Saturday, October 1, 2011

Following the Shepherd and Paying the Piper

His body is now back to dust, in a pasture where the sheep graze. Look closely: that's them in the distance - white dots trimming the green grass.

The sky is cloudy, and the wind is blowing. We stand with our faces to that wind, taking handfuls of his ashes and watching what is left of his body fly on the wind. I know that his soul is smiling - he's at home.

His body is home in Scotland, and his soul is home in heaven. I hear his voice claiming this experience:

"God, my shepherd! I don't need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to Your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction."

"Even when the way goes through Death Valley, I'm not afraid when you walk at my side. 
Your trusty shepherd's crook makes me feel secure."

"You serve me a six-course dinner right in front of my enemies. 
You revive my drooping head; my cup brims with blessing."

"Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life. I'm back home in the house of God for the rest of my life."

Psalm 23, Message

Oh, the way that peace enters my soul as I stand there. I sob, wishing that he could be there too, but smile, knowing that he truly understands a God that chased after him every day of his life.

I'm the DJ. My iPhone rings with a rich squeal of bagpipes playing, "Going Home." My eyes fill with tears.

My uncle Rick, with a strong, clear voice, offers these words to the wind:

Paying the Piper (Linda Hatfield)

Ages ago,
in the heathered highlands
of a far off land,
a piper played –
the wailing notes of his
somber song
echoing off the barren hillsides
the minds and hearts
of his countrymen.

So deeply the sad notes
imprinted on their souls
that none could forget
their tune,
and those that tried
were sure to feel their
painful tug
if ‘ere they wandered far.

But life was harsh,
and as the years passed
those who carried the song
in their hearts
suffered battles and
as they built a nation
hewn of courage and sacrifice.

Centuries later,
life was gritty and raw, and
a restless young lad
of seventeen
ventured out
far across the ocean
to seek his fortune
in a city of the same name as a
windblown island meadow
in his homeland.

There, he met a bonnie lass,
in whose heart a different song
was buried deep,
and together they built their dream –
with three strong children
and a career whose gifts
were a modern home and
a comfortable life,
far from the soot and scarcity
that had once
burned his body and
stung his pride.

But the song –
it hadn’t gone;
it hunted and haunted,
and softened by the years away
he followed it back,
challenging the ghosts
of his past
and embracing the long lost
stories of land of his birth.

And so it grew
his interest and admiration
for the land of his forefathers,
and he came into the twilight of his life
with a strong sense of self
and a clear understanding
of his place and purpose.

And when the moment of truth arrived,
so suddenly, yet expected,
he calmly agreed to
pay the piper,
singing his song
loudly and proudly
as he was carried gently away,
returning the song
to it’s home.

And the song, it plays still;
it’s calling him back,

and in Drimmie its notes
will settle and rest
at last, on the soft heathered hills.
I have the song in my heart too, Grampa. All of us do. We found it here in Drimmie where you left it, and it resonates in our souls as we think of you.

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