Giving and Taking

Nothing
is given that is not
taken, and nothing taken
that was not first gift.
                ~ Wendell Berry

Source: Sabbaths 1998 VI

‘Nothing is given that is not taken’…… This line from Wendell Berry’s poem came to mind this past week as I prepared for two funerals.  One was for an infant who lived for only one hour.  The other was for a 93-year-old woman who died peacefully surrounded by the love of her six children and their spouses.

One life barely begun, the other lived fully.  Such a contrast reminds us of how out of balance life can be.  One family holding their child for an hour…another family savoring their mother’s long life and their shared journey.

 Nothing
is given that is not
taken, and nothing taken
that was not first gift.

The invitation in both situations is full of challenge and opportunity.  For one family it is easier to see ‘the gift’ in their mother’s long life.  For the family in the wrenching loss of their baby, it is far more difficult.

In the Christian tradition we speak of Grace.  Grace is a presence that offers to walk with us during moments of joy and pain, of welcoming and of leave-taking.  Grace is a presence  that seeks to meet and bless us.  Grace is what comes to us when words cannot be found. 

May Grace rest with each family.  May Grace rest with you.

2 thoughts on “Giving and Taking

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