"We need energy -- our own and others' -- in order to live. Because life isn't easy -- and there are times when that one hand holding ours is all that's holding us together." 
- E is for Energy, from ALPHABET OF FAITH by Sara Jewell 

Almost three years ago, one of the elders of my church congregation, a woman of valour, 
was dying, and I went to visit her. 
I didn't go as the church's lay worship leader; that is not part of my job (an actual rule for licensed lay worship leaders). I went because I loved and respected her and wanted to sit with her.
Hold her hand. 

A year later, during the Alphabet of Faith sermon series, that idea of holding hands, of that way of exchanging energy, inspired part of what I wrote for E is for Energy.

My visit with this wonderful elder also inspired a poem, Sacred Time,  and here is part of that poem:

Please don’t be afraid of someone dying. 

To be present with someone who is dying is a gift. 
To hold hands, to whisper words of love and comfort and gratitude, 
to read poetry or scripture, to weep and sing, to hug, to sit in silence after – 
each of those moments stay with us forever as a vivid yet comforting memory. 

The more present you are, the more you will cherish the experience. 
Loss and grief are hard, and to be present when a life ends, 
to have the memories of those moments, 
makes the loss and grief easier to bear.

It is sacred time.

Please don’t deny yourself the gift of being present when someone is dying. 
Do not tell yourself they don’t know you are there, 
do not believe they are already gone. 
Be present in their dying just as they are present in their body, 
with their spirit, 
at this end of life. 
They hear your voice, 
they feel your touch, 
they sense your energy, your love, your pain. 
Those are the gifts of your presence.

It is sacred time. 

~ From "Sacred Time" by Sara Jewell  


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