Written at the recent Synod Retreat – “Praying the Psalms”
God of All Knowing, there is nothing hidden from your eyes:
you see her and you know her.
You never lose sight of her and you know her still,
even as her minds slips away, piece by piece.
You know her when even her family
no longer sees the recognition of them in her eyes.
She is being lost to them, and they to her,
taken away, bit by bit, day after heart-breaking day,
through every tiny loosening of her grip on life.
She is paying the price
for that which she does not deserve
and would never desire.
And her loved ones cry out to you – for themselves and on her behalf – as do I:
“Where are you? Come and save them from this unholy mess.”
It’s occasionally a small surprise that there are days
when she shows a hint of knowingness.
But with this comes tears.
Her husband rests his cheek against hers
and their salted skins become the place
where the last shred of togetherness hinges.
Almost as one soul together,
as it has always been since first they met,
they are there, no space between.
But, Lord, where are you?
Do you not care to look upon their sorrow?
Will you not gift some comfort into their shattering lives?
Ah, but you know that tomorrow,
as if out of nowhere,
he shall say to her, in the intimacy of a whisper,
“The Lord is our strength and our song: he shall bear all our troubles away.”
Make your love known to them, God.
Tell them you see and you know: tell them you are with them.
Reveal to them the secret knowledge
that you are in the mingled salt-tears on their cheeks,
as close as the air they breathe.
Capture their troubled hearts, God; lift them to you and give them your caress.
May they understand their tears,
celebrating them as a sign of your unfailing love;
then even through all of this shall they see you and know you,
just as you see and know them.
Their spirits shall sing to you, the God of All Comfort,
and their hearts forever praise your Holy Name.
You will not be forgotten
and you do not forget them.
© Max Shepherd 2018
Max Shepherd is a minister of Northern Synod,
and chaplain with the Northumberland, Tyne & Wear NHS Foundation Trust