Submitted by Janice Midyett

By Thomas A. Dorsey

SongofGoodNewsMy parents died within 6 months of each other in December 2001 and May 2002.  They were 89 and 82.  Our dad died first.  My sister and I were in Columbia Falls, Montana, planning Dad’s memorial service as Mother had been living in Immanuel Lutheran Home for a few months.  We attended Our Savior’s Lutheran church on Sunday.  When Precious Lord was sung, we looked at each other and said—this is a hymn that we will sing during Dad’s service. We did not know at that time that Mother would die a few months later.  It was such a great hymn and expressed to us the hope, the desire of the old and worn, to be comforted.  We had the same hymn sung at Mother’s service a few months later.

The 3rd verse was always particularly meaningful to me:

When the darkness appears and the night draws near,

And the day is past and gone,

At the river I stand.

Guide my feet, hold my hand.

Take my hand, precious Lord, lead me home.

I could see my parents at the river, tired and worn, looking across to whatever lay beyond, asking for comfort on the final journey.  A few months after my mother died, I had a very meaningful dream that reminded me of this and the hymn “Precious Lord.”  In the dream, Mother and I were walking along a familiar street headed toward the Madison Street Bridge. The feeling was pleasant.  As we walked, many people joined us.  Mother was the only one in color.  She had on a light blue cotton dress that I bought for her.  As we approached the bridge, more and more people joined.  We slowed and I stopped.  She continued on for a few steps to the bridge and looked back at me with a quizzical expression as if to say, aren’t you coming?  I said,
“I cannot go with you.”  She looked at me for a moment and smiled as if she understood and continued over the bridge.

I think of the whole hymn as a prayer.