It's a beautiful night - way too late for me to be up, but beautiful, with a full moon, a bit of fog hanging low over the fields, and the smell of cornfields in the air. Crickets are out in full force, the animals are asleep, the neighborhood is dark, and the town is quiet.
I had the radio on today and heard Let it Be again. I turned it up to the pain threshold and lost myself in it. "And in my hour of darkness, she is standing right in front of me speaking words of wisdom: Let it be." Truly, the Theotokos was there in my hour of greatest darkness, watching you leave this world for the next, and encouraging me to say, as she did, "Let it be to me as you have said." And that is the sum of all wisdom: to give free and willing consent to God to do what He wants with us. As I watched your soul leave your body, my primary feeling was pain. But second to that was submission. The grief-people kept looking for anger in me, and I looked, too. Maybe we got that out of the way thirty-eight years ago. But by this stage of my life I know that God is good, loving, and in control. So whatever His will is, is best for everybody.
The other person that was there in that hour was my Grandmother Keistler. She was right by my side when Dr. Ansari told us the biopsy results, and hasn't left me since. It has been so good to have her strong, patient, practical presence! It's funny, I guess - I never met her, but I know her better than anybody else in my family. I grew up feeling close to her, and I've spent so much time with her these past two years.
So I rely on the strength of other women who have been here before, and my friends who are here now. Women are strong, you know, and tougher than men in a lot of ways. We have the kind of strength that sees you through times of darkness. And we do it together. Thanks to these two women in particular, I now feel pain and submission and contentment, in ever-varying concentrations. And I turn the radio up for that song. There will be an answer: Let it be.
Waiting to come to you,