Often I share the poetry of my friend Stephen Price, but usually because it is political. This portrait of beauty is something else. We can all remember Iva and live in the racing water and sunlight better because of her. Stephen writes:
This past week my friend Iva Engler died of cancer. It had been a long fight. She was back home in Maine where she had wanted to be. I had been Iva’s pastor when I was Interim at Heritage Baptist in Annapolis. She served as Chair of the Deacons and was on the Personnel Committee so we worked closely together. She taught me how to fly fish. It was something she loved. She shared it with me and that also meant that as the cancer progressed she could fish with someone who could drive home if she got too tired. That is the picture I hold of her in my heart and mind: standing in the middle of a trout stream, buoyed by the water and, for a moment, able to let everything else go. So I wrote the poem below for her. And for me. Thank you Iva for being my friend.
I will remember her
Casting in smooth strokes
as line and fly snaked out across the water.
As beauty and fish and sunlight
Rode the racing water toward her.
There where cancer had no meaning
if only briefly,
was not an enemy,
But the container that this day’s joy came in.
I will believe
As I remember
That she breathed her last breath
As Grace and Joy and Light
Raced toward her
smiling to see them come.
That Eternity is the container
that this Joy comes in
And that there
Neither cancer nor death any longer have meaning
While she and Jesus cast long smooth lines
Across the water
As they laugh and fish together.