When the moon rose at dusk last night it looked burdened, like the head of poor mythical Atlas stooping under the weight of Earth. I had gone for a short walk, passing the church where our four murder victims will be remembered today. The street was already lined with signs to save space for the funeral cortege as I assume, or possibly the media. “EMERGENCY NO PARKING” the signs all said, though the emergency felt far behind us now. There was a quiet feeling at that hushed hour with the birds swooping low and a plane out of Logan ascending like a prayer.
I could look in the windows of the church hall and see the Gifts and Memorials Committee at their meeting. At other hours in the week this hall plays host to other groups as well, among them the local chapter of Rotary International and those following the Steps and Traditions set down nearly 80 years ago by Bill W. and Dr. Bob. Additionally, according to the sign out front, the Cloister Concert Series will take place, tonight featuring contralto Marion Dry in an evening called “Saints and other Mortals” from 7:30 to 9:00, ice cream afterward.
Just as I passed, the Reverend Thomas Brown himself emerged from his car carrying his robes for today, freshly ironed as they looked. He seemed as burdened as poor Atlas, perhaps from standing so long in these last days by the woman who was sister and daughter and aunt to the victims; yet he had such a beautiful light-filled countenance I wished I too could attend tomorrow and hear his words of comfort.
I can’t. This morning I rose at 4:30 and worked for two hours and sit now on my front porch awaiting the very early arrival of the little boys 3 and 6 who are my grandsons; and, several hours later – because teens need their sleep – the arrival of the big boys who will help me care for them while their mama keeps a vigil by a bedside.
They say we’ll see heavy rain before the sun goes down and a hard thing it is to leave any graveside in the rain. But who knows? Perhaps a cleansing rain will bring some relief for these mourners, or at least the end of the time of the first hot tears.
In this life we are again and again delivered from sorrow without ever knowing by Whose hand. But if we could see God’s face even just once I think it would look the way Reverend Brown’s face looked last night: filled with somber care, but shining; shining.