Wednesday, January 04, 2006

I Hope There Were Angels

What must it have been like? You pitch the cheesecloth tent and resolutely don the mask. But hours pass, no one comes, and you see in your brothers' faces that reflection of what you know. Your race is run.

Were there jokes? Messages entrusted? Were the prayers for a miracle, or acceptance, and hope for a peaceful and painless passing together over Jordan?

Death is never easy for those left behind, but I've become pretty comfortable with the concept. I'm at peace with my life so far even though it would be a shame not to finish it out. I'm not really afraid of what comes next because I'm not sure anything does, or if I'll actually be able to sense any such thing. But when the time comes, I hope that I have a moment to collect my thoughts, give a word of love and gratitude for the people in my life, and let go into that clear blue ... or wherever I'll go.

This is the beginning of an arduous, glorious, sometimes pychically dangerous journey for those this event leaves behind. This is a small, tightly-woven community of Appalachian baptists who fear God, love each other, and work hard. It's that simple, and so things like this just aren't so simple. One woman spoke of how she wasn't sure there is a Lord--a significant crisis for someone who has spent her life in the Highways and Hedges. There is in all this darkness some light of opportunity to learn and to grow. The journey these families are about to begin will require great care of soul, enormous capacity for those in any real position to help, to allow for the extraordinary real agony that will follow in days and months ahead.

But now my thoughts are on those miners and their last moments. I hope there was a comfort, either in the human spirit they shared or in some fleeting, ethereal bliss before they died. If angels are real, I believe they would not have miraculously escorted those men from their dark grave but stayed awhile beside them, helping them to let go and get on. This song, a a popular gospel hymn you've surely heard, is one they may even have themselves sung. I first heard it in the context of reading Cold Mountain. A version sung by Ralph and Carter Stanley appeared on the "O! Brother" soundtrack masterminded by T. Bone Burnett. Regardless of what you believe, it is a beautiful song. It always puts me at peace when I sing along. And deep inner peace is what I wish for the surviving men, women, and children of the Sago Mine accident.

Angel Band
(An easy song in 3/4 time, in G, G-C-G-D-G)

G C G D G
The latest sun is sinking fast, my race is nearly run
My strongest trials now are past, my triumph is begun

D G D G
O come, Angel Band, come & around me stand
C G D G
O bear me away on your snowy wings to my immortal home
O bear me away on your snowy wings to my immortal home

I know I'm near the holy ranks of friends & kindred dear
I've brushed the dew on Jordan's banks, the crossing must be near

O come, Angel Band, come & around me stand
O bear me away on your snowy wings to my immortal home
O bear me away on your snowy wings to my immortal home


I've almost gained my Heavenly home, my spirit loudly sings
The Holy ones, behold they come, I hear the noise of wings

O come, Angel Band, come & around me stand
O bear me away on your snowy wings to my immortal home
O bear me away on your snowy wings to my immortal home

O bear my longing heart to Him who bled & died for me
Whose blood now cleanses from all sin & gives me victory

O come, Angel Band, come & around me stand
O bear me away on your snowy wings to my immortal home
O bear me away on your snowy wings to my immortal home

3 Comments:

At January 05, 2006 12:52 AM, Blogger Darkneuro said...

You have a beautiful writing voice.

 
At January 05, 2006 6:02 AM, Blogger My Boring Best said...

Nice post Jen. I hope they did have some peace before they went.

 
At January 05, 2006 6:22 AM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

Hi and thanks, guys.

Neuro, thanks for stopping by. I was cheered to learn you've got a little spot for bluegrass in your enormous heart and brain. I ain't half the writer y'all are. ;-)

Jim, that's all my hope too, and all I want when I go.

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home