Tag Archives: sorrow

After – Albuquerque 1996

1294519_10151934672121063_245716286_oAfter the prayers had been said
and the motions had been made;

after the rulings had been dispensed
and the speeches had been delivered;

after the instructions had been given
and the buttons had been pushed;

after the votes had been tallied
and the results announced;

after the passion
and the decent order;

after . . .
. . . the assembly sat in quiet contemplation,
pondering who had won
and who had lost,
considering what was gained
and what the cost.

My heart sundered the silence,
breaking, softly breaking,
for those, who by official action,
had been denied their full humanity,
and, whose gifts, but that same official action,
had been rejected.

A tear slid down my check,
coming to rest in tangled whiskers.
A single tear
shed for those beloved of God
who the vote would exclude
and for those
who out of fear
or prejudice
or lack of love
or for whatever reason
sought to shut doors –
and build walls –
and keep out –
and settle once and for all;
and in so doing
lost an opportunity
to join in
God’s amazing,
welcoming,
including,
affirming,
door-opening,
wall-smashing,
never-ending
love.

This was written after the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s 208th General Assembly (1996). That assembly met in Albuquerque, New Mexico and took action to recommend a change the church’s constitution that would ban LGBTQ individuals from serving in ordained offices. I attended that assembly as an observer. As the United Methodist Church meets to wrestle with similar questions, I remembered this piece and choose to share it. 

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Until we meet again, Ted Hickman

14316837_10209909925482586_6630254089391490747_nOnly 17 short days ago they gathered to bid me farewell. My colleagues and friends from the community of nongovernmental organizations at the United Nations; my friends and colleagues from the Presbytery of New York City.

Ted was there. And after the words were spoken and the time came for people to leave, Ted and I looked at each other across the room.

We smiled. We moved toward one another. And as we had done before, threw open our arms and walked into an embrace, two bears seeking to engulf each other.

He whispered into my ear. Words of thanks. Assurances of prayers. Best wishes for what lay ahead.

I whispered back. Words of thanks. Assurances of prayers. Best wishes for what lay ahead.

As we disengaged, I said my final words. I refused to say goodbye as I left New York. And so I said to Ted, “Until we meet again.”

Only two short hours ago I received the email from the office of the Presbytery of New York City.

“In Memoriam” read the subject line. I had received enough emails with that subject to know what it meant. Someone had died.

I was prepared to learn of a death. I was not prepared to see Ted’s gracious, smiling face. Nor did I expect to read these words:

It is with deep sadness and grief for his family and this presbytery that I tell you that Theodore (Ted) Hickman, the Moderator of our Presbytery of New York City, died last night in his sleep.

Ted was 51.

My initial shock has given way to deep sadness and grief.

I grieve for his family … for Duryea Presbyterian Church where he served as the Commissioned Ruling Elder (pastor) … for his colleagues at NYU-Langone Medical Center … for the Presbytery of New York City … for all who knew and loved this good man.

I grieve for a song and life ended too soon. Too soon.

I grieve for what might have been.

I grieve for myself.

I grieve, knowing that, in life and in death, Ted, and all of us belong to God.

I grieve, knowing that love never ends, even death can never sever the cords of love that bind us together.

I grieve, believing in the resurrection.

I grieve and proclaim “Alleluia.”

I grieve and remember those final words I said:

Until we meet again,
my friend, my brother.
Until we meet again.

Note: the photo of Ted Hickman is the one that appeared in the message from the Presbytery of New York that announced his death. 

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Sorrow

Suddenly,
swiftly,
surprisingly,
sorrow storms the
bastions of his heart,
extinguishing joy,
expelling love,
crushing hope,
firmly establishing
for itself
domination
and
control.

7 November 2014
Louisville, KY

 

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There is you

Years roll on, time goes by,
there is you.

Tears do flow, tears do dry,
there is you.

Fears arise, fears subside,
there is you.

Many miles may divide,
there is you.

Sorrows fade, as does pain,
there is you.

Laughter, joy, love remain,
there is you.

And I give thanks.

For TDK
15 February 2014
Shire near the Hudson

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Life

In a world tattered and torn,
a world battered and worn;

In a world of sorrow and pain,
a world of horror and shame;

In a world where I weep for the evil we do,
a world where I grieve for what sisters and brothers endure;

In such a world,
I give thanks.

In this world,
I give thanks
for hope and faith
for love and grace.

In my world,
I give thanks
for tender mercies and boundless joy,
courage unexpected and strength unforeseen.

In our world,
I give thanks
for a baby’s first cry
and a parent’s first smile.

I give thanks
for life.

23 January 2014
New York, New York

For
Joann, Mike, and Austin
Roja, Joel, and their newborn daughter whose name I will list as soon as they tell me
And all new parents and babies

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An achy night

My fingers ache
from the cold
and for those
who cannot come in
from the cold.

My heart aches for family, friends
and people I have not met, will never meet,
who heavy loads bear:
illness and sorrow
grief, pain and worry.

My soul aches for God’s children
in this city and around the world
who endure violence,
overt or structured
this day, every day.

I ache.

And I wonder,
is there a balm?

7 January 2014
Shire Near the Hudson

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In memory, E.L.W.

I remember courage.
I remember faith.
I remember wisdom.
I remember grace.

I remember sorrow.
I remember tears.
I remember grieving.
I remember fears.

I remember laughter.
I remember song.
I remember welcome.
I remember joy.

I remember hard work.
I remember toil.
I remember changes.
I remember pain.

I remember caring.
I remember hope.
I remember sharing.
I remember love.

I remember you, my friend.
Thank God,
I remember you.

22 July 2012
DL 1776
MCO – LGA

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