Friday, April 01, 2005

In Memoriam of Terri Schindler

Tennyson for Terri

In 1833, Alfred Lord Tennyson lost a close friend -- a loved one struck down in the prime of life. Tennyson fell into that dark 'valley of the shadow,' death valley full of questions and loss, loss of meaning and faith. But he emerged from this desert of grief with many verses of
In Memoriam --
his most famous poem of faith. The theme of injustice...yet faith, echoes much of Terri's battle. I'm sure that Tennyson will not mind me borrowing such rich structure of art and faith to celebrate Terri. We are fellow travellers in that dark valley, and Tennyson is great enough to share...

In Memoriam of Terri Schindler

Strong Son of God, Immortal Love,
Whom we, that have not seen Thy face,
By faith, and faith alone, embrace,
Believing where we cannot prove;

Thine are our lives of light and shade;
Thou madest Life: human and brute;
Thou madest Death; and lo, Thy foot
Is on the skull which Thou hast made.

Thou wilt not leave her in the dust:
Thou madest her, she knows not why,
She thinks she was not made to die;
And Thou hast made her: Thou art just.

Thou Jesus, human and divine,
The highest, holiest manhood, Thou.
Our wills are ours, we know not how;
Our wills are ours, to make them Thine.

Our little systems have their day;
They have their day and cease to be:
They are but broken lights of Thee,
And Thou, O Lord, art more than they.

We have but faith: we cannot know;
For knowledge is of things we see
And yet we trust it comes from Thee,
A beam in darkness: let it grow.

Let knowledge grow from more to more,
And more of reverence in us dwell;
That mind and soul, according well,
May make one music as before,

But vaster. We are fools and slight;
We mock Thee when we do not fear:
But help Thy foolish ones to bear;
Help Thy vain worlds to bear Thy light.

Redeem our grief for one removed,
Thy creature, whom we found so fair.
We trust she lives in Thee, and there
We find her worthier to be loved.

Forgive the ‘legal,’ unlawful lies,
Confused injustice so uncouth,
Forgive them where they fail in truth,
And in thy wisdom make us wise.

'So careful of the law?' but no.
From unjust judge and hearts of stone
She cries, `A thousand dreams are gone!’
They care for nothing, she shall go.

'So makest thine appeal to Me:
I bring to life, I bring to death:
The spirit does not pass with breath:
I know her still!' And she, shall she,

Live! Her last work, who seem'd so fair,
Such splendid purpose in her eyes,
Who roll'd the psalm to wintry skies,
Who built God fanes of fruitless prayer,

Who trusted God was love indeed
And love Creation's final law --
Tho' demons, red in tooth and claw
With hatred, shriek'd against His creed --

Who loved, who suffer'd countless ills,
Who battled for the True, the Just,
Be blown about the desert dust,
Or seal'd within the iron hills?

No more! A monster, dismal dream,
Selfish dragons of our time,
That tore at Terri in their slime,
Are weaken’d whispers match'd with Him!

O life as futile, then, as frail!
O for Thy voice to soothe and bless!
What hope of answer, or redress?
Behind the veil, behind the veil!

Dance in the presence of the Lord, Terri. The day approaches when ‘justice will roll down like a mighty stream.’


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