At the start of this year, I visited a woman who had returned from two months overseas. She had spent most of that time sitting beside her brother as he died. She had emailed me the night before he died saying that it would not be long now. I prayed as did other friends from our church that the Lord would be with her as she held his hand and watched and waited.

In that month, I had been to three funerals. Two for people who had lived long full lives and lived well. One woman leaves a remarkable legacy. They will miss their daily interactions with her. Her departing will leave a huge unfillable hole. The third was for a tiny baby who lived for thirty minutes lying in the arms of his loving and devoted parents. His was a short life. But he was loved. Deeply loved.

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I took this photo when I was in Singapore in 2013. This city is not known for its quiet or stillness or tranquility. You have to search hard to find these giant lily pads. They are found in their Botanic Gardens in a giant pond. We came here on a drizzly rainy day, heavy with humidity and I longed to take giant leaps across each lily pad to the largest one and lie outstretched and soak in the coolness, the gentleness and the quiet sounds. It is a place we have since revisited and sat and stopped.

Listen to the quiet drip drip drip. Hear tiny bird sing songs of joy unfettered. Look at those water lilies and their vibrant splash of colour. We sit and stop and start to breathe slowly and deeply.

I have watched dear friends weep as they watched their loved ones die. Their tears are like the drops of rain that fall upon this pond, sometimes they are visible, but others fall softly, lightly and silently. And yet, with each death, they have all shared a deep hope that their loved ones are now in a better place. Each of my friends said to me “they have gone home”.

“How lovely is your dwelling place Lord Almighty!”

My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord;

my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.”  Psalm 84:1-2

Going home will be even lovelier than sitting on this lily pad.