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Chris – The Final Awakening

Our friend Chris Lumpkins Cook lost her fight with cancer Tuesday and will suffer no more.  There are so many happy memories of Chris (most especially her generosity and her lovely smile).  Reading Chris’ blog, which her daughter faithfully posted each day, shows how many people were touched by Chris and the love of her family.

The late Peter Marshall, former chaplain of the U. S. Senate, told a story about a young boy who was dying from an incurable disease.  he asked his mother, “What is it like to die?  Does it hurt?”

His mother reminded him of what it was like when he had played hard all day and fell asleep on the sofa or in the car on the ride home from his grandparents’ house.  “When you awoke in the morning you were in your own bed because your daddy came with his big strong arms and carried you home.  Death is like that,” the mother told him.  “You fall asleep here, and you wake up and find that your Father has carried you home.”

Chris Lumpkins Cook

March 24, 1939 – January 26, 2010


my friend is dying

It is so painful to read of the suffering of my friend Chris.  It has been years since we’ve seen one another – but the years don’t diminish the caring – and Chris’s daughter is keeping  friends and family aware of Chris’s situation via the internet.  The love this family shares and the love Chris has inspired touches me deeply.  I hate hate HATE that Chris is enduring such pain and yet I know she is surrounded with love – the love of her family and her friends – and most importantly, of her God.  When one reads the comments on the blog about Chris, it is obvious that she has touched many many people with Christ’s love.  But I still HATE HATE HATE that she is going through such suffering.

My poet of the month (thankful I’ve discovered the sensitive and gifted poet John O’Donohue) writes that . . .

Though we need to weep your loss,
You dwell in that safe place in our hearts
Where no storm or night or pain can reach you.

Your love was like the dawn
Brightening over our lives,
Awakening beneath the dark
A further adventure of color

The sound of your voice
Found for us
A new music
That brightened everything.

Whatever you enfolded in your gaze
Quickened in the joy of its being;
You placed smiles like flowers
On the altar of the heart.
Your mind always sparkled
With wonder at things.

Though your days here were brief,
Your spirit was alive, awake, complete.

We look toward each other no longer
From the old distance of our names;
Now you dwell inside the rhythm of breath,
As close to us as we are to ourselves.

Thought we cannot see you with outward eyes,
We know our soul’s gaze is upon your face,
Smiling back at us from within everything
To which we bring our best refinement.

Let us not look for you only in memory,
Where we would grow lonely without you.
You would want us to find you in presence,
Beside us when beauty brightens,
When kindness glows

And music echoes eternal tones.
When orchids brighten the earth,
Darkest winter has turned to spring;
May this dark grief flower with hope
In every heart that loves you.

May you continue to inspire us:
To enter each day with a generous heart.
To serve the call of courage and love
Until we see your beautiful face again
In that land where there is no more separation,
Where all tears will be wiped from our mind,
And where we will never lose you again.

I know that Chris’s family is holding each moment with Chris in  tenderness and love – and I know Chris, amidst her suffering, also treasures these days with her loved ones.  Chris’s daughter writes: “We ask that your continued prayers will be to bring comfort with the suffering Mom continues to experience. Our family is grateful for each day we are given to be with Mom.”

God bless Chris and God bless the Cook family.