Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Child On Loan

My sister-in-law was having a difficult week this week. She was missing her son, above all, and feeling kind of down and “weepy”. How well I know those feelings. They hit you all at once – sometimes lasting only a few minutes or a few hours and other times lasting for days. It happens less and less as time goes by but when it hits, it hits hard. And there’s really nothing you can do but endure it and work through it.

A few months after my son died and old friend from my high school days sent this poem to me. He had lost a son as well, when the boy was a toddler. But the age of the child is irrelevant if they die before their parents. It takes a piece of you.

This poem was written by poet Edgar Guest in 1938. I have no idea why he wrote it or whether he lost a child of his own. But the words are profound; painful yet comforting to those who believe God knows best no matter what happens. I sent this poem to Tami and she responded back that she thought it was beautiful. I have to agree. I thought I’d share it with all of you. If you’re a parent and believe in God, whether you’ve lost a child of your own or not it gives you cause to reflect. At least I think so.

Thank you, Mr. Guest, for your words. You’ve no idea what comfort you’ve brought to many.

To All Parents:

“I’ll lend you for a little time a child of mine,” He said.
“For you to love the while he lives and mourn for when he’s dead.
It may be six or seven years, or twenty-two or three;
but will you, till I call him back, take care of him for me?
He’ll bring his charms to gladden you, and should his stay be brief,
you’ll have his lovely memories as solace for your grief.
I cannot promise he will stay since all from Earth return;
but there are lessons taught down there I want this child to learn.
I’ve looked the wide world over in my search for teachers true;
and from the throngs that crowd life’s lanes, I have selected you.
Now will you give him all your love and not think the labor vain,
and not lose faith nor hate me when I call him back again?”

I fancied that I heard them say “Dear Lord, thy will be done.
For all the joy thy child shall bring, the risk of grief we’ll run.
We’ll shelter him with tenderness, we’ll love him while we may;
and for the happiness we’ve known forever grateful stay.
But should the angels call for him much sooner than we’ve planned,
we’ll brave the bitter grief that comes and try to understand."

Edgar Guest

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