From the recording Time Gives Way
In college our friend Rolf entertained us with outlandish pranks like hanging a friend’s bike high in the trees outside her dorm or squeezing his square 6’ frame into ungainly costumes for a shock and a laugh.
The practice of fun is like any other superpower. Quirky or inconvenient for workaday life, it’s precisely what’s needed in a multiverse pinch. Post-college, Rolf’s family has met more pinches than one would wish, and their superpowered joy has been indistinguishable to me from their mighty feats.
When Rolf and his wife Trish discovered that their 4th child was born with half a heart, Trish started her blog “Rudysbeat” as therapy. It, along with their boy, were to last only weeks. Incredibly for 9 years, tens of thousands of readers were schooled by her exquisitely frank travelog. We watched their family lead rock and roll sing-a-longs with homeless friends, show up at the hospital wearing giant-nosed glasses, and demonstrate the ferocity of worship and intentional celebration when staring down death.
In the middle of a family road trip adventure, Rudy finally slipped away. On his heels, 2 months later, Trish was shockingly diagnosed with ALS. She added this twist to the blog as well, weeping, laughing, and continuing to worship.
Our college group was at a reunion dinner the day Trish started hospice, and we prayed for Trish, Rolf and their family. I had already started this song but after that night, I knew how to finish. This is for people who have lived so joyfully on earth that they will be fully at ease in heaven. Because the “faith of small ones is heaven’s perfect song.” It’s as Psalm 42 says, “a prayer to the God of my life.”
I envision Trish running after Rudy in healing light. While she holds their youngest close, she’s confident that Rolf leads their older three into adulthood. Still with joy and faith. Rolf told me that when he worships, despite the gape of loss, he senses their closeness, knowing they’re doing the exact same thing. “I’ll sing and then I’ll see, holy hands holding me”.
E ko mākou Makua i loko o ka lani / E ho‘āno ‘ia kou inoa / E hiki mai kou aupuni / E mālama ‘ia kou makemake ma ka honua nei / E like me ia i mālama ‘ia ma ka lani lā / No ka mea, nou ke aupuni / A me ka mana, a me ka ho‘onani ‘ia, a mau loa aku. ‘Āmene. (Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.)
I ride the waves of One who has no end / who turns the page that’s done, and times each stop and start / he’s counted all my days, silver dawn to shadow dusk / and carried all my sorrows / he’ll prove the arms I trust
So let everything, everything, everything in me / let it all, let it all, let it all sing / I’ll sing what I can’t see / holy hands holding me
I‘ll never count the colors round your throne / I cannot touch that fire where holy is your home / but everyone who calls on you is saved / and in the storm, you say to me / “I’m here, now. Be brave.” So let everything, everything, everything in me…
I lean on your name, Lord, life is in your hand / in light or in dark I’ll run at your command / the faith of small ones, all these small ones, is heaven’s perfect song / and though my flesh may fail, flesh may fail, Spirit make me strong
oh let everything in me / let it all, let it all, let it all sing / I’ll sing and then I’ll see / your holy hands holding me