>My Friend, Gen

>Yesterday the earthly tent of my friend, Gen Piersma, was laid to rest.

At the cemetery, the minister introduced his reading of Psalm 23 by noting its appropriateness “as we stand here at the graveside.”

As he read the familiar words, “You make me to lie down in green pastures,” I was gazing beyond the casket to the sun shining on the luminous green grass that rolled away from the blue awning. My spirit was pierced by an exquisite moment of beauty and grace.

Never before had those words connected in my mind with the act of burial. I had always thought of them as saturated with meaning about God’s loving provision of food, rest, and safety during our earthly pilgrimage. But suddenly I realized that they also convey God’s loving provision for our death. God is the One who makes us lie down in the cemetery’s green pastures. I felt as if God was tenderly tucking Gen into bed. He will wake her at the dawn. He will reunite her diminutive tent with her great spirit.

Mrs. Genevieve Piersma was a small woman, but she was a great lady.

Here is the poem I wrote for her on her 90th birthday, December 1, 1996:

My Friend, Gen

Sophistication
gilded with humility,
Timeless class and style
anchored in tranquility,

Generous benevolence
exercised with equity,
Discreet femininity
displayed with anonymity,
Delicate amiability
founded on stability
Genial gentility
established by sovereignty,
Genuine piety
grounded in divinity,

Wrapped in one
petite package,
Enlivened with gentle eyes
and heart-melting smile.

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