Be Still My Soul

  • March 6, 2012
  • #7787

Joni sings "Be Still My Soul" and shares the loneliness she experienced after both of her parents had passed away.

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada, and listen to the words of the beautiful old hymn: 

Be still my soul, the Lord on thy side
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain
Leave to thy God to order and provide
In every change He faithful will remain
Be still my soul, thy best thy heavenly friend
Thro’ thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

You know, something happens to you when your last parent passes away. I was talking about this with my friend Betsy the other day. She lost her father some years ago and now, recently, she lost her mother to cancer, her mom whom she loved dearly. And now, Betsy was telling me she feels alone, which is funny because she's married with a couple of young children; but still, that doesn't mitigate the emptiness she feels now that her last parent, her mother, has gone to heaven. Oh, Betsy knows her mom is with the Lord, but still, with both parents gone, she says, “You know, Joni, it just feels so strange... I feel like an orphan.” 

Betsy was telling me that she was traveling recently and wanted to mail her mother a postcard. When she got to the cash register, she realized with a shock, Oh, my goodness, wait a minute, my mother’s not here on earth anymore. She told me that it hit her then, how much she did feel like an orphan. In a way, I can identify, at least about the postcard part. Only in the last year or so have I stopped thinking: Wow, a whole week has gone by without me calling my mom… I’ve got to remember to give her a ring tonight. And then, with a start, I am reminded that she’s no longer here. 

Well, I'm singing this beautiful old hymn today for all the people who have lost a parent -- especially their last parent. It's one thing when your mother goes to be with Jesus and you still have your dad... but it is an odd feeling when you lose both your parents. It's just a different feeling. Listen to this beautiful poem by Lucy Shaw called "When Your Last Parent Dies." It's from her book, Writing the River, and I think those of you who are in this odd club with my friend, Betsy, and me will appreciate these words because Lucy writes...

"Move up to the top of the ladder, looking down over your shoulder you can see the replicas from your own body crowding the rungs all the way down. Precarious, you teeter there on the final step with nothing for your hands to hold, they grab at emptiness. The glancing stars are falling around you. Cosmic dust stings your eyes. There is no one above you to compass the wideness of space. You are the final clasp that buckles earth to heaven. Somehow, you must hold up the ladder, heavy, heavy with life."  

If you're into poetry, you know that poem hits the nail on the head, doesn’t it? It really encompasses the emptiness you feel when you are the lone child left in your family. You are the final clasp that buckles earth to heaven. This hymn I just sung today, “Be Still My Soul,” is something I sing for Betsy. Don't worry, my friend, don’t worry Betsy, the Lord is on your side. So bear patiently this cross of grief or pain.

Previously aired as program #7096 on 7/13/09.

Music: “Be Still My Soul.” Words by Katharina von Schlegel, music by Jean Sibelius. Public Domain.

© Joni and Friends

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