Sunday: Scripture & a Snapshot

Joining with Katie and her friends who encourage a single snapshot which illustrates a scripture verse:

 Too late, I realized I had typed ’29’ instead of ’28’ for the verse!

 This swing hangs in an oak tree in our front yard and it is one of my favorite places to ‘take a load off.’  I like the image of a two-seater: sharing any load somehow makes that load more bearable. 

This respite spot is particularly inviting late in the afternoon, as the shadows lengthen and the evening breeze picks up. A good place to remember that I am never alone with whatever burdens I may be carrying on a given day, that there is rest to be found in God’s presence. 

When I first began working in my last pastoral position, a member of the congregation asked if I would be willing to visit with a friend of his who was in town for treatment.  She lived in Arizona and came to the local clinic for a lung cancer drug trial.  I was so grateful that someone in my new congregation would trust me enough to do this.  And when I met Helen, I knew that God had brought us together for all kinds of good reasons. 

Helen’s very favorite section in all of scripture was this verse and the two that follow it – “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” 

I never read or hear these words without thinking of Helen: her gentle spirit, her deep faith, her love for her husband, her children, her grandchildren and her desire to live for their sake.  Yet, while she waited and while she hoped, she also lived with a calm assurance that all would be well, no matter the outcome.

Helen did die, about five months later, and during those months, I met with her frequently. I was privileged to plan and conduct a memorial service in her honor for friends and family who lived locally. We used these verses on the worship folder, in my meditation for the service and printed on cards with a lovely photo of Helen, a small reminder of who she was, something tangible for friends and loved ones to carry with them in their grief, in their missing her.

Helen lived the truth of these words better than almost anyone I’ve ever known.  To be with her, to pray with her, to hold her hand and look into her lovely brown eyes – all of it was gift, a holy space in the midst of whatever other brand-new-pastor-busyness was engulfing my life at the moment.

So I often think of Helen as I softly swing in the evenings. One of her sons was a builder and about a year after she died, her family sent me a lovely announcement with a picture of a beautiful, adobe-style, very small prayer chapel, built by her son in her memory.  A place to sit and remember that Jesus promises rest for the weary.  Oh, rest in peace, sweet Helen.  You are missed still.

Also linking up with Laura at the Wellspring and LL at Seedlings in Stone:

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  1. Love the verse and a nice shot to go with it! 🙂

  2. sucha beautiful scripture and a snapshot.. but your story is what took my breath away.. I want to be a Helen!…thank you for sharing!

  3. sucha beautiful scripture and a snapshot.. but your story is what took my breath away.. I want to be a Helen!…thank you for sharing!

  4. This is so lovely. A precious memory. This must be a bit what it was like to walk with the Lord in the cool of the shade–loving the way you loved Helen. I felt the burden lighten a little just in the reading.

    Glad I made it to the right place!

  5. Thank you for sharing. Lovely tribute.

  6. yup, great minds think alike! 🙂