Thrilling Guest Thursday: Lynn D. Morrissey


O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
(1 Corinthians 15:55 KJV)

What greater tribute can a child give their parent than heartfelt words penned to celebrate the parent’s life and mourn his absence. Lynn, in her eloquent voice, does just this as she remembers her daddy.

<!–[if supportFields]> SEQ CHAPTER \h \r 1<![endif]–><!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>Nearly six years ago, while my beloved father relinquished his mortal coil, God released his soul like a shooting star, arc-ing right through the galaxies straight to His heart. After a six-month odyssey of agony, a living death, Daddy was blessedly transformed—that quickly, that effortlessly, that mysteriously—in a breathtaking nanosecond, in the twinkling of an eye. Absent from the body, present with the Lord—absent from withering flesh to wondering felicity, from careworn burdens to contented bliss, from dark-glass knowing to face-to-face intimacy with the God he loved.
                                                           
Oh, without question, I was relieved that my father no longer suffered. After a treacherous fall that broke his neck, mercifully sans paralysis, my father lay tethered to a hospital bed by a tangle of tubes and needles, a plethora of pain and indignity. He suffered more than anyone I’ve ever known. And in ways impossible to convey, we suffered with him. We agonized over all he endured.
So how could I have possibly wanted that to continue? No, I was relieved that his suffering was over.
And yet, to let him go was excruciating. How could I let go the man I’d loved my whole life, my larger-than-life hero? How could I let go his bear-hug embrace, his mammoth hands that encompassed mine or playfully crushed the hands of my would-be suitors, his beautiful basso-profundo voice, his hardy laughter, impish humor and twinkling ice-blue eyes, his constant, but good-natured prodding: “Lynn, what are you writing today?”
People offered sincere comfort: “He’s no longer suffering. He’s in a better place. He’s with the Lord.” Yes, I knew that, and yes, I was comforted, but Daddy wasn’t with me, and I grieved his loss, his tangible, physical presence, his warmth, his strength. Someone encouraged, “But you’ll be with him soon.” I knew he meant well, but soon? If I lived a normal life span, I would live without my father for at least another twenty years.
Death had torn my father away, and it was tearing me apart. Death was never meant to be, and this ripping of body from soul was unnatural. It was not what God had originally intended. So despite that I could rejoice that my father was in heaven, I still longed for him here on earth. I missed him body and soul, missed all of him, all that he was.
Ten days after Daddy died, I attended a journaling retreat, where, ironically, I couldn’t journal about him. God had always used journaling as a means of deep catharsis in my life, but after grieving in writing for six months during my father’s prolonged hospitalization, I had nothing left to say. Looking back, I realize that God was protecting me. My grief was so cavernous, that had I spilled my soul into a blank journal, I would never have been able to stop writing. I would have plummeted into a grief gorge, unable to grope my way out.
But God knew that I still needed a way to release my pain. One day, without conscious thought, I started to scratch words on a tablet—words that I hadn’t intended to write, words about my father’s physical being, the actual man I missed so much. Without initially realizing it, I was writing a poem, a much smaller container to house my grief, a far more manageable vessel for holding despair. God used this amazingly simple form of writing as an important first step in a monumental healing process.
To Christians reading this post, I remind you that I know my father’s soul is absent from the grave. His true essence is with the Lord. And yet, God made us body and soul, and when we grieve it’s important not to disregard our incalculable loss of an actual, physical person. This is the sentiment I tried to convey in “The Box.”
Oh how I long for the day when God will reunite Daddy’s body and soul in the reality of resurrection. God promises that my father will live whole in His presence, in the new heaven and the new earth. And I long for that day, when I will join my Father and my father, never to be separated.
If you are experiencing a grief too deep to bear, despair that threatens to overwhelm, might you pick up your pen and write some small, one-line descriptions and remembrances of the person you loved so well? Write a short poem or psalm of lament. Let your pen lance your wound. Let your words heal your heart.



Lynn with her father, Bill Morrissey


The Box
For Daddy
Your favorite plaid shirt—well-worn, softened squares of red and blue—
was torn clean through at mid-sleeve,
and frayed—terribly frayed—where your angular elbows, roughened,
yet softened with time, thrust through.
Your dark denim overalls, homey, capacious,
deliciously splattered with rays of white paint,
like a midnight sky spattered with sprays of bright stars,
were your second skin.
Your big, black shoes (size thirteen)—you called them boats!—
anchored your once-six-foot frame to earth,
as you lumbered cumbersomely along,
your cold-steel cane flanking you, too.
You were no fashion plate.
But you had a beautiful box:
polished mahogany, smooth as silk,
filled with milk-white clouds and satin puffs,
stuffed like an elegant jewel case and adorned
with bright-brass Pieta replicas and shining panels of Lord’s-Supper reliefs.
I ran my hand along its handles, along its glistening, beveled edges,
reverently reveling in its richness,
gripping its resplendence.
And now, in grief,
in throat-stripping weeping,
we must grip ourselves.
We place our priceless treasure in the box,
carefully, oh so carefully.
We fluff the clouds, smooth the satin folds,
arrange your body like one arranges fragile flowers,
then close the lid.
And we lock it tight against the night.
We lock it hard for holding,
secure for safe, safe keeping.  



2013 Copyright. All Rights Reserved. Lynn D. Morrissey




Lynn D. Morrissey, is a Certified Journal Facilitator (CJF), founder of Heartsight Journaling, a ministry for reflective journal-writing, author of Love Letters to God: Deeper Intimacy through Written Prayer and other books, contributor to numerous bestsellers, an AWSA and CLASS speaker, and professional soloist. She and her beloved husband, Michael, have been married since 1975 and have a college-age daughter, Sheridan. They live in St. Louis, Missouri.

You may contact Lynn at words@brick.net.

Please feel free leave your comments for Lynn on this post.

14 thoughts on “Thrilling Guest Thursday: Lynn D. Morrissey

  1. Oh man. I guess God had intended for me to read this this week. A beautiful tribute to a man that God made all man… His days of watching over his little girl are long past… but never forgotten and always with you. He passed the lamp of God's light into your heart… and now we get to read his light in your sad and yet comforting words… My dad, cut from the same mold as yours, left us three years ago Wednesday… been a tough week… guess it always will be on the 7th of May while I'm down here… Thanks, Lynn… The tears I thought were gone again rinse my soul…

  2. Oh my goodness, Floyd! I'm so very sorry. I just had no idea when Kel originally asked me to offer some poems during national poetry month (April), that for various reasons, my poems would come a bit later (and she graciously extended poetry month to May!). And then, I had no idea what to offer. I have written a number of things, and hadn't originally intended to offer two poems about death (one last week called "Roses of Remembrance.") But I can see how, as we submit our thoughts to God, He guides us. I am so very touched about your father, and how this particular offering of mine ministered to you in a way that I would not know when I posted. Yes, it sounds as if your father and mine were from the same era–hard workers, wonderful providers for their families, of strong moral character, and they loved the Lord. I know from all you've said how much your dad meant to you and the wonderful lessons he taught you. Now, *I'm* welling with tears, for both of us–for both our losses. And yet, we know our dads are with Jesus, and this is our sure hope. I'm glad you were able to cry. Truly, tears are God's gift for comfort and cleansing. And May 7th….oh a precious friend just lost her dear brother to cancer on that day this week. I"m singing at his funeral on Saturday. Pls. pray that I will sing well to bring God glory and to offer comfort to this precious family. THank you, Floyd!Fondly,LynnOh, and I lost Daddy in May, too…on the 27th in 2007. He was 79.

  3. A beautiful tribute, Lynn… and such a portrait of your own grief and faith. I know your father rejoices in His Lord and also in knowing his light passed on to you and that you are holding that light in shining words shared. I think you are right about God keeping you from journaling in that moment… and I know He is holding your heart in all you wrote here.

  4. Lynni- I marvel at how God ministers to us right at exact moment we need it. I love sharing this format and seeing people touched by the Spirit of God in each of us. Last week a woman who reads this blog via facebook, also said that "Roses of Remembrance were just what she needed as her mom's passing was around this time in the last couple years. Thank you for being the healing balm that God made for His glory and honor. Praying that your voice and words will comfort you friend this weekend. Love-Kel

  5. Floyd- My heart goes out to you…I am so thankful to have a place where God ministers His love and comfort…his timing is perfect…strangely my father passed away in May also..on the 22nd, eight years ago…fathers are so important. I am glad that you and Lynni had fathers who loved God…I don't know about my dad, but I take comfort in knowing that the Heavenly Father does…

  6. Your words are so generous, Michelle. Thank you so much. And, yes, I think it's those unexpected gifts of God that often mean the most–because then, we truly know He is at work. Thank you for stopping by Kel's. I hope you will again.LoveLynn

  7. Pam, so often whatever you write (in comments or your own beautiful posts and emails) bring me to tears. This is no exception. Thank you…..oh thank you that you can see some ray of Daddy in me. He wasn't smiling in that particular photo, but it's one of my favorites of him and me together. We'd often sit and swing. And we would often sing together. Truly, if he'd had lessons, I know he would have been an opera singer. I have his voice recorded, and I'm glad of it, but I still can't listen. All in God's time, Pam……same with you and your mom. Thank you so much.LoveLynn

  8. Oh sweet Kelly, thank you so much. I think he did indeed beam, and I looked up to him (quite literally–he was over six foot before his spine began to collapse due to the anti-rejection drugs he took for a kidney transplant), and I looked up to him in so many ways. I still can't believe he's gone…..but you remind me he is NOT. You are writing in the present tense. Bless you dear one.LoveLynni

  9. Kel, how I appreciate your letting me know this, and how gracious of *you* to provide this special vehicle for sharing words. Your blog is bringing joy to so many. I don't "do" FB, so I'm really glad you told me about your friend. I'm so very sorry about her mom. Maybe she could write a poetic tribute to her. It's such an honor and joy to do. Please give her my love. And thank you about my friend. I'll let her know.LoveLynniAnd yes, aren't God's timing and promptings just amazing?!

  10. Thanks, Lynn. I'm praying for God to speak through your wonderful voice. Thank you, Kel. We all face the time when God calls our parents home. I'm sorry for your loss as well. And well said; our Father knows…Glad the picture is up. What a wonderful memory… Thanks for sharing this intimate part of your life.

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