Thursday, October 15, 2009

Abide with Me

I'll be honest: I still don't have the heart to write about all things I love about my grandma. I'm feeling more joyful thinking about her dwelling in glory with her King, but I'm still so choked up thinking about my memories of her. While I continue to process, one thing has been especially sweet to me.

Over the past few months I've fallen in love with the Indelible Grace project, a musical effort initiated by Reformed University Fellowship at Belmont University in Nashville to resurrect old reformed hymns. At my churches in Richmond and in Nashville, these hymns became widely known, but in New England I'm finding they're still in need of resurrection. All of that just to say, I've been listening to these albums a lot the past few weeks. One of my favorites from the three albums on my iPod is "Abide with Me" because it always reminds me of my grandma Russell.

Once when Grandma was staying with us for a few days she was listening to me practice the piano. I loved hymns then, too, and was playing through a book of them for my lessons. I wasn't familiar with "Abide with Me," having never sang it at church. As I started to pluck out the notes, Grandma R. expressed that it was a hymn she really loved. It became instantly cooler in my eyes and I remember it as one of my favorites from that book.

While I was home this weekend, the fourth verse popped into my head and I realized how perfect it was for this season. We sang it at the funeral service in Champaign.

As I've been walking through this process of grief, the thing that's been most helpful to me is feeling connected to my grandma: knowing we shared common interests or a common personality trait, meeting her old friends, etc. This hymn is one of those "connection points" because I can just imagine her finding comfort in it as she slipped away...and now I am resting in its theology as I mourn. How like God to surface this hymn that we loved together while she was living to comfort me in her death.

Abide with me; falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers, fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, abide with me.

Thou on my head, in early youth didst smile;
And, though rebellious, and perverse meanwhile,
Thou hast not left me, though I oft left Thee,
On to the close Lord, abide with me.

I need Thy presence, every passing hour.
What but Thy grace, can foil the tempter's power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, abide with me.

I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless
Ills have no weight, tears lose their bitterness
Where is thy sting death? Where grave thy victory?
I triumph still, abide with me.

Hold Thou Thy cross, before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom, and point me to the skies.
Heaven' morning breaks, and earth's vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, Lord, abide with me.

1 comment:

ZealousEcho said...

Chels, you are so beautiful. When you write, I just get so caught up in it :) I'm so sorry to hear about your grandma -- I hadn't heard yet when I called you the other day. I love you a lot, call me soon!