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Sunday, May 19, 2013


Matt 4:16-"The people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned." (from Is 9:2)

For the last few months, we have lived in the fog and sog of a cloud here at Kijabe.  Rain, and more rain.  Deep sucking mud.  Grey skies.  Dim.  Cold.  Pounding on the roof at night, dripping into the door, washing down the hillsides.  The thing about living in gloom is that after a while it seems normal to trudge through a muted background.

Much of the last couple years has been foggy for me, too.  Too much parting.  Too much just trying to make it through another call, another rounds, another admission, another resuscitation.  Another death. This past week it was the frail baby in heart failure who no longer moved or responded.  After a tearful discussion with his parents about the reality of his impending death, I disconnected him from his monitors and dressed him and wrapped him in a blanket for his mom to hold. ( I offered to snap a photo for her memories, and a kind RVA teacher printed it for her to take home the next day.)
And when she was finished saying goodbye, she and her sister and husband handed him back to me and retreated to mourn.  His heart was still beating in spite of his lack of breathing; the nursery was bustling with work and other babies and parents.  I could not bring myself to just lay him alone in his cot, so I sat there in a sacrament of not-doing, just waiting and holding him.  Until the last flickers of life ebbed, slowly, imperceptibly, from his body.  A dark hour.

Then one day this week, the sun returned.  I looked down and saw shadow.   And it occurred to me that those rainy months did not have much shadow, because shadow is created by light and matter.  When all is dark and gloomy, you can't really tell the boundaries, there is either no shadow or all shadow.  But when light comes, the shadow is apparent.

Even the shadow of death is a shadow because of the bright reality of life.  

So here at Kijabe, where death is too-often present, I am wrestling with that shadow and looking beyond it.  The valley of the shadow of death is a part of the journey, but it is only in shadow because there is a ridge, a peak, of glory that we are ascending towards.  Glory that is dawning over gloom, until all the shadow is swallowed up in victory.

1 comment:

Judith said...

Jennifer, I remain your faithful, grateful reader. My heart is with you as well as my prayers. Like you, my life is in transition. I pray that God would strengthen you to weather the unrelenting challenges you are facing as you continue bringing comfort to others. God bless you and your dear ones. Judy in HMB