Thoughts on farewell, being left behind, waiting, and ascending to heaven: themes from Acts 1

Stay  Jan Richardson
A Blessing for Ascension Day

I know how your mind rushes ahead
trying to fathom what could follow this.
What will you do, where will you go, how will you live?

You will want to outrun the grief.
You will want to keep turning toward the horizon,
watching for what was lost to come back,
to return to you and never leave again.

For now hear me when I say
all you need to do is to still yourself
is to turn toward one another is to stay.

Wait and see what comes
to fill the gaping hole in your chest.
Wait with your hands open to receive what could never come
except to what is empty and hollow.

You cannot know it now, cannot even imagine
what lies ahead, but I tell you the day is coming
when breath will fill your lungs
as it never has before and with your own ears
you will hear words coming to you new and startling.
You will dream dreams and you will see the world ablaze with blessing.

Wait for it. Still yourself. Stay.

Songs about Ascension:


Questions to consider about re-entering ‘real’/daily life and waiting for the arrival or support and help … themes from Acts 1: 6-10:

  • Can you name peak moment(s) or mountain-top experience(s) in your life?
  • When you re-enter daily life, after pinnacle moments, how are you changed? What do you carry with you from such times?
  • Can you retain or cultivate some of the blessings or gifts of such exceptional times? What practices help you do so?
  • When you’re told to wait for something to come … told to ‘shelter in place’ until the resources you need arrive … what is that like? Waiting? Preparing? What is difficult about waiting? What opportunities does a period of waiting offer?
Meditations on Farewell & Being Left Behind

If we have grown weary in this season. If we have become overwhelmed. If we are living with fear or anxiety or worry about what lies ahead. If the swirl … has become intense. If time is moving strangely. If grief has been a traveling companion. If the ground beneath us has given way. If resurrection seems less than certain …  This is the day that calls us to breathe. This is the day that invites us to make a space within the weariness, the fear, the ache. This is the day that beckons us to turn toward one another, and to remember we do not breathe alone. — Jan Richardson

It is queer to be in a place when someone has gone. It is not two other places, the place that they were there in, and the place that was there before they came. I can’t get used to this third place or to staying behind. ― Elizabeth Bowen

For Sayonara, literally translated, ‘Since it must be so,’ of all the good-byes I have heard is the most beautiful. Unlike the Auf Wiedershens and Au revoirs, it does not try to cheat itself by any bravado ‘Till we meet again,’ any sedative to postpone the pain of separation. It does not evade the issue like the sturdy blinking FarewellFarewell is a father’s good-bye. It is – ‘Go out in the world and do well, my son.’ It is encouragement and admonition. It is hope and faith. But it passes over the significance of the moment; of parting it says nothing. It hides its emotion. It says too little. While Good-bye (‘God be with you’) and Adios say too much. They try to bridge the distance, almost to deny it. Good-bye is a prayer, a ringing cry. ‘You must not go – I cannot bear to have you go! But you shall not go alone, unwatched. God will be with you. God’s hand will over you’ and even – underneath, hidden, but it is there, incorrigible – ‘I will be with you; I will watch you – always.’ It is a mother’s good-bye. But Sayonarasays neither too much nor too little. It is a simple acceptance of fact. All understanding of life lies in its limits. All emotion, smoldering, is banked up behind it. But it says nothing. It is really the unspoken good-bye, the pressure of a hand, ‘Sayonara. ― Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Thoughts on Waiting



The wait is long. My dream of you does not end. — Nuala o”Faolain

Behind every fear, there is a miracle waiting. — Marianne Williamson

We have to let go of the life we planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. — Joseph Campbell

Christian Commentary on Ascension

Most of Christianity has been doing just that, straining to find the historical Jesus “up there.” Where did he go? We’ve been obsessed with the question because we think the universe is divided into separate levels—heaven and earth. But it is one universe and all within it is transmuted and transformed by the glory of God. The whole point of the Incarnation and Risen Body is that the Christ is here—and always was! But now we have a story that allows us to imagine it just might be true. Jesus didn’t go anywhere. He became the universal omnipresent Body of Christ. That’s why the final book of the Bible promises us a new heaven and a new earth. (Revelation 21:1), not an escape from earth. We focused on “going” to heaven instead of living on earth as Jesus did—which makes heaven and earth one. It is heaven all the way to heaven. What you choose now is exactly what you choose to be forever. God will not disappoint you. — Richard Rohr

I’ll be honest, Jesus, Ascension Day brings up some abandonment issues for me. I know you promised we wouldn’t be alone, that you would send a Helper and Advocate, full of power and truth and ready to guide, but let’s face it: the fire of the Spirit is the wild kind. One moment I sense that it’s blazing like the burning bush, the next it’s like it’s out with a poof. I still haven’t figured it out. I still haven’t been able to pin it down. —Rachel Held Evans

No, we’ll probably never physically see Jesus. But we can see the people that represent Jesus. The church community is the first thing that comes into my mind. We all represent Jesus in the good things we do. I mean, we’re not the perfect servants of God. Nobody is perfect. But we see people do good things for other people all the time… As a church community, wehelp, we serve God and otherstoo. We pray. We forgive and also ask to be forgivenThat’s just the little part of God inside of us that tells us to do good.  So WE are the Jesus of the Earth. — Katie from Ebenezer Lutheran

Thoughts on Ascension & Heaven

True change is within, leave the outside as it is. — Dalai Lama

Ascensions into heaven are like falling leaves … sad and happy all at the same time … Going away isn’t really sad … especially when your going enables a new kind of presence to be born. — Ernest Hemingway

The hunger to belong is not merely a desire to be attached to something. It is rather sensing that great transformation and discovery become possible when belonging is sheltered and true.— John O’Donohue

Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads. — Henry David Thoreau

At His Ascension our Lord entered Heaven, and He keeps the door open for humanity to enter. — Oswald Chambers

Earth’s crammed with heaven… But only he who sees, takes off his shoes. — Elizabeth Barrett Browning

The connections we make in the course of a life–maybe that’s what heaven is. — Fred Rogers

There’s always another level up. There’s always another ascension. More grace, more light, more generosity, more compassion, more to shed, more to grow. — Elizabeth Gilbert

Ah, paths of the soul, mysterious ways of the heart! One must walk their full lengths before facing the supreme equation of Eternal Life. It is essential for you to live all their conflicts and to know them fully in the long process of spiritual ascension. — Andre Luiz Moreira

Jesus raised our eyes above and beyond the narrow limits of our … lives, showed us other horizons, gives us a world beyond our ourselves. — Joan Chittister

To write the true natural history of the world, we should need to be able to follow it from within. It would thus appear no longer as an interlocking succession of structural types replacing one another, but as an ascension of inner sap spreading out in a forest of consolidated instincts. Right at its base, the living world is constituted by conscious clothes in flesh and bone. — Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

The way to heaven is ascending; we must be content to travel uphill, though it be hard and tiresome, and contrary to the natural bias of our flesh … Resolution One: I will live for God. Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will. … Grace is but glory begun, and glory is but grace perfected. … The happiness of the creature consists in rejoicing in God, by which also God is magnified and exalted. — Jonathan Edwards

Heaven is not an eternally dull existence but rather the completion of a journey toward a promised encounter with the Lord. — Pope Francis

The Ascension is actually the birth of the Inner You expressed as the spiritual individualism of the inner particle state. — Stuart Wilde

Aging is a staircase – the upward ascension of the human spirit, bringing us into wisdom, wholeness and authenticity. As you may know, the entire world operates on a universal law: entropy, the second law of thermodynamics. Entropy means that everything in the world, everything, is in a state of decline and decay, the arch. There’s only one exception to this universal law, and that is the human spirit, which can continue to evolve upwards. — Jane Fonda

Through the Holy Spirit comes our restoration to paradise, our ascension into the kingdom of heaven, our return to the adoption of sons, our liberty to call God our Father, our being made partakers of the grace of Christ, our being called children of light, our sharing in eternal glory, and, in a word, our being brought into a state of all “fulness of blessing,” both in this world and in the world to come, of all the good gifts that are in store for us, by promise hereof, through faith, beholding the reflection of their grace as though they were already present, we await the full enjoyment. — Saint Basil

Farewell to Judy Fuller

With permission from the Fuller family, we pass along this brief alert: Judy Fuller of Glen, NH, a longtime Jackson and Bartlett neighbor, dedicated members of our faith community, and a thoughtful, kind and active presence in our village for many years, died over the winter holidays, after recently relocating to Pennsylvania. She was living there with her immediate family and was surrounded by love and support. Her friends here in Mt Washington Valley express their sense of sorrow and loss, and have already begun to share treasured stories about deep and meaningful friendships with Judy and her family.

Notably, friends and neighbors Christmas caroled at Judy’s Glen, NH home just prior to her move in early December. We are glad she knew she was a significant part of our community.

We will share additional information, such as a full biography, suggestions for memorial gifts and plans for a service of remembrance as the family makes those decisions. Meanwhile, her daughter Terri says, “Thank you for your … kind words. … We have talked about a service in the [summer] time frame.“

Judy Fuller is survived by her daughter Terri and partner Kathy, her son Scott and wife Ursula, and grandchildren Calvin and Nico. Judy was preceded in death by her husband of 57 years, Carl Fuller.

Farewell to Bradley Read Thayer, Full Bio of Nancy Bornhofft

FAREWELL to BRADLEY READ THAYER

The Benson family extends gratitude to friends and neighbors for their support throughout the vigil that preceded the death of Emily Benson’s father: Bradley Read Thayer. He died on Saturday, Feb 17 in Hanover, NH, surrounded by family and friends. He is survived by his family, which includes his daughter Emily and her husband Peter and their children PJ and Hannah. More information will be available at a later time, and memorial will probably be planned for the summer in the Whitefield, NH area.


REMEMBERING NANCY LOWE BORNHOFFT

Nancy Lowe Bornhofft, 97 of Jackson, New Hampshire and Gloucester, MA

At the request of her Nancy Bornhofft’s family,
we share with you her full obituary.

Two words that surface when people talk about Nancy Bornhofft are “gracious” and “indomitable.” She was born in 1921 in Belmont, Massachusetts and passed away in her Annisquam home on February 1, 2018 just days after celebrating her 97th birthday with her family. An educator and community leader, she lived fully and independently her entire life. Continue reading “Farewell to Bradley Read Thayer, Full Bio of Nancy Bornhofft”

Remembering Nancy Bornhofft

From Lisbeth Bornhofft, daughter of Nancy Bornhofft, to the friends and members of Jackson Community Church, “I just want you to know that my mother, Nancy Bornhofft, passed away yesterday in her home in Gloucester, MA. She died living fully and independently, as she would have wished, after celebrating her 97th birthday with family only three days before.”

At church this morning, people shared memories of Nancy’s active role in such causes as Hope on the Slope, which benefits the American Cancer Society, as well as many other special interests. She was beloved in this community, and will be missed. We are grateful for her life among us.

We will share other details as they are made available.

Thank You from Jeanette Heidmann

To my friends in the Jackson Community

First I wish to acknowledge all of your prayers, cards and concerns for Steve and & over the past weeks, months and years.  While his passing leaves a great personal void, I am comforted by your eagerness to reach out and help in whatever way is needed.  Right now slow, small contacts seem best, rather than the overwhelming idea of facing all of your loving and caring faces at once. You have been such a great community not only for myself but also good friends to Steve. While not a great church goer, you are the community he called friends and neighbors.

So many have offered to bring food, but with just me, my needs are small and I have a large stockpile of items in the pantry and freezer. If anyone would like to arrange to come over and cook lunch or dinner with me that would be welcome, as long as it wasn’t every night. :-).

Don’t be surprised if you see me on the snowshoe or ski trails or at the post office. Getting out and being active is great therapy and I look forward to joining you in these adventures over the next couple of weeks.

With Love & Thanks, Jeanette Heidmann

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