‘This will in time be over and then what? What have we learned? I am almost 83 years old, I will die. The cause of death is birth. The only real things in life are food and love, in that order, just like our little dog Ruby, I really believe this and the source of art is love. I love life.’
birth and death,
what’s between keeps the boards apart.
That’s what matters,
how we fill life’s sandwich. (AP)
1 God would not will what we have seen,
the terror, violence, death;
for God is love, the source of life,
the essence of our breath.
2 God would not break the damaged reed,
the smouldering wick is fanned;
yet human power, our want and greed
can counter what God planned.
3 Our will is free, our way we choose,
to act for good or ill,
to offer love, to calm or heal,
to damage or to kill.
4 God give us courage in the face
of carnage that we see,
to work for life, to live for love,
to set your people free.
Andrew E. Pratt (born 1948) (alt Andrew Pratt 13/8/2021
Words © 2006 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England, http://www.stainer.co.uk. Please include any reproduction for local church use on your CCL Licence returns. All wider and any commercial use requires prior application to Stainer & Bell Ltd.
I was recently reminded of this poem from the book Poppies and Snowdrops when I was told of its use at a funeral…
You love him. That's why you feel like this. That will never change.
Without you he wouldn't have discovered life, enjoyed learning, driven you crazy as he strained in adolescence to gain his independence while needing you more than he would admit, or you could know.
And he still needs you, in spite of his death.
In death as in life, he is your child, to be remembered with all the love you ever had for him,
with all the frustration he brought you,
as well as the joy and privilege of parenthood.
Love him still.
Always love him.
Talk about his birth, his life, his ups and down
Talk of success and failure.
Talk of love and frustration.
Talk about him.
And never, never let him go.
He is your son.
He was and is and always will be.
The joyful pain of knowing that will live with you forever.
Every day you will picture him,
hear his voice
and ask the unanswerable 'what ifs'
until that point when it registers that,
in spite of all that has happened
nothing, but nothing,
can separate you, or him, from God's love.
Even now you are still a uniquely valued child of God.
God hurts with you,
cries with you,
enfolds you with love.
And you are safe.
Nothing can harm you anymore.
Your memories are safe and the love in which you are held is eternal.
So rest, my child, in that love of God that will never,
but never, let you go.
© Andrew Pratt
Paulette Wilson has died. She moved to the UK from Jamaica in 1968, but was stripped of her rights by the home office and left destitute as the Windrush scandal unfolded. While awaiting compensation, Paulette selflessly campaigned for justice for others.
Part of her story – Paulette Wilson