In sorrow we must go, but not in despair. Behold! we are not bound for ever to the circles of the world, and beyond them is more than memory. (from The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkein)
This weekend, my cousin’s father-in-law passed away. He was diagnosed with cancer about a week ago, and so his passing was very sudden. Then, today, my Uncle Max—my cousin’s father—had to make a trip to Dallas for emergency surgery because he had a mass in his throat cutting off his air supply. He previously had cancer on his larynx, but has been in remission, and of course the fear is that this mass might be malignant. I can only imagine what my cousin and her family are feeling, grief topped with worry. If you’re the kind of person who prays, please pray for them, for us, for my uncle.
Anyway, that was on my mind tonight, and I picked this quote because it is soothing to me. I appreciate that Tolkein doesn’t ignore the sting of grief; he acknowledges sorrow. But he makes a distinction between sorrow and despair, and he suggests that sorrow is temporary and will give way to a future hope. And of all the descriptions I’ve heard of heaven, I think this may be my favorite, a place where there is more than memory.