Submitted by Janice Midyett
By Thomas A. Dorsey
My 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.