by my side says, “There, she is gone!” there are other voices ready to take up the glad shout, “Here she comes!”
And that, dear friends and loved ones of Cindy Heggie, that is dying.

Those of us who knew Cindy believe she has safely arrived on that distant shore where loved ones and friends have greeted her and welcomed her to the Gardens of Paradise.