Michael Hill (1951-2019)

Michael Hill (1951-2019) May 19, 2019


At Marbella
A sailboat at Marbella, Andalusia, Spain  (Wikimedia Commons public domain image)


We received word a couple of days ago that Mike Hill, a friend and neighbor, a member of my priesthood quorum and a frequent quorum instructor (and, for what little it matters at this point, a former mayor of Provo), has passed away.  It came as quite a shock.  We knew that Mike had been ill, facing a lethal cancer or blood disease, but we — certainly I — thought that he had quite a bit of time left.  I’m pleased to hear that, very shortly before he was suddenly obliged to go to the hospital for what turned out to be the final time, Mike played a round of golf.  He was a dedicated golfer, and I’m glad that he managed to get that last round in.


We will still be out of the country next Wednesday and, so, will miss Mike’s funeral.  I regret that.  He was always pleasant and kind, and I liked him a great deal.  His family are in our prayers.  (His wife is a good friend to mine.)  Mike, though, is in a wonderful place where he is forever beyond the reach of cancer.


With Mike and his wife and his family on my mind, I think of a rather famous little piece by the Episcopalian bishop Charles Henry Brent (1862-1929) that I’ve had previous occasion to mention here.  It’s often called “The Ship”


What is dying?
I am standing on the seashore.
A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze
and starts for the blue ocean.
She is an object of beauty and strength and I stand and watch her
until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud
just where the sea and sky come down to mingle
with each other.
Then someone at my side says: ‘There! She’s gone.’ 
Gone where? Gone from my sight, that is all.
She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she
was when she left my side,
and just as able to bear her load of living
freight to the place of destination.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her;
and just at the moment when someone at my side says:
‘There! She’s gone,’
there are others watching her coming,
and voices ready to take up the glad shout
‘There she comes!’ 
And that is dying.


Posted from Abingdon-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, England



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