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As Brian and I drove to Indiana this past weekend we listened to this song, Lay Me Down by Andrew Peterson, over and over again. The first time because he asked to hear it and the other forty because I became obsessed with it as I often am with songs that teach or touch me in some way. Kyle Lake's death is like looking ina mirror for us I think: we're all just past thirty, small kids at home, beautiful wives out of our leagues, congregations we pastor, and I was brought up in the same hometown and church as Kyle too. His death brought our lives into sharper focus, made our eventual passings more believable, and while we weren't as close to Kyle as most of his mourners, it's brought us our share of mourning, but also brought us into deeper conversations with each other about life, death, purpose and meaning and - of course - the hope of life beyond this far country. This song by Andrew expresses this hope better than I ever could, reminds us of the unchanging realities of our salvation from death and shallow living. I hope it brings some hope and reflection to you and yours too.

I suppose you could lay me down to die in Illinois
Bury me beneath the rows of corn
Or in-between the maple trees I climbed on as a boy
Where in the Land of Lincoln I was born

Oh, and I recall
We rode the combines in the fall
And there comes a time
For gathering the harvest after all

So when you lay me down to die
I’ll miss my boys, I’ll miss my girls
Lay me down and let me say goodbye to this world
You can lay me anywhere
But just remember this
When you lay me down to die
You lay me down to live

Well I asked a girl to marry me on a dock out on the lake
Our babies came to life in Tennessee
And the music of the mountains is still keeping me awake
Yeah, but everything that rises falls asleep

We are not alone
We are more than flesh and bone
What is seen will pass away
What is not is going home

When you lay me down to die
I’ll miss my boys, I’ll miss my girls
Lay me down and let me say goodbye to this world
You can lay me anywhere
But just remember this
When you lay me down to die

I’ll open up my eyes on the skies I’ve never known
In the place where I belong
And I’ll realize His love is just another word for Home

I believe in the holy shores of uncreated light
I believe there is power in the blood
And all of the death that ever was,
If you set it next to life
I believe it would barely fill a cup
‘Cause I believe there’s power in the blood

When you lay me down to die
So long, boys, so long, girls
Lay me down and let me say goodbye to this world
You can lay me anywhere
But just remember this
When you lay me down to die
You lay me down to live


Blogger Cristy said...

Since you’ve been talking about bringing your life into focus in the wake of Kyle’s death, I wanted to share a couple of things that have happened in the last couple of months.

I have 4 best friends and we have known each other since we were since elementary school. We’ve all been friends for over 25 years. We all live within 15 miles of each other, still. Rare, I know. On Labor Day this year, one of my best friends’ husband died suddenly, the cause of death on the death certificate is “inconclusive.” Perfectly healthy 35-year-old drywall hanger, wonderful husband of 14 years and loving father of 5 beautiful children. Dead. No reason. No explanation. Just dead. His oldest son, Joe, age 9, found him lying on the bedroom floor face down on Labor Day morning, while his wife was at work. He was fine when she left for work at 6:30am and he was planning to spend the day with the kids. Four hours later, he’s dead. As I try to help my friend pick up the pieces of her life, and she tries to be a mother to 5 mourning children, I see my family differently. More clearly. Trying to slow down and savor each moment. Trying to spend more time being together and not feeling like we have to be “doing” something to be together. Now we can just “be.” I smell them when I hug them now. When I tell my husband I love him, I say all three words, slowly, and deliberately instead of just “love ya” before I hang up or leave for the day. He squeezes me tighter when he hugs me and probably snuggles a little closer during the night. My kids hug me now...since they’re teenagers, they hadn’t for a couple of years unless I made them. But they just walk up and hug me for no reason now. They tell me they love me in the middle of the kitchen for no reason now. It has impacted our lives in a way that I pray will never change.

Then yesterday, my cousin passed away. Until a few months ago, she was a perfectly health 37-year-old real estate agent, wonderful wife and loving mother of 5 beautiful children. Yes, 5 more children lost a parent. They discovered she had cancer a few months ago and it was spreading. They tried doing radiation and chemotherapy, but it was too late. It had already spread to her bones. I talked to her just five weeks ago for a long time and she talked about a cancer diet that she was trying because the doctors were only giving her about a month. She thought the cancer diet could rid her body of toxins and she wanted to know if I would help her look for some recipes. She couldn’t have dairy products, etc and had to learn how to cook in a new way. I had been helping her find recipes, but about a week later she contracted pneumonia and was put in the hospital. There would be no more cancer diet for her because she was too sick to even eat anything other than clear liquids. A week later, they sent her home to die. During the following weeks, she was cared for by her family and friends until early yesterday morning, when she went home to be with Jesus. She told me during that long conversation only a few weeks ago that she really would like to stay here and watch her kids grow up, and maybe even have some more. She would like to grow old with her husband and see her grandkids and great-grandkids, even. BUT, if Jesus was ready for her to come home, she was more than ready to go. So when I got the call yesterday morning that she had passed, I couldn’t even shed a tear for her. I know there will be plenty of tears for her husband and children, her grandfather, her mom and dad, her brother and sister, her nieces and nephews, her aunts and uncles, and her cousins. But I am so happy for her. No tears for her. Just smiles.

Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Thank you Christy for letting us hear your story. We'll mourn for the families and friends left behind.

Brian said it well this weekend: We mourn the separation but not the death. For us death is life, to die is gain, but I'm sure you miss your friends deeply. We feel the separation between us and them, this far country we're stuck in and the utopia that waits for us. Thanks again for telling your story. I'll be praying for all of you and hoping the random hugs and slow I Love You's don't stop coming anytime soon.


Blogger Nancy Tyler said...

Shaun and Cristy, if you feel comfortable with it, please consider gifting those families with a note at some point, telling them what their loved one's life and loss has meant to you.

I really appreciated the stories people started telling me at my husband's and my dad's funerals and I treasure the notes and photographs and drawings people sent back then and still occasionally send as they remember Mike and Dad, years later.

Hearing about the seeds that sprout up from the one that fell and died can be such a gift to those who are grieving.


Blogger GrovesFan said...

Amen! I remember hearing and receiving so many words of encouragement and cards, letters, etc. after my parents died. Our pastor preached a sermon about my dad the Sunday after he died. It was so wonderful to see how much impact my dad had on his life. They were about the same age and my pastor was certainly a mature, godly man, and he and my dad mentored each other for years. About two weeks after my dad died, I was driving to the store and I stopped when I noticed a young woman standing at a nearby bus stop. She was blind and had her service dog with her. I stopped because my dad had mentioned to me that he'd given her a ride to work on several occassions so she wouldn't have to wait in the rain or cold for the bus. She said that she was so impressed because most people would've never dreamed of giving her a ride, especially with her dog. She said that she'd become very used to being alone as people treated her as if she didn't exist because she couldn't see. When I stopped and told her who I was, she asked about my dad. When I told her that he'd recently passed away, she said she knew something was terribly wrong because she hadn't been offered a ride in several weeks (my dad was in the hospital 3 1/2 weeks before he died). She began to cry softly, offered her sympathy and then said "your dad showed God to me. I saw Jesus in him every time we met." That was the nicest thing anyone had ever said to me about my dad! He loved to share Jesus with others, but more importantly, he loved to show them Jesus by his everyday actions.

When I was getting ready to get married, many people told me that if my husband and I just modeled my parents, we'd have a wonderful marriage and great kids! It was so great for me to be able to know how many lives my parents had touched. Family, friends, and even strangers.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah sg, i dig me some ap.

i got to tour with AP and ben for about a month there after his new record came out. every night we played this song it rang more true to me than it had the night before.

looking forward to some hang during gloria. i'm looking for a shiny green suit in a 48L if you've seen one.


Blogger StrangeLand Bass said...

Beautiful songs - well written.

Thanks for sharing!

Blogger Suzy said...

Wow... i really like that song! Great words of encouragment. A couple monthes ago my dad found out he had cancar, and he did chemo, radiation, the whole nine yards. Then they did surgery. They surgery deffinently didn't go as planned, because the 7 days he was upposedto be in the hospital turned into 3 weeks. Now he still has to continue more treatments for different things. While in the hospital, the doctors basically told us that he was probably going to die, and knowing that tore me apart. I couldn't go to the hospital to visit him because it was just too painful. now, he's doing great, and the cacer is gone, but there were so many words from songs that so many people wrote that just touched me heart, and the last week he was in the hospital i felt God holding my hand as i walked into the hospital room. It was amazing seeing how God worked through our family that week. So, there's a little (ok, so it's pretty long... sorry!) story to show how lyrics to songs have affected my life recently. Suzy

Blogger Brandy said...

That's a great song. I also love "More" off of the same album. They're both such songs of hope. A few years ago my stepfather died at the age of 48, and I still struggle with the grief. Albums like "The Far Country" help me put words and thoughts with the feelings.

Anonymous Will said...


Thanks for letting everyone in on that song. I heard him play it before he even recorded it and knew that would touch many. I actually used the song in a slideshow for my grandfathers funeral.

Though I must say, I was on a walk with my son soon after Kyle died and then your song came on the iPod. Last Notes. You really nailed it with that one as well. What a great song for Kyle I thought. Or any of us for that matter. So thanks for writing it.

P.S. - Tell Kathy "HEY" for me. We really didn't know each other all too well but she should remember me. I just think it's cool you have her for a sister in law.

B.U. 96

Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for posting the lyrics to this song, i heard it on the radio and was trying to find it and searched everywhere without success till i foudn the name and author here. thanks!



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