It is Friday night, and I have had takeaway, and wine, and some good comedy on TV, and then I take a call and I hear that a faithful woman who has battled cancer for many years is not expected to make it through the weekend.
I turn the TV off, I clear the kitchen, I shove brightly coloured plastic into baskets, I turn the washing around, and I wait, I wait, I wait, suspended for just a second between realities. I turn the music on and I begin to sing, because I don’t know what else to do; that’s how my soul keeps watch, that’s how I door knock, that’s how I plead, that’s how I love.
The lyrics are bittersweet, promising realities that she won’t see now, not in this lifetime, not amongst us, and although I know this is not the end it feels almost treacherous to sing them, but I don’t know what else to do so I sing on, with head bowed and volume lowered and throat constricted. I sing of love, of life, of trust, of strength, of weakness, of glory and of shame, and then a song comes on and I don’t understand how this is possible cos I’ve been through this playlist a thousand times, but I’ve never heard it before and the words arrest me, transfix me, spear me, bow me low:
“No mountain, no valley, no gain or loss we know could keep us from your love.
No sickness, no secret, no chain is strong enough to keep us from your love.
How high, how wide, no matter where I am, healing is in Your hands,
How deep, how strong, now by Your grace I stand, healing is in Your hands.”
I am watching. I am waiting. I am keeping the gate. I am on wall duty tonight.
Safe passage, sister. Rise and run.