Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Hope Begins In the Dark

I've been thinking about this quote quite a bit in the last week or so. Sometimes, you don't get another shot. So I guess it's even more important to focus on what's important and try my darndest to forget the negative, even when it's hard.  

Today, David & Lisa Schemm again say goodbye to their youngest son, Luke, who was taken off life support last Wednesday. For the past week, people have been honoring the 17-year-old football player, who collapsed at a playoff game last Tuesday night. Football teams have played in his honor. Farm neighbors have harvested their fields. Strangers and friends have lifted them in prayer.

On Facebook yesterday, I saw a link to an editorial, A Delicate Balance, from the Hays Daily News. The writer, Patrick Lowry, says, in part:
Nobody dies unexpectedly. You’ll see such a reference in an obituary notice on occasion, but it really isn’t true. Everybody born into this world is expected to die. Life and death are two of the so-called three certainties that exist.

In a perfect world, death occurs only after a life fully lived. Parents go before their children. Loved ones are bedside when it takes place, and the individual is at peace with all of them as well as their own guiding force. Unfortunately, the natural order of things isn’t always recognized. ...
While we have absolutely zero influence on the length of time one’s fate allows, we can control how we respond to each glorious sunrise we see. We can’t dictate how others should act, but we have the power to react in a positive manner. We don’t decide what challenges will come our way, we do choose how to confront them.
I didn't personally know Luke, though Randy and Luke's dad, David Schemm, worked together on the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers board for several years so we are colleagues and acquaintances. Our hearts break for them.
Last Wednesday, when the Schemms removed their beloved "gift from God" from life support, a song came up on my Facebook feed. It's called "When I'm Gone." I could look at it as a coincidence, I suppose, but I prefer to think of it as a "God-incidence."

I'd only recently been following the story of Joey and Rory Feek, a country music duo. Joey, 40, and the mama of an 18-month-old daughter,  is now in hospice. Though I watched Joey + Rory on a reality music show, "Can You Duet?" and Randy sometimes watches their television show, I'd never heard this song until last week. Ironically, they recorded it two years before Joey's terminal cancer diagnosis.

In a 2012 interview, Joey explains the origin of the song, written by her friend, Sandy Lawrence:
“I was devastated, absolutely devastated when I heard it and what it meant and coming from the person who is leaving their loved one,” says Joey. “That concept was just something that I had never heard or thought of before, and it really struck me. She wrote it about her mother who was dying. ... She needed affirmation that everything was going to be okay after her mom died, and she wasn’t able to get it from her, but she wanted to write this to leave to her son and to her husband and to let them know that if anything were to ever happen, everything is going to be okay when I’m gone. It just knocked me out. When we recorded it, it was just magical. She came in while we were recording it in the studio, and then I had her sing the harmony vocals on it with Rory. Then, when we shot the music video, it just seemed so fitting that she played the piano."
Here are just a few of the words: 

A bright sunrise will contradict
The heavy fault that weighs you down
In spite of all the funeral songs
The birds will make their joyful sounds
You wonder why the earth still moves
You wonder how you'll carry on
But you'll be okay on that first day when I'm gone ...

Life will call with daffodil
And morning glorious blue skies
You'll think of me, some memory
And softly smile to your surprise
And even though you love me still
You will know where you belong
Just give it time, we'll both be fine
When I'm gone.

There are many people hurting today. Some have lost loved ones too soon. Some have said goodbye after a long illness. Some are searching for a diagnosis. Some are holding on to past hurts when they should let them stream through their fingers like sand.  Some are spending time arguing about silly things like Starbucks coffee cups.

Lord, I pray I see the bright sunrise, hear the birds sing amid the changing colors of fall and glory in the glorious blue skies that signal Your presence in this world. And I pray that You'll surround all those hurting people with Your comfort and peace.

Click HERE for the video of "When I'm Gone."

I'm linked to Tell His Story at Jennifer Dukes Lee's blog today. Check out what other bloggers are writing about.


  1. Kim,
    What a heartfelt post. It's sad to hear about young people passing on or dealing with terminal illness. At the same time, we have to keep up our faith, hope and belief that God knows what He is doing. God knew our last day before he created us and He is in charge.

    J just told me about Joey and Rory last weekend. I don't follow music or pop culture at all. "When I'm Gone" is a touching song and tug at the heart strings video.

    I'm praying along with you, Kim. :)

    1. I watched the live stream from the memorial service this morning. It was a beautiful tribute. Thanks for the prayers for them!

  2. This is a beautiful post. The stories are so sad to read but I love that with God there is hope even in the darkest times. I really like the Anne Lamott quote.

    1. Thanks for taking time to comment, Carly!