Tuesday, February 19, 2008
In these late days of winter
This song is for one of the heroes of my firm - if something needs to done well, she's the "go-to" person. You need a new office, your picture taken, a luncheon for the partners, a picture hung on the wall, CPR, a notary public, a key to the building, a parking pass, a bowling team, a bus to the Eastern Shore Outlets, training on how to tutor at a local elementary school, someone to convince the firm's official "Santa" yet again to don the outfit for the Children's Holiday Party, someone to find a turkey sandwich for a partner, a scotch for a client, a voice of calm during a building evacuation - or a shoulder to cry on, she's the go-to person.
And on Sunday night, at the age of 40, she had a heart attack.
Mortality looked straight into the faces of a thousand people in my firm today, when we heard the news. Though once lurking on the door step, it found its way through the front door. For some, when they heard the news could only think of themselves and how close they might be to encountering that uninvited guest. For others it was a day of reckoning - that someone so dear, someone who so often was counted on to be there for everyone else - is not so invincible after all and a conviction that we should be tender with one another and kind, even in the depths of a hard hearted city in the middle of February.
Tonight she's in the hospital following emergency surgery and she's in recovery. A Catholic believer, she sings in the choir on Sundays and has choir practice on Thursdays where her mother plays the piano. This song is for her - and for all who feel as though you carry burdens that you find are too heavy to bear.
"My yoke is easy," Jesus reminds us, "and my burden is light." There is a yoke, indeed, there is a burden in following Jesus, but He promises us that His yoke is simple and His burden will not overwhelm us. If it is hard and it is heavy then it is our burden, not His. To follow Him we let go. Jesus only did what He saw His Father doing and He was strengthened in joy to accomplish His work, His arms open wide. When we open our arms we surrender, but we also then have room to gather in those we love. May this be so, even now in these late days of winter.