Lenny was in his sixties, a gentle soul, who carried around a box of pencils so he could draw the same house over and over again. Lenny rarely spoke but always smiled. He went to Art Works everyday to spend time with his friends, who are mentally handicapped adults including my sister Dinah. Lenny was Dinah's "honey." Yesterday we gathered at Art Works to celebrate Lenny's life and acknowledge in our own way that Lenny had died.
All of Lenny's closest friends participated. One carried his drawings. Another brought his hat he wore on his daily walks. His picture was paraded for all to see; Lenny wore a very big smile in that picture. A favorite scripture was read, poems recited and songs sung. Lots of stories were told about Lenny.
Then came Dinah's turn. Dinah only has a few words more to say than Lenny. "My honey Lenny is gone. I love you. In my heart now." Death is hard and love is painful. Both mean letting go.
Abraham took his son Isaac on the longest walk of his life. Up the hill they went. Stopping at one point, the young Isaac questions his father Abraham. "We have the fire, the wood and the knife. But where is the lamb for slaughter?" All Abraham could muster was, "God will provide." The story tells us "So the two of them walked on together."
It seems that one of the hardest things in life is to keep on walking, even in the face of the greatest uncertainty. Dinah's heart is breaking. Her beloved Lenny is gone. Somehow, she has to keep on walking. But, we don't walk alone. We must walk on together.
The psalmist sung, "You show me the path of life. In your presence there is fullness of life." In the presence of one another we can find the presence of God. As we walk along the path of life with Dinah we can only hold her hand and be present for her. In the walking we trust and hope God will provide.