Remembering – With A Smile And A Tear

Yesterday I did my weekly prayer walk… Passing a school I pray for certain young people. Passing a church I pray for certain ministers. Passing a café I pray for friends I’ve recently drunk coffee with…

At ‘Kathryn’s bench’ I remember Kathryn, a young person who died in 2012, her parents, and other bereaved friends. I remember good people no longer with us with a smile; I join those still grieving – sometimes with a tear.

At ‘Singing for Health’ yesterday it was Peter’s 72nd birthday. He cares for his wife Brenda who’s in a wheelchair. We sung a number of favourites… including the Elvis song:

Wise men say
“Only fools rush in”
But I can’t help
Falling in love with you.

Peter and Brenda were singing, looking at each other, holding hands across the table. I lump came to my throat, a tear to my eye; I joined them smiling.

Rob Houchen’s a Lowestoft boy who’s made it in the West End. He’s starred in Les Misérables, and most recently in South Pacific. Last night we had a wonderful evening hearing him sing a selection of songs from stage musicals, Abba, Queen…

Today would be his ‘Grandad Bob’s birthday’. To remember him Rob sang the Nat King Cole song:

Smile, though your heart is aching
Smile, even though it’s breaking
When there are clouds in the sky, you’ll get by…

Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear may be ever so near

Reading the Bible narrative… David has killed Goliath and is popular. Jealous, insecure, unpredictable King Saul tries to kill David. Saul’s son Jonathan is David’s best friend, but loyal to his father. David has to flee for his life.

David and Jonathan meet for one last time… they embrace… tears are shed…

I sit on Kathryn’s bench with bitter-sweet memories of friends and family no longer with us… that paradox that in tears of grief and weakness there are smiles of joy and hope.  

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