Stories … they’re funny things. This A Deacon’s Musing feature will share vignettes of voices that are (often) an amalgamation of experiences, contexts and people. They will frequently be monologues, which will be speaking both directly to our United Church of Canada and generally to faith communities. As with all stories, this may not have actually happened, but all stories are true. And as story-tellers know, once you hear them, they are happening to you …
What would he write to you, if he could? I am blank – with no words scribed upon me – yet I can imagine what he might write to you, from the other side, if he could. If – in your grief – this is helpful, please unfold me, find solace, perhaps even healing? Perhaps you’ve moved on? Perhaps you’re angry? Perhaps you are lost and wandering: wondering? However, I find you or you me, I pray you find hope as you continue to read …
There are so many ways I can imagine that you might have responded to his leaving you – to his dying – that more than one letter might be possible. So – perhaps – I will simply record a few things upon which I imagine he might have focused. Maybe– just maybe – this will help you in moving from lament and tears to what could be …
I think he would long to see you again – I feel that would be so important to him. To touch you once more, to discuss the dreams and plans you had made. Sitting with one another in the intimacy of silence and the deep waters of stories that connected you. He would want this – if for no other reason – to make sure you were okay: perhaps even healed from the shock of his loss.
He would likely want to revisit those first few days when you came together: as he shared his vision and, you, your hopes. Those moments of first meeting, youthful almost, when everything seems possible. I think he would hope to find a way to reconnect with that initial passion that drew you together.
He would – as time passed – have tried to contact you more than once. He would know, in that impossibility, there would be change for you. Changes that neither he, nor you, could have anticipated when you were together. The plans that might have made, which were so clear in his living, would no longer be familiar to him.
I also imagine there would apology – not for what he shared, what you learned together or the choices made – but that he knew you were hurt. He would ask for your forgiveness – for breaking your heart. If there is any one thing he would repeat it would be his affection for you – his Beloved – and his deepest regret that he knows you too would not only have suffered after his death, but also that his death cut you so deeply.
Sea of Galilee Image: Zachi Evenor
I think there might also be space for reminiscing about the time before you met – about that same town which you both once called home. Even in your youth – before even meeting – you both knew the place was too small – too confining. On the shoreline you would sit and you recognised that the ways things were, were not the way they should be. In those early days, you already saw the injustice and wanted to find a way to fix it.
I think that remembering would bring him back – with difficulty – to that last day. Sitting in the garden together after dinner. He told you he was going to die – but you could not hear that. You were not ready. And even though he knew you would also suffer, it was all too much as the darkness gathered.
I think that last remembering would be when he would begin to end the letter that I might have been. It would be so difficult for him and he would know that – if he were to continue writing – he would only apologise further. He would know he could not fix or undo all that had happened since. Again I do not think he would regret his choices, your work and living together, but he would weep from the other side that you were hurt.
I am not sure how you might respond were I to arrive to you in this way. Perhaps it would matter when? A few days later? Years? Decades? Maybe even longer?
I suspect the time from then to your Now would affect what these words would do for you. Open old wounds? Help awaken memories you had forgotten and which might inspire you once more? Maybe a little of both?
Regardless, I think what he would want you to hold onto (regardless of how you have been affected) is that he thinks of you often. That you were, are and always shall be his Beloved. I imagine he would be so proud of all of you have done – from success and celebrations to the rich learning that comes in claiming and reflecting on your mistakes and perhaps the hurt of others. In the end, I am a love letter and – I pray – as you finish reading, that intention holds you as you begin to discern what’s next …