To pick up where I left off yesterday, another rule of the Road is that during your journey many will join you, and many will fall away. Indeed you yourself are one of those people for someone else as they make their own journey.
My wife’s aunt died last night after a battle with breast cancer. She and her husband Ray had one child, a daughter who graduated from high school this past spring. Mandi and her dad will now continue their journey, minus the companionship of their beloved wife and mom.
During their ascent up the stairs at Cirith Ungol and into Mordor, it occurs to Sam that the tale he and Frodo have been put in is not a thing isolated from the past, but is instead the continuation of a tale that began long ago in the First Age of Middle Earth:
“Why, to think of it, we’re in the same tale still! It’s going on. Don’t the great tales ever end?”
“No, they never end as tales,” said Frodo. “But the people in them come, and go when their part’s ended. Our part will end later—or sooner.”
(The Lord of the Rings, Book IV, Chapter viii.)
Only God can see the whole picture and every detail within the picture at the same time. As for us on our journey we must learn to trust the Lord of the Road. One of the ways I’ve learned to do that is by praying the Divine Office each day when I can. Each day as part of Morning Prayer (Lauds) we pray the Canticle of Zechariah from Luke’s gospel. Near the end of this piece of Scripture is this passage:
In the tender compassion of our God
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.
Buoyed by these words I am able to continue my walk each day with an open heart and an open mind. The “dawn from on high” does break and my feet are guided along the way. My decisions are still my own, yet I’m not alone when I make them even as companions come and go.
The greatest book I know of to take along for this journey is the psalter. Within the psalms are thoughts and prayers for every situation. The years have taught me this.
As I prayed this morning before driving to work these words from Psalm 143 resonated with me:
In the morning let me know your love
for I put my trust in you.
Make me to know the way I should walk:
to you I lift up my soul.
Requiescat in pace, Sherri.