Thursday, December 06, 2012

Blessed Feast of St. Nicholas!

This is one of the readings for the Vespers of the Feast of St. Nicholas:
The righteous, though they die early, will be at rest. For old age is not honored for length of time, or measured by number of years; but understanding is grey hair for anyone, and a blameless life is ripe old age. There were some who pleased God and were loved by him, and while living among sinners were taken up. They were caught up so that evil might not change their understanding or guile deceive their souls. For the fascination of wickedness obscures what is good, and roving desire perverts the innocent mind. Being perfected in a short time, they fulfilled long years; for their souls were pleasing to the Lord, therefore he took them quickly from the midst of wickedness. Yet the peoples saw and did not understand, or take such a thing to heart, that God’s grace and mercy are with his elect, and that he watches over his holy ones. 
Wisdom 4:7-15 

I don't deceive myself into thinking that Nick was a saint -- far from it. But every year I hear this, and I get a lump in my throat. I think about a man gone too soon and I wonder Why?  The reading comes with a double-edged sword, for it reminds me of how good a man Nick was -- and he really was a good man -- and it makes me ache and miss him and mourn anew.

And yet it also assures me that he is at rest, that God's grace and mercy are upon him. If you've read my story, The Terrible Story, you know that I truly believe that. As horrible and brutal as Nick's dying was, it was also incredibly merciful.   He -- and we who love him -- was spared so much suffering.  I will always be grateful for that.

Tonight, the boys and I will go to liturgy; we'll light candles and say the memorial prayers for Nick; we'll sing the hymns and partake of the feast; and I will get all weepy. 

Blame it on the incense.


  1. For every dark cloud, there is a silver lining. To find that lining is a testament of your strength.

  2. I, too, have reason to be thankful that A. went so quickly, and seemingly with little to no suffering. It was a very strange day when I had that insight. He could've done it 20 years later than he did; that would've been better for me. But for him, I guess you couldn't ask for a better exit.

    My whole life, I never dreamed I would be someone with that insight. I'd just as soon as skipped it.

    To Nick, on his Saint's day! And the family that loves him still, as he loves them.