Behold, behold, I make all things new


A week ago I left our parish retreat and drove to my hometown, expecting to visit with my father for a bit and drive home. But one look at him and I knew. The vigil was beginning of what would be the last days of his life. He died, surrounded by love. I miss him. And I suspect I shall always be searching for him, in the benediction of the rain, the bite of a good scotch, in the hummingbirds at the feeder, and in the telling of good stories.

Yesterday, the first morning in over a week, I woke up in my own bed, and began the day drinking coffee brewed in the familiarity of my own kitchen and watching the world wake up from the beauty of the back porch. And then we went for a walk.

Our neighborhood walks often include stops inside of houses being built or rebuilt. Mandy likes to look at the layouts and changing construction. She’ll often point out what she likes or critique what she thinks might be a better flow or plan for the house. I like to imagine what it will become, to see the bare beam and subfloor and know that once our house was only this, waiting to become something more complete, and then to come back and see what the final product yields.

Today we walked past one of our favorite renovations, now complete, with a “for sale” sign in the yard. We haven’t walked through it yet, but we will. Outside was a giant dumpster, complete with a beat up orange couch. Mandy and I rarely agree on anything related to style. She likes classic, I like more modern. She likes neutrals, I like loud colours. You get the idea. But this upside down, in the dumpster sofa–something about it spoke to both of us.

We called our neighbor with the pick up truck and he drove with us to pick it up. He took one look at the sofa and said “I’m chalking this one up to grief!” Somehow I think I’ll need a project in the next few weeks and months. While I won’t physically reupholster the couch, I’ll help imagine and create what it will become. I love the idea of something discarded finding meaning, of that which we thought was finished becoming something new and delightful. One of the many things my father gave me was this truth: there are always hidden gifts and joys waiting to be discovered.

Someday I will tell you more about my father. I will post my favorite picture of him, in his headset, in the control booth he so loved, telling someone what to do to get the perfect shot. He holds a cigarette, which even now, I don’t hate. It was part of who he was, it was part of the choices he made that made up a life and ultimately a death, which was, thanks be to God, holy and good. It is him, captured for a moment in time, but the essence, remains.

Songs have been a big part of this journey–hymns and folk tunes, the songs he sang in our growing up, the jazz he loved. We have been singing. This is the one that came to me as we were out walking this morning. It’s a simple tune from Iona, one of my favorites (alas, the internet doesn’t seem to have a lot of good audio or video from Iona, but I’ll sing it for you if you ask). We sang it as we walked part of the way. I trust that it is as true for me as it is for him.

Behold, behold, I make all things new,

Beginning with you and starting from today.

Behold, behold, I make all things new,

My promise is true, for I am Christ the way.

© WGRG, Iona Community, 1995.

6 thoughts on “Behold, behold, I make all things new

  1. Sarah, you could try and click on 17 under “Audio Samples” on the left hand side of the page. It’s only the verse you have typed up, but I appreciated hearing it sung. You could probably just copy & paste what I wrote into your blog. (The only problem was that once I started playing a sample it went through the rest of the list. 🙂

    What a wonderful blessing to have had such a rich relationship (even if it makes it hurt that much more right now)! Thank you for sharing these memories.

    Lee (from Group H)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the small rituals of a married life…the shared simple joys like touring unfinished houses. And I love your neighbor’s response! It will be a beautiful couch and it will remind you of him when you sit on it, and how all things are made new, even in their passing.
    Beautiful words. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is so beautiful, Sarah. I love the orange couch…the idea of something discarded finding new meaning. I will think of you sitting on that orange couch as you visualize your dad talking to you there, and telling you how very proud he is of his amazing daughter. Love, M+


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