He Makes All Things New

IMG_2901.jpg

IMG_2895


We drove up to the chapel two years later, equipped with protective armor against our feelings, in case we felt too much or too little.

I didn't expect to be awed into silence at the sight of the little Chapel of the Transfiguration.

I didn't expect that as we waded through sage brush and wild flowers with a to find the golden plaque that read "W.T. 'Bill' Nightingale, 1929-2013" to feel a desolate sadness running deeper and deeper through us. To see that plaque as one last "I was here."

I didn't expect to remember the cacophony of broken voices whispering the three lesser known verses of "Amazing Grace" as we scattered his ashes-- all of us. The Nightingales and their varying branches and families of all shapes and sizes.

"I make all things new," promised a voice in the wind.

The open doors of the chapel and the echo of those broken voices ushered us inside but we went slowly, full of trepidation and aching memories.

The floor creaked and suddenly we were back. I had felt out of place in my emerald dress among the sea of black, but Father said his father would be remembered vividly in color. So I wore it to honor both Father and his father.

I wanted to sit close to him and hold his hand, but was called to the front. Squished between Grandma and Aunt, I gripped Kleenex and programs bearing the face of Grandpa Bill.

The program started and the female pastor lead us in a prayer of sorrow.

Then Daddy read Psalm 23 and he cried for the first time in front of anybody else. My heart broke for him. My heart broke for the relationship I couldn't ever have with Grandpa, the one I wished I had with my father.

"I make all things new," he said.

And even though I couldn't have a better relationship with Grandpa, I could have one with my father. We could discuss things deeper than current situations and career goals. I could call him and seek advice and learn about his daily meetings and failings. I could let him in, could let him know the me I was trying to become. We could be new.

And then it was my turn. I dropped my Kleenex and program like a trail of breadcrumbs leading to the stage. I turned and faced family I’d never met. I opened my mouth and added the sound of brokenness to the echoes of praise that had been sung there for countless generations.

“Oh Lord, my God, when I in awesome wonder

Consider all the worlds thy hands have made;

I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,

Thy power throughout the universe displayedIMG_2912 “And when I think of God, His Son not sparing;

Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;

That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing,

He bled and died to take away my sin

Then sings my soul, My Savior God, to Thee,

How great Thou art, how great Thou art.

Then sings my soul, My Savior God, to Thee,

How great Thou art, how great Thou art!”

And then hope and purpose rushed over us like a mighty wind and tears met smiles on their way down faces.

“When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation

And lead me home, what joy shall fill my heart!

Then I shall bow with humble adoration,

And then proclaim, “My God, how great Thou art!”

He is great enough to make all things new. He is great enough to redeem a relationship through the loss of another. And He has.

Two years later, in that same chapel, I grabbed the hand of my daddy who had once been a father. But in these past two years, the Great I Am has given new life to a relationship I once thought was lost. It has been redeemed through listening and tears and pancakes and laughter and diagrams and coffee and jokes.


 

What was the end became the beginning.


 

Two years later, I grabbed my Daddy's hand, and we left the chapel together.

“I make all things new.”

IMG_2830