Hanging On by Eddie Askew
It all seemed fine, Lord,
Walking along, not a care in the world, everything going right.
I was even remembering to say the occasional thank you to you,
when it changed.
The sun clouded over: A cold wind blew out of nowhere.
The first drop of rain splattered down
hitting the warm, dry earth of my path with a finality
that said the weather’s changed. I shivered.
Lord, when things go wrong help me to remember the good times.
When my life with you, and my fellow Christians,
hits rock bottom and I find it hard to take,
stay with me.
No, that’s wrong, Lord. You are with me,
I know it.
Just help me to feel it.
Not just the theory, but the experience.
When I’m disappointed
and hurt by outside events,
by the way others behave,
when I’m honest enough to look at myself
and admit that the fault often lies inside me,
then let me feel you near.
And when the pain is bad,
when the sheer effort of keeping my feet
moving along your road,
when the scenic route through the mountains
-AA recommended –
turns into the rocky path of a small Calvary,
give me the strength to go on.
It would be easy, sometimes, to give up.
To drop out at the roadside, a casualty.
A great future behind me.
I’m not sure, at times, why I do go on, until,
when I get out onto the other side of the pain,
and warm myself again in your sunshine,
You were with me. Are with me.
Lord, I pray for those
in the middle of their pain barrier today.
Trying to stay on the road, putting everything they’ve got
into the effort of getting through to the night.
Through the cloud of uncertainty,
may they be sure of your love.
In the loneliness,
may they feel your arm slipped through theirs.
In the darkness of depression,
may they hold on to the promise of your light.
Help us, Lord,
Just to keep moving.
From his obituary in The Guardian (2007)
“Eddie Askew, the former general director of the Leprosy Mission (TLM) … devoted half a century to the disease and its consequences. …
Inspired by his travels and his Christian faith, Eddie found an outlet for his creativity in painting and poetry. A Silence and a Shouting, his first book of meditations and artwork, was published in 1982. It was followed, over the years, by 16 others, and the sale of his books and paintings raised around £2.5m for TLM.”
The Twenty Third Psalm
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord