by Rev. Robin L. Zucker

The Arrow and the Song

By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I shot an arrow into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For, so swiftly it flew, the sight
Could not follow it in flight.

I breathed a song into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For who has sight so keen and strong,
That it can follow the flight of song?

Long, long afterward, in an oak
I found an arrow, still unbroke;
And the song, from beginning to end,
I found again in the heart of a friend.

We have come to part with the earthly form of our beloved Faith Emily Altbush. Yet, as in Longfellow’s poem, Faith will remain embedded in our hearts — a strong arrow, unbroke.

In a world where our most precious goods are perishable, let us honor, respect, and dignify Faith’s brief, but exuberant life through our own eagerness to be resilient, creative and playful, to practice kindness, to foster joy, to trust love, and to connect deeply with our friends and family as we go back to our daily rounds.

For as much as the spirit of our beloved dwells no more in mortal form, we commit her remains to the earth in the sure knowledge that whatever else may die, her nobler self and her spirit find immortality in our lives, and thus her influence for good shall last as long as time.

Life giveth and life taketh away. Blessed be the spirit of life.

Let us join now for a moment of silence to hold Faith and one another in our minds and our hearts.

O Mysterious Presence, in our heartbreak, help us to remember that by loving Faith in death the best of her will flow into us in life to challenge us and inspire us to love, to live, to laugh, and to have courage in the face of adversity. Welcome Faith to heaven and into your sheltering arms.

Dear Faith, with Duke by your side, and in the comforting embrace of God’s love, may you be eternally at play and at peace.

Let us all say, "Amen."