A few of us got together last night to recall some favorite memories. We laughed and cried and occasionally sat silent in speechless grief. Such a beautiful life taken from us far too quickly. The loss still stings.
Yet we will never be the same. She touched us all in powerful, delightful, challenging ways. She was stubborn, she was smart, she was creative, she was a tireless and faithful friend.
Today in church, Denny my pastor preached on the story of Joseph in Genesis, primarily from chapters 45-50. He recalled much of Joseph's story, one full of privilege, betrayal, imprisonment... and redemption. In the midst of many unjust and painful experiences, Joseph remained faithful to God... no doubt still shaking his fist at times in sadness and confusion.
I have heard this story many times. Heck, I've taught on it more than once! But this morning as I listened, what I noticed was a poignant time of remembrance, grief and reconciliation between Joseph and his brothers, who betrayed him so many years before.
Imagine this scene:
Joseph could stand it no longer. There were many people in the room, and he said to his attendants, “Out, all of you!” So he was alone with his brothers when he told them who he was. Then he broke down and wept. He wept so loudly the Egyptians could hear him, and word of it quickly carried to Pharaoh’s palace.... [later in the chapter] Then Joseph kissed each of his brothers and wept over them, and after that they began talking freely with him. (Genesis 45)
Weeping and kisses. Laughter and agony. That's what happened last night as we remembered Claire... we both we giggled over her ornery ways and bawled as we looked at the giant hole she left in her departure.
I have discovered as I have gotten older that so much of life is filled with pendulum swings between heartache and hope. Yet we cannot really ride this rollercoaster without being willing to go on both the highs and lows. And truth be told, the pain makes the joy all the sweeter.
During the service, my housemate Ruth, also a dear friend of Claire's, led us in worship. One song in particular seemed to sum up the entirety of what I feel today. Here is a link to the original song. Below are the lyrics. Listen to them more than once. The depth of truth in them is dazzling, and put words to things I can barely allow myself to believe. But in Jesus, it is possible. I cling to him more than ever. We miss you Claire. We ache over your absence. You are loved, and not forgotten.
Jesus, I come.
JESUS I COMEOut of my bondage, sorrow and night,Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;Into Thy freedom, gladness, and light,Jesus, I come to Thee;Out of my sickness and into Thy health,Out of my wanting and into Thy wealth,Out of my sin and into Thyself,Jesus, I come to Thee.Out of my shameful failure and loss,Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;Into the glorious gain of Thy cross,Jesus, I come to Thee;Out of earths sorrows, into Thy balm,Out of lifes storms and into Thy calm,Out of distress into jubilant psalm,Jesus, I come to Thee.Out of unrest and arrogant pride,Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;Into Thy blessed will to abide,Jesus, I come to Thee;Out of myself to dwell in Thy love,Out of despair, into raptures above,Upward forever on wings like a dove,Jesus, I come to Thee.Out of the fear and dread of the tomb,Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;Into the joy and light of Thy home,Jesus, I come to Thee;Out of the depths of ruin untold,Into the peace of Thy sheltering fold,Ever Thy glorious face to behold,Jesus, I come to Thee.