There’s a song that my heart has started to sing whenever tragedy occurs. It’s a love song of sacrifice; a song of walking the narrow road no matter the price, even if darkness seems to swallow all the light.

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It’s a song sung by Andrae Crouch, called “I’ll Keep on Loving You”:

I thought I’d given Him my all
Until I heard Him ask for more
You see, I thought I’d given Him my best
But still there was something God was searching for
You see there were words in my heart
That I just couldn’t say, I just could not express
But when I fell in love with Jesus
It became easy for me to pray

If the rainbow is removed from my sky
Should my daylight turn to night
Take the sweetness from my life
Oh but I’m gonna keep on loving You Lord!

Take the one I love the best
My wealth, my fame
Lord You can have all the rest
Take the sweetness
Take the sweetness from my life
Oh but I’m gonna keep on loving You Lord!

In March 2008, we sang it at my mother’s funeral. In November 2009, we sang it at my baby niece Sifra’s funeral. And now we sing it for Maurice, my African uncle, who passed away on Monday morning this week.

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Maurice, you passed away so suddenly, I cannot really understand that you are gone. I wake up in the mornings and think of the all the things I would want to talk to you about – like we always do – but I can’t. You’ve gone to be with your maker, and there was nothing we could do to stop it. I cannot be sorry that you’ve gone to be where your heart always wanted to be, and I know that the treasures you stored in heaven are many. But I cry because my heart is aching, pressed by the void you’ve left behind – a feeling I know I share with many.
Maurice, you are one of the greatest men I’ve ever known. You gave your life to serve your people and you helped them achieve a sustainable life. Your dedication was unique and your drive relentless. Although we all know that no man or woman can fill your shoes, your heart held a torch of light that we will make sure to pass on, because just as with my mother, your legacy will live on.

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If there is one thing I have learned the past three years, it’s that no matter the darkness that surrounds us, light always wins in the end. Whether the road is short or so long it seems endless, love perseveres and as long as we listen to our hearts, we can carry that torch of light forward, even if it’s into the heart of darkness.

My mother taught me that some things are worth fighting for, and she showed me with her own example that some things are even worth dying for. No matter the heartache or the sorrow and no matter the price to be paid, I know that as long as there are those of us still standing, the torch of light of those who can no longer be with us will be carried forward. For their hearts are now in our hearts, and their legacy shall live on.

Maurice, you will be sorely missed – but I know that we shall meet again.

For other skies less sorrowful than mine, click here