Saturday, March 8, 2008

Like a Sailing Ship

Last week a woman I had known since I was seven years old, passed away. Gwyn and her husband were dear friends of my family for many years. She was kind and always cheerful. She loved giving to others. At her beautiful service, a former Bishop (pastor) spoke and shared these words:

"Where did we come from? Why are we here? And where do we go after this mortal existence? By understanding a plan, it can bring peace to our souls. I would like to share a story which will help answer these questions...

'There was a sailing ship which docked in a beautiful blue lagoon. This ship was prepared for travel and on a beautiful clear day spread its brilliant white canvas sails in the fresh morning breeze and sailed out to sea. Those on the shore watched her glide away magnificently through the deep blue, and gradually saw her grow smaller and smaller as she neared the horizon. Finally, where the sea and the sky meet, she slipped silently from sight;
and someone said, 'Look, she is gone.'
'Gone where?' someone asks.
'Gone from sight--that is all.' is the answer. 'She is still as large in mast, hull and sail, still just as able to bear her load.'
We can be sure that, just as we say, 'Look, she is gone,' someone else says, 'Here she comes.'
The novelist and sailor Rossiter W. Raymond said, 'Life is eternal; and love is immortal; and death is only a horizon; and a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight.' On earth we view death from the perspective of one who stays behind, much as a person views a long journey when we send someone else off rather than going ourselves. We put our friend on the train or plane and wave goodbye, only able to imagine what the trip is like and what the friend will find when he gets where he is going."
I liked what that man said. (I even asked him to email that story to me.) It comforted me as I thought of other loved ones who have gone on before me. I do believe that just as we say goodbye to these dear people, someone else on the other side is saying hello.
Here is Gwyn, left, with her mother on the right. Her mother is now in her nineties and they rarely lived 5 miles apart from one another.

Here is Gwyn greeting my Daughter #1 at her wedding last summer. I love this picture because it captures Gwyn's personality. Daughter #1 loved her very much too!

Here is my DH with Gwyn and her mother visiting at Daughter #1's wedding. My family will miss Gwyn very much.


dee said...

Thank you Vivian. Those are the most beautiful and comforting thoughts on death I've heard in a long time. Very touching and peaceful.

Diane said...

What a sweet tribute for such a beautiful person. We will miss her.

I love the story. Glad you asked whoever told it to send it to you so you could share it.