This is a far more personal post than others. But I feel bound to share these thoughts, a word of hope, all the same. It was in the last line of a prayer at this morning’s funeral. “Because I live, so shall you live.” Words drawn from the Bible passage John 11:17-44.
We as a church congregation laid to rest a woman who left this earth early. Another life claimed by breast cancer. As I sang with our choir, I could feel a great weight on my chest. Her grieving husband wept before us, holding his small sons tightly. But then the thought came, “Sing, because we’re singing to tell her story.” That carried me through as tears fell from my own eyes.
The song she requested, and that we recorded before she died, is called “Inscription of Hope.” It is perfect and heartbreaking all at once: to sing of hope while so many were crying. But it was, and is, a word of hope.
The lyrics incorporate a famous poem written into a wall by a prisoner in a concentration camp. It simply is this:
“I believe in the sun, even when it is not shining.
I believe in love, even though I don’t feel it.
I believe in God, even when he is silent.”
You may be wondering what all this sadness has to do with writing or hope. I’ll tell you.
No ending is ever really the end.
As a Christian, I believe in eternal life. That God calls to my soul that will one day dwell with Him in a place higher freer than I could ever dream. And aside from embodying an immortal soul, I also live inside the legacy of others. The closing words of the prayer echoed in my mind, reminding me of one of my purposes as a writer and community member. Because I live, so shall they. Through my words and remembrance, they carry on in our mortal realm.
Another soul’s immortality is not in my hands. But their memory is. When I share a memory or recall something about a person, their story continues. It keeps going and burrows into the hearts of others. We touch lives long after our temporal bodies fade.
We as writers are gifted with a vital task: to keep telling stories.
Even when you complete a book, short story, poem, etc., that is not the end. It moves forward through sharing it. Through other talking about your words over cups of coffee or wine.
You honor life with your words when they’re invested in sharing someone’s story. Even in fiction, we have the opportunity to communicate hope when things gets dark. Whether you tell the story of someone who’s gone, or you share a tale of hope and overcoming, you share in immortality.
We are living stories.
Our bodies may not live forever, but our souls can. Our words can. So if you find yourself grieving, tell a story. Let someone else share in those moments of love. Keep their memory alive. Share the hope you have.
In Courage & Care,