We were surrounded by angels. They were the human kind, but you could almost imagine they were heavenly. The call had come from 3 hours away, that it would be good to bring our mother to our step father, and so we left - driving, praying, talking. Through a rain storm. At last, we reached his bedside, in the room where the angels stood watch.
They were his children, his grandchildren, his near relatives, his friends, and his son-in-law. In and out they would quietly step, as needed. Our step-father rested at center stage, the hospital bed propping him up ever-so-slightly, making it easier for him to breathe. Once in a while, he would murmur something; his daughter's hand made its way to his; her voice always encouraging and calm. I thought perhaps she might be the Head Angel.
Our mother sat gently on the bed next to him, speaking softly and squeezing his hand. His eyes opened, and stayed fixed upon hers for as long as they could. It was so sweet. What a privilege I felt it was, to be there.
When it was time to go, his daughter and her husband walked us to the car. The husband said, "You wouldn't believe it but even through it all, we often still hear him in there joking and laughing. It's the sweetest thing."
As we drove away, a favorite song eased its way into my memory; the message is old and not perhaps in the top 20 of the billboard hits. But something tells me its melody might be playing out for many eternal years to come, joining both the earthly and the heavenly angels in perfect harmony:
Be still, my soul; the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love's purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul; when change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.
Text: Psalm 46:10
Author: Catharine Amalia Dorothea von Schlegel, 1752, cento
Translated by: Jane Borthwick, 1855
Titled: "Stille, mein Wille"
Composer: Jean Sibelius, b. 1865, arr.
"Be still, my soul; the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below."
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