We Give Them Back to Thee

Image from pikrepo.com

“I think that the dying pray at the last not, ‘please,’ but ‘thank you’ as a guest thanks his host at that door.”     Annie Dillard

This favourite line from Annie Dillard is a recurring theme reminding me to be thankful, to receive life and death as the gifts they are. The following poem by Ernst van Eeghan was written in response to his wife’s death:


We give them back to Thee, dear Lord, who gavest them to us.

Yet as You do not lose them in the giving, so we have not lost them by their return.

Not as the world gives, gives Thou, O Lover of souls.

What Thou gavest, Thou takes not away; for what is Thine, is ours always, if we are Thine.

And Life is eternal, and Love is immortal, and death is only the limit of our sight.

Lift us up, strong Son of God, that we may see farther.

Cleanse our eyes, that we may see more clearly.  Amen.


With an understanding that we may joyfully steward all that is God’s in our short lives, Ernst van Eeghen considers’s his wife’s death while pondering Jesus’ words to His closest friends “not as the world gives, give I unto you… let your hearts not be troubled… 

Poem found in James M. Houston’s “Memoirs of a Joyous Exile and a Worldly Christian.”

About R.H. (Rusty) Foerger

As I enter the third third of life, I am becoming aware of the role of elders today “to enlarge spiritual vision, being devoted to prayer, living in the face of death, as a living curriculum of the Christian life” (Dr. James M. Houston). I am a life long and life wide learner who seeks to: *decipher the enigma of our worth *rescue from the agony of prayerlessness *integrate spiritual friendship.
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