Saturday, August 15, 2015


Your dearly loved one has gone.  Just slipped away with a calm, quiet departure.   Words can’t express the feeling of emptiness.
Just minutes after  my wife passed away some time ago,  I went into the next room where the radio was playing softly  what HAD been one of my favorite pieces, entitled   “Time to Say Goodbye.(1.    What horrible timing… a poignant, melancholy piece that kicked off a flood of tears.  I had never wanted to say Goodbye.   It gave a sense of finality to what had just happened.

Many of us have faced this situation,  the loss of a spouse, a child, a dearly loved friend or family member.  The sky seems dark and foreboding and it seems hard to envision Joy and Happiness ever reappearing  on the horizon.   

And then, ironically, the words of another favorite song tried to reach through my sadness. 

               “Blue Skies, smiling at me, nothing but Blue Skies, do I see” (2. 

That seemed so far from where I was. Those Blue Skies I had flown through for years  in countless aircraft were suddenly gray and dismal.

             “Nothing but Blue Skies from now on”.

 Those Blue Skies now a hollow promise.  

I felt a horrible sense of loss myself, but even more, I felt such a sadness for my dear lovely wife, life cut short, how could someone that wonderful be cheated out of a longer span of human experience. 

As a student of the Bible, a historical record of the impact of the Mind of the Creator on human thought going back centuries,  I sought in it's pages solace, comfort, a sense of peace.

As I  read on, and inspiring thoughts started to come to me, I found examples of how reaching out for a higher understanding of Life and the Truth of existence had brought comfort to the early Christians, and then to many others down through the years.  While there are many stories of death and disaster, illness and sin in it’s pages, the fact that the problems could not shake man’s confidence in God and the fact that they then found inspiration and comfort was reassuring.

 I read there in the Bible that even Jesus of Nazareth was brought down momentarily by the heaviness of the death of his friend, Lazarus.   But quickly he recovered and revived his friend through an understanding that spiritual life is truly eternal, as he had previously taught and demonstrated.

At that moment of despair, Jesus  … lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.   And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.”   (3.

 I read story after story of how, through turning to that spiritual voice within each of us,  the “still small voice” (4.  that speaks louder than “the earthquake, wind and fire”, thoughts were uplifted, sorrow was healed.   I started to understand more that Life is eternal  and that this illusion of life in matter is a temporary experience.  I liken it to a night dream that seems so real but when we awaken, we find it was never true.   In the book of Ephesians I found that awakening encouragement to awake from the material dream:  Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.

 In her Bible companion book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, 19th-20th  Century religious pioneer  Mary Baker Eddy, understanding how Jesus saw through the material view of life and saw the deeper spiritual meaning, said: Nothing we can say or believe regarding matter is immortal, for matter is temporal and is therefore a mortal phenomenon, a human concept, sometimes beautiful, always erroneous.  (5.

 I started to see Joy dispelling the clouds a little.

Then, true to what I knew the Father would do, that he would speak to me in that still small voice, that  He would deliver as the Bible promises in Malachi:   “ unto you that fear (respect) my name shall the sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings;, (6.

And the “wings of healing”  it came on were the words of one of my very favorite poems, “High Flight”  which popped into thought.    As an Air Force veteran, one who has spent years  flying and enjoying the accompanying sense of joy and freedom, I could see “Spirituality” described in human terms, in terms of an Airman.  I felt uplifted, I could see above and beyond the belief in the passing of a loved wife.  I could feel the freedom of eternal life and Love.  

What was it that happened to my thinking?   Eddy has it this way: It was the gospel of healing, on its divinely appointed human mission, bearing on its white wings, to my apprehension, “the beauty of holiness,” — even the possibilities of spiritual insight, knowledge, and being.” (7.

I share that delightful uplifting poem with you here,  and pray that each of you feels the soaring sense of Spirit that has buoyed me up ever since that sad day.   God is still speaking to us all in the quiet times and invites your spirit to soar!!!

 High Flight

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings; 

Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds,-and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of

-wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence.

Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.... 

Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark nor ever eagle flew- 

And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God 
Poem   John Gillespie Magee, Jr.
And an excerpt from one of my favorite hymns joined in to reassure me that God loves us and gives us Wings of Healing!!!!

Though storm or discord cross my path
Thy power is still my stay,
Though human will and woe would check
My upward-soaring way;
All unafraid I wait, the while
Thy angels bring release,
For still Thy presence is with me,
And Thou dost give me peace.

I climb, with joy, the heights of Mind,
To soar o’er time and space;
I yet shall know as I am known
And see Thee face to face.
Till time and space and fear are naught
My quest shall never cease,
Thy presence ever goes with me
And Thou dost give me peace.

(1. Time to Say Goodbye composer Francesco Sartori
(2. Blue Skies composer Irving Berlin
(3. The Bible – John 11:42-43
(4. I Kings 19:4
(5. Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures - Mary Baker Eddy p 227:29
(6. Malachai 4:2
(7. Retrospection and Introspection – Mary Baker Eddy p 32
(8.  Christian Science Hymnal     Partial Hymn -  Hymn 136

High Flight was written by John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

     Magee, an American who became a Pilot Officer with the Royal Canadian Air Force was killed at the age of 19, while flying Spitfire coded VZ-H,
    Magee's posthumous fame rests mainly on his sonnet High Flight, which he started on 18 August 1941, just a few months before his death, whilst he was based at an air base in England. In his seventh flight in a Spitfire Mk I, he had flown up to 33,000 feet. As he orbited and climbed upward, he was struck by words he had read in another poem — "To touch the face of God." He completed his verse soon after landing.


Melissa Hayden said...

Pat, what a lovely and sweet tale of your journey to healing. And what a precious gift to all who could use a light shining in the darkness. Bless you.

Ronald Stevens said...

This is terrific, Pat. I hope you won't mind if I share it with someone who needs it just now.

Melanie Jones said...

Thank you so much for sharing this! Your loving share reminded me of this quote from Science and Health. "Entirely separate from the belief and dream of material living, is the Life divine, revealing spiritual understanding and the consciousness of man’s dominion over the whole earth."

Patrick Collins said...

Thanks friends! I so appreciate your comments. I would be thrilled if you shared this Ronald. I appreciate your friendship!

Karen Molenaar Terrell said...

Beautiful, Patrick! Thank you!

Patrick Collins said...

Thanks Karen, for your kind comments and also for all that you write and share. I love your writing and thoughts!