Nothing here is promised, not one day


The title of this post comes from the playwright and actor Lin Manuel’s poem that he read to/about his wife and the shooting in Orlando when he accepted his Tony for Hamilton.

These words have rattled around my head constantly over the weekend. On Friday, I learned that a dear friend’s husband, Mike Oliver, has been diagnosed at age 56 with Parkinson’s disease. He wrote about this experience for the paper he works for. It’s good: you can read it here. The same day, I learned that a colleague that I had just taught with in North Carolina a week before, Ted Hickman,  a gentle giant with a heart of gold, died suddenly in his sleep at the age of 51. He will leave behind a huge number of holes in the Presbyterian Church where he was the moderator of the New York City Presbytery and a lay pastor, and at New York University where he was a medical researcher.

I also did a memorial service Saturday – see the theme here people? Yeah, but it was great. Dorothy Sinclair lived a great life, she got married at the age of 70 to her second husband and found true love. Her whole family looked up to her and she was wise. She had a lot of years, but she used them very well.

As I mentioned to my friend Catherine about her husband’s diagnosis, “This isn’t the script that we would write for our lives.” Nobody wants a degenerative disease; dying at 51 is too soon. The same goes for all those lost on 9/11 15 years ago – lost due to evils beyond their individual lives. I know people who died in the attacks, as well as many, thank goodness, who escaped harm in both DC and New York. All were good people, working regular lives. It sucks.

We don’t get to fully write the script exactly the way we want to. But we do get to live as fully as we can in the one that God gives us.

So especially this weekend I am grateful – grateful to be alive, grateful for the ability to love, however imperfectly I do it, grateful for work that brings meaning, even when it’s hard, grateful to a God that I follow who brings to me grace and light for the journey ahead.

Here’s the end of the poem by Lin Manuel:

When senseless acts of tragedy remind us

That nothing here is promised, not one day.

“This show is proof that history remembers

We live through times when hate and fear seem stronger.

“We rise and fall and light from dying embers

Remembrances that hope and love lasts long

And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love

Cannot be killed or swept aside,

I sing Vanessa’s symphony, Eliza tells her story.

Now fill the world with Music, Love and Pride.

Next post, I’ll review the last trip I just took. It will be lighter, I promise.