TITLE: Islands 12/06/2015
By Frankie Kemp
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-for Mrs. Pete
It sounds like a cliché, but I have to admit that sometimes clichés breathe because they are true. Life is a journey, a process, an unfolding, a becoming--a pilgrimage. During my stay in this world that is groaning for redemption, I have lingered longer in some places than in others. Most recently, though, God is teaching me what it looks like—what it really looks like—to live one day at a time, waiting on Him to tell me when to move. One of those movements led me to an experience that pushed me to the edge of myself. I was given the gift of being a caregiver for another woman at the end of her sojourn.
The English poet, John Donne wrote, “No man is an island unto himself.” Not only do I assume he includes us of the fairer sex in his summation of living, but I would also argue with him a little bit. I am betting Mrs. Pete would too. There are most definitely seasons of our lives where we certainly feel the desperation of isolation and that we are struggling on our own to finish our races and run them well. Maybe that is why God brought us together—Mrs. Pete and me. Maybe that is why I felt such a strong pull to comfort her, to love her, to help her in any way I could—to know her, even. I wanted to hear her stories. I wanted to help her run well and give her permission to be weak and frail and needy. I wanted her to know that she was still beautiful, even though what was happening to her was a picture of the truth Paul told in II Corinthians 4:16-18:
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light, momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
At the end, no matter how hard I tried, I could not get on Mrs. Pete’s island with her--and bless her soul, she couldn’t get off. She couldn’t tell me what she was thinking or feeling. We did have our moments, though. We had moments of knowing and understanding and seeing and hearing one another’s hearts. We definitely did, and I will treasure those moments because, in them, I discovered that there are people with whom we have divine appointments in this life—people who give back to us the pieces of ourselves that we either lost or gave away or had taken from us—or maybe never even uncovered.
So, I would say to Mr. John Donne, “You aren’t telling the WHOLE truth, fella.” We are all islands unto ourselves in the deepest places of our hearts. BUT . . . sometimes those islands bump up against each other by Providence, and when they do, there is always something to be exchanged. The exchange is just one way we are all changed from “glory unto glory.”
And, so I honor Mrs. Elizabeth “Pete” Porter and thank our Father in heaven for every sacred moment we shared. I remember, now, that it is a very sacred thing to bump up against another human heart. I’ll see you in Tahiti one day, Mrs. Pete, and I will know you even better then. We won’t be islands anymore. We’ll be enjoying them instead, just one piece of our eternal weight of glory.
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