© Betty Sue Eaton
|A Christian Grief Ministry
"When earth's last pictures are painted.
And the tubes are twisted and dried;
When the oldest colors have faded,
And the youngest critic has died.
We shall rest and faith, we shall need it,
Lie down for an eon or two,
'til the Master of all good workmen
Shall put us to work anew. "
Those are the first two verses of Rudyard Kipling's beautiful poem, L' Envoi. That title means
"something done or said as a farewell or parting". I translate it to myself: Rather like an
epitaph on a gravestone. The poem tells of a man looking forward to being in heaven with
God, the Master Painter and working for the sheer joy of the task, not for money or praise,
but for the joy of working for The Master's approval for an eternity. Two more of the verses
"Only the Master shall praise us,
And only the Master shall blame.
For no one shall work for money
And no one shall work for fame
But each for the joy of working
And each on his separate star,
Shall draw the thing as he sees it
For the(our) God of things as they are."�
In high school I studied literature and ancient mythology for credits, but I would have read
them for the joy alone of the adventure I found there. Of all the courses I had to read and
study, I only remember a very few and these two subjects were two of my favorites. Why, you
ask? Because these stories allowed me to go wherever I wanted to and be whomever I
wanted to be, to escape the every day life that was very unexciting to me. I read all of my
dad's literature textbooks from cover to cover memorizing many of the poems I found there.
Because he was a school teacher in my early years, I never had a shortage of inspiring prose
or poetry at hand.
Now that I have grown up and had to face the world on its terms, not mine, I realize that it
takes more than a myth to transport me to another place and time. It takes more than a
fanciful poem to give me peace of mind and comfort when I need it. The ancient stories of
myths were mostly tales of tragedy and hardship. Perhaps they made my juvenile mind feel
that my own hardships were not so bad after all. Then my Grandpa Hicks died. I was ten
years old at the time. My younger brother and sister and I knew little of the cause or for that
matter what his dying meant to all of us. I only knew that I was very hurt when a schoolmate,
jealous of the attention our young teacher gave to me, shouted, "I'm glad your grandpa is
dead!" I know I cried all the way home; and when I told my mother about it, she cried, too.
I guess that was the first exposure to death I had in my young life, but it surely would not be
the last. Now when I must face a death in my own family, or that of a friend, or a church
family member, I wish that I could be like the man in Kipling's "L'Envoi". But it's unbelievably
simpler than that!
In the time since that event in my early life, I have met Jesus Christ and have come to know
how easy it is to be transported into the Master's presence. All I have to do is believe that
Jesus Christ died for my sins and bought my place in heaven for me on the cross at
Golgotha. He promised that He would bear the burden of all our trouble and hurts if only we
laid them at His feet. He said He would hear us cry out even if we made only simple groans
of sorrow. He promised us peace that passes all human understanding if only we believed
In my adult like, I, like many of you reading this piece today, have suffered many trials as you
have, have lost loved ones just as you have and other troubles of just being an adult in
charge of one's own life just as you have. I have found through bitter experience that all I
need to do is go to my knees and pray to God that He intercede in my behalf and take away
my hurts and sorrows, and He always does. I will not tell you that I know the hour or the
minute when He begins to heal my broken heart, but one day, when I think about it, I have
been living a happier life than when I first asked God to help me. I realize that I have not
grieved each and every minute of the day and night as I had before. I realize that I began to
look forward to life, to make plans for the future, and to appreciate life for just the living!
If you have lost a dear one, family member or dear friend; if you are broken hearted at the
idea of living without their closeness, go to your knees and ask God to bear those
heartaches for you, and He will. He promised that if you believe that Jesus was born, died
and resurrected for your sins, you would be forgiven and you would sit at His right hand in
heaven with God, His Father. He promised you would see your loved one again in the place
Jesus went to prepare for you and me. He promised to give you peace and comfort in your
distress, and I know He will. Maybe not immediately, but in His time, He will. He promised,
and He will never break His promise to you and me, Never!
May God bless you and bring you peace and comfort. ~ Betty