Monday, December 26, 2011

The Sunset: Abide with Me

The Sunday after Josh passed away, we had a sacrament meeting in our home with extended family. As the day wore on and people started leaving, I decided to change into more comfortable clothes. While in process, I heard in my mind, "I want to show you's outside." Although I couldn't see the western sky, I sensed somehow that it was a sunset I would see. As I took an extra second deciding what sweater to wear, I heard the voice, "Hurry, you're going to miss it!" I did hurry. As I slipped on shoes and grabbed my coat, I had a flicker of doubt ~ what if I had imagined the voice? What if there was nothing out there waiting for me? But the voice repeated then and again as I made my way across the school parking lot, "Hurry, you're going to miss it!"

There was no disappointment. I stood on the northeast side of the school track where I knew I could get a full view and I took it all in. The art in the sky was amazingly symmetrical with dark purple clouds billowing on 'stage left' and 'stage right'. Directly ahead of me was a burning bright sun that had dipped halfway below the horizon ~ making the layers of thin long clouds directly above it blaze out with silver linings. Elevated above that was a long thicker cloud and in the center of it was an unusual shaft of light shooting up from the setting sun. Above that were dozens of cotton ball-like puffs of clouds that filled the expanse to the left and right and outward toward the sky above me. I have never seen a sunset to match it's glory. I was so overcome by the divine majesty of it, I stepped back and held onto the fence for strength as I broke out in uncontrollable sobs.

(This is a different sunset that my son took a picture of.)
Of course, as I stood there in awe, the sun continued to lower and as it did, it was like a dimmer knob was lowering, not just light, but also warmth, all around me and inside my very soul. It darkened too fast ~ especially when I lost complete sight of the sun and the brilliant glow it had given the surrounding clouds was gone. It all seemed to echo the pain I felt of losing Josh ~ his happiness, his laughter, his goodness, his amazing potential. I hurt, deeply. As I acknowledged the symbolism of the darkness following the sun set and the emptiness in me from Josh passing away, a new thought entered my mind from the Holy Ghost. Simple, yet profound. "The sun sets, and the sun rises." It was a promise of the resurrection.

As I made my way back home, I started to sing, "Abide With Me". I couldn't remember much of the lyrics. I felt prompted that it was something I was supposed to look up, so I did. In the next few day, as extended family left for their own homes, things were quiet around here. It was healing for me to focus on arranging this hymn on the piano. I loved discovering that the last words of the 3rd verse of the hymn were, "Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, Abide with me." It was a gift given to me from the spirit that will always remind me of a voice that said, "I have something to show you..."

Click here to listen to my arrangement of "Abide With Me."
The audio will open on another window, but you may return to this window and follow the lyrics below as you listen:

ABIDE with ME!
Words by Henry F. Lyte, 
Music by Wm. H. Monk

Abide with me! Fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens. Lord, with me abide!
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me!

Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day.
Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away.
Change and decay in all around I see;
O thou who changest not, abide with me!

I need thy presence ev’ry passing hour.
What but thy grace can foil the tempter’s pow’r?
Who, like thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Thru cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me!

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