Friday, March 11, 2016

Dearly Departed

(On sacramental love, signpost saints, mirrored reflections, good ghosts, the blessed bygone)

Ah-gong's birthday soon.
I will be in Jordan.

Old love, you have left, I have been left behind, I have had to let you go, too, yet in spite of it all –– I know myself to have been and to be marvelously loved.


for so long. 

to have had you.
at all.

I have been thinking about this kind of sacramental love, signpost people, the very most reflective mirrors of the divine image.

I have known an unmeritable number of such formative friends.

Who are they? these ghosts who, having departed, stay with us yet? The blessed bygones who help and hound and hold and heal us on our way home, by their presence––by their absence too? In life or death, once near, now far-off. You grieve, yet with the strangest new hope, new hunger. And thirst. For righteousness. Satisfaction. It is good grief. Good ghosts.

Love will abide.

Who are they, whose love was sacramental, life-dispensing, grace-bearing, whose loss is not only felt, but also felt proof of where they once had so very incarnately been?

In the spaces they leave, you know that their love was so astonishing, unending, so much stronger than death, that it lives on even in your own transfiguration–– your having been its object.

Of them, it can be said and sung "because I knew you, I have been changed for good."

Who are they for whom "nevermind, I'll find someone like you" is neither possible nor desirable––no rebound or replacement could suffice or be true to how astonishingly and how truly you were upheld in unmixed love.

Expansion (a heart like the ocean) is the only way onward –– larger, deeper, farther, higher, more, greater, wider, stronger, longer. They came along, bore you up, went along.

I ask these things, because hardly a day goes by unblessed by the memories and the passage of these dearly departed, not all dead, saints, sons, and sinners.

Sometimes, such abundant, time-stopping with-ness seems just too extravagant for the mundane time order in which we must live on and labor. A dalliance with eternity.

To have crossed paths at all, was almost too much, and certainly not enough.

You could and likely will love and miss them for all your days, always longing yet never lacking. Certainly at the milestones –– signposts as they were. No longer having that bygone togetherness is just the light yoke of living right on, because that cup is overflowing still.

I am not glad they are gone, but I am not sorry; they remain near. It is a strange thing. The kind of encounters and brief communions that mediate and concretize the divine, intertrinitarian love and delight that gird up all that ever has been.

Perhaps that is why they come.
And why they must go.

Christ has died.

They were talking with each other about all these things that had happened.
While they were talking and discussing together,
Jesus himself drew near and went with them;
but their eyes were kept from recognizing him.

These manifestations/demonstra(y)tions are miniscule in proportion.
Do you remember the redirection of the sun's rays by a diamond?
Kaleidoscope days.

So clear, like
Dizzying, like

thank you Lord for shadows and dim reflections.
thank you Lord, for space to see you.
thank you Lord, you are all that is real.

He acted as if he were going farther,
but they urged him strongly, saying,
"Stay with us, for it is toward evening
and the day is now far spent."
So he went in to stay with them.
When he was at table with them,

he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them.
And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him .  . .
He was known to them in the breaking of the bread.

You were there. A communion of souls. It was your table.

Christ is risen.

You were there. You were there, it was you.

Christ will come again.

Your Ghost. Your Abiding presence.
My Guarantor. 
Your return. 
It will be my full consolation.

Sit with us, dear Lord. Dine with me here.
Holy Stranger, help me hear, help me see.
O Lord who changes not, abide with me.
Here I am!
I stand at the door and knock.
If anyone hears my voice and opens the door,


  1. You healed some unknown parts of my heart with these words. Thank you.

    During Grace Conference, there was a Q and A session for the speakers. One of the questions was "what would you say to God when you see him face to face?" Right then and there, on the stage, my eyes started to leak. The tears were nearly uncontrollable. What would, or could, I say when I see my Father's face? When it was my turn to answer, I squeaked, "thank you."

    That will be all.

    Until then, I will say "thank you" to you, my dearest Esther, while my eyes leak.

    1. Irene, thank YOU. "On bearing faces"

      I have sweaty eyeballs too... All. The. Time. Can you believe that at that moment of finally seeing, shining face to shining face, the last tears will fall, Father himself will wipe them all away.

      Full consolation.