Hulls and Shannons in Andrew’s stairwell

. . . he makes me lie down in green pastures,
leads me beside still waters,
restores my soul . . .

For thirty years, Jane sits with me at the family table, spreads the Thanksgiving feast, washes dishes by my side.  My brother’s wife; the sister I did not have, but blessedly drew in the lot of marriage.  Last week, Jane’s father went down with a stroke.

. . . through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil . . .

In a church pew in Winston-Salem, I sit behind Jane as she holds her mother’s arm.  My nephew, Andrew, who cares daily for my father,  stands before them.  He pours out an ointment of words over his mother, his grandmother.  The twenty-third psalm lifts with his voice and fills the sun-warmed room, ringing for his other grandfather.

. . . you prepare a table before me.
My cup overflows. . .

Mary has lost her partner of sixty-eight years.  After the service, she takes us into her home, offers drinks and refreshment, settles into the afternoon.  At almost ninety, she is strong, and wondering what is possibly next.  Surrounded by her children and grandchildren and a few others like us, it is as though she savors a banquet spread before her.  She sits in the midst of it, her cup emptied, and yet running over.

. . . surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.
and I shall dwell in the house of the lord, forever.

As the sun sets, my husband and I melt into the long ribbon of road heading home.  I  hear my niece’s soprano voice soar over her grandfather’s casket, rattling the church windows, shattering the last panes still hanging in my opened-up heart.  I didn’t have to spend a lifetime with Bruce Shannon to know that goodness and mercy follow him.  I only have to hear the voices of his grandchildren rippling with praise; bright with love and honor.  How they fill the house he built for them, the house where love dwells, forever and ever.



~ by Susan on 02/21/2011.

4 Responses to “A.Legacy.(of)Shannons.”

  1. God bless Bruce Shannon, and all those faces framed in black on the stairwell. My thoughts are with Jane and Mary, Andrew and his sister, and your brother. Thank you for this entree of beauty on the table prepared and waiting, before us all.

  2. I never met Bruce Shannon, but I have been deeply impacted by him. His daughter, Jane, has been and continues to be such a dear friend to me. Her friendship, love, and encouragement have over the past three years refreshed my own life, as well as the lives of any who have met her at McAfee Seminary. Reading Susan’s reflection above highlights that anyone who knew Bruce loved and respected him. I have seen so clearly in my friend Jane the impact of a wonderful father, husband, man. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  3. “When it rains, it pours…” Your family is in the midst of monsoon season, Susan! May the flood waters soon recede.

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