Thursday, June 23, 2011

Here is a poem I use frequently at funerals as a closer.

I also use it with my patients when they are willing to discuss dying.  There is much hope to be found in its few lines.  Death may be undesirable, but it is also both natural and unavoidable.  You will die.  Everyone will die.  But death is not the end...

Gone From My Sight 
by Henry Van Dyke

I am standing upon the seashore. A ship, at my side, spreads her white sails to the moving breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength.  I stand and watch her until, at length, she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.

Then, someone at my side says, "There, she is gone."

Gone where?

Gone from my sight.  That is all.  She is just as large in mast, hull and spar as she was when she left my side.  And, she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.

Her diminished size is in me -- not in her.  And, just at the moment when someone says, "There, she is gone," there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout, "Here she comes!"

And that is dying...

Praise the Lord.  That is life!

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