For anyone who does not know, The Compassionate Friends is an international organization that exists to serve bereaved parents, grandparents and siblings. Each year on the second Sunday night at 7:00 p.m. they have a worldwide candle lighting. It begins in New Zealand and travels across the globe as each time zone reaches that same time.
So tonight at Grace Episcopal Church in Monroe, Louisiana there was a sanctuary full of broken hearts. We gathered to hear poems about loss and grief being read by those who have walked the road of grief. Some have been on that road a long time, others are only getting started. The poem I read tonight is below. We heard beautifully sung songs of faith and hope from a group of singers from the Whites Ferry Road Church of Christ. Thank you to Tommy and Beverly Inman, Kevin Washam, Mike Weatherford, SandraChowns, Missy Robertson, Debra Dobbs, Dennis Davnport, David Caldwell and Mike Kellett. Then we lined up to light candles and speak the names of our lost loved ones. Name after name rang across that otherwise silent sanctuary. It was a roll call of pain and love, loss and hope.
Our chapter leader, French Smith, who works tirelessly along with his wife Marilyn arranged the night and he closed us out with a responsive reading. We said many times out loud, “We remember them”.
And so we do remember them… not just a mass of names … but the faces of our own children taken away much too soon. Me, Maggy and our mothers were present to remember John Robert Dobbs. Of course we remember him every day.
I’m grateful for candles and poems and prayers. They do not bring our loved ones back to life. They do not remove the empty space in our hearts. They do, however, remind us that God is near. And they remind us also of a key line in the credo of The Compassionate Friends: We Need Not Walk Alone.
And the poem I read tonight …
Lights of Love
Can you see your candles burning in the night?
Lights of love we send you; rays of the purest white.
Children we remember though missing from our sight.
In honor and remembrance we light candles in the night;
All across the big blue marble spinning out in space.
Can you see the candles burning from this human place?
Oh, angels gone before us who taught us perfect love;
This night the world lights candles that you may see them from above.
Tonight the globe is lit by love of those who know great sorrow.
But as we remember our yesterdays; let’s light one candle for tomorrow.
We will not forget, and every year in deep December,
On Earth we light candles as we remember.
by Jaqueline Brown
Thanks for reading,