Friday, November 13, 2015

Peace in the Valley

Well, I'm tired and weary
But I must toil on

I held my uncle's hand across the top of his bedsheets. His fingernails, still slightly long, cut square across the tips of yellowed, papery-skin fingers. Cool to the touch in the half-light of his room.

Visiting time had been extended for us. For the family who flew, who drove, who came to be with him.

"He doesn't have much time."

Till the Lord, comes and calls me,
Calls me away, oh yeah.

His lips moved with the lyrics. No voice. The voice that used to call me in from fishing, that used to tease about card-playing, that used to tell stories of the old days -- that voice was buried somewhere in the pneumonia that gripped his chest. But his lips moved with the lyrics. And I felt him squeeze my hand.

Where the morning is bright
And the lamb is the light
And the night, 
The night is as fair as the day.

Family was gathered around his bedside. Gathered to offer strength and comfort. To pray. To visit with this, the oldest brother of seven. Some waited in the harsh light of the reception area. Some were on their knees in the chapel. I felt the closeness and company of all of them, and wished I could have come sooner.

There will be peace in the valley
For me, some day
There will be peace in the valley
For me, Oh Lord, I pray

No more sadness
No sorrow
Oh Lordy, no troubles, I see
There will be peace, in the valley, for me.

Tears. Mine silently sliding and falling at the side of his bed.  His shone like still waters on his cheeks, head propped on the pillow. His eyes were closed, but the lips kept moving. Kept singing. Kept yearning. I could feel the yearning.

No Valley of the Shadow of Death - this, but the Valley of Green Pastures and Still Waters. A Valley of Peace.

Come, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.
Isaiah 55:1 (ESV)

My Uncle Norman died December 25, 2002. A son, a brother, a husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, he received the best Christmas present ever and entered heaven to be with Jesus. Today is Five-Minute Friday. The prompt is 'weary'.

Side Note: I wrote this story in a much longer version a couple of years ago - I think it does my Uncle more justice than the five minutes here. If you're interested, the link is Peace in the Valley.


  1. What a beautiful tribute to your Uncle and your whole family. Death of a beloved family member is such a difficult yet sweet time. You long for them to stay just a little longer to absorb a bit more of their wisdom but you're also happy to see them going out into eternity to meet our beautiful Savior.

    Thanks for sharing this with all of us at FMF!

    1. You are so right - difficult yet sweet - especially on Christmas day. But what more perfect day, huh. Thank you for your kind words.

  2. Janet, a beautiful way to honor your uncle. Death does weary us for sure. So grateful for our God who never is weary. He is always beside us, working in our lives. Always good to read your words. Blessings!

    1. Hi Joanne
      Thank you - I really wanted to honor him - he was a wonderful man! I am grateful, too, for our God who never wearies. And I'm thankful for you! Have a great weekend!

  3. Beautiful. So glad you were able to be there with them. Death makes us weary.

    1. It does, doesn't it - make us weary? You have certainly been going through enough of a Valley of Shadow lately. I'm glad to know my God is always beside us - faithful and steadfast. It was sweet to be there with him and I was glad we made it in time to share and visit before he was called home. Thank you for stopping by. Hugs.

  4. What a wonderfully written post! And what a way to find such beauty in the pain of death. To be in our Lord's arms. We will be weary no more.

    1. Thank you, Kadie - and thank you for your encouraging words. It comforts me to think of my uncle resting in the Lord's arms - more likely, he's planting a garden and canning his tomatoes in heaven!


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