In this post, I talked about driving back to Prince Albert late in the evening, arriving home from our vacation, and having to face the fact that my grandpa was dying in this city and that within weeks that city would no longer be our home. I’m not going to lie. I spent the last half hour of that car ride crying my little eyes out. Part of it was because Marc had put on one of my favourite albums: Fernando Ortega‘s Shadow of Your Wings. We wake up to this album every morning. It is so beautiful and gives me a little bit of peace every time I listen to it.
But that night, this song came on, and all I could think of was my granny and grandpa. (The words that grandpa spoke to me the next day — “I can’t be around forever” — made it even more poignant.)
I think of my grandpa every time I listen to that song now. Part of it is because of all of the nature imagery — grandpa was an amazing gardener and that was his passion. But the other part is the words like “withers and fades away”, “shrivels in the sun and falls”. I think of how strength and vitality and youth stayed with him for years longer than most people. (He’d play frisbee with my kids when I was too tired to!) But he still faded away.
We look at our lives as though we are invincible sometimes. Like our intelligence or determination or physical strength can keep us and sustain us. But those things, as the song says, are like grass blowing in the wind, delicate flowers whose petals so easily shrivel and fall.
And I’ll be honest with you. It makes me incredibly sad. It makes me sad to think about a man who lived about as good a life as a man could live — so full of generosity, vitality, and grace. It made me sad to physically see him wither and fall, as all do in old age. But how even more heartbreaking for someone to lose their life in their youth, without even the chance to go through the natural progression of life. I guess it all feels hopeless in the end.
(Go to 1:05 if you haven’t been listening to the song the whole time already.)
But the Word of the Lord endures forever.
In the end, we are all small and fragile and broken and dying. But the Word of the Lord endures forever. I don’t think that statement takes away the sadness that comes with the withering and the shriveling and falling. I don’t think that if you just “believed enough” in the forever-ness of the Word, that you suddenly feel no sadness. But I believe that you find a deep, indescribable comfort in the midst of the sadness when you allow that truth to sink in: The Word of the Lord endures forever.