Yesterday I went to the memorial service for a young man in our congregation who died at the age of 22 last week. I did not know him, barely know who his parents and sister are ~ but three of his cousins were long-ago Montessori preschool classmates and friends of my own children, and I wanted to let those girls and their parents know how much they had been in my thoughts all week. We ended up in the balcony, and I looked down on the pew in which they were sitting and was filled with memories of very small children racing around the playground and building the pink tower and sharing picnic lunches in my backyard ~ how can it be that more than 15 years have passed, and have led to this terrible sorrow, the one that all parents fear more than any other?
We sing a lot of John Bell/Iona music at our church, and I want to share a piece from yesterday's service. I can't find it online, but it was obviously a perfect selection to honor the memory of a young man who was just emerging into adulthood:
Here Am I
In the warmth of the womb I met you,
And I called you to life through the love of man and wife;
In the warmth of the womb I met you, saying, "Here am I."
As a baby in arms I met you,
Wrapped in linen and care, watched and weclomed everywhere;
As a baby in arms I met you, saying, "Here am I."
In the tensions of youth I met you,
Whether shy or uncouth, always searching for the truth;
In the tensions of youth I met you, saying, "Here am I."
In the quiet of your home I met you,
When the door opened wide, strangers came and out went pride;
In the quiet of your home I met you, saying, "Here am I."
And wherever you go I will meet you,
Till you draw your last breath in the birthplace known as death;
Yes, wherever you go I will meet you, saying, "Here am I."