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Amy Carmichael :: Ponnamal—Chapter XVII: Our Triumphal Procession

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Funeral: the word where the holy dead are concerned should be a singing word. It should shine, like a light that has suddenly broken through a rack of dark clouds. It should call with the call of bugle. We set our hearts upon causing it to be something of this for our children and the village people.

Early in the morning we filled the room with flowers. She lay as she had fallen asleep, on her little cane bed, covered with sprays of jessamine; and our friends the men servants, directed by Aruldasen whom she had loved from his childhood, carried her out, while behind her streamed the children, over a hundred of them all in white and yellow, our Dohnavur festival colours, and the little ones in blue for love. Then, valiantly led by the older girls, the children sang songs of triumph, and the one note struck, or that we tried to strike, was joy that our dear one was happy and well, with Christ; and joy, too, that we should meet her again in a little while.

There was grief, but no gloom in our hearts as we left her-not her, but the tired body that had finished its work-sown as a seed to await its resurrection. Only we wanted to follow in her steps, and run the race, and fight the fight faithful to the end. And sweet old words ran in my mind as I sought for grace to have done with selfishness: 'What a singing life is there! There is not a dumb bird in all that large field; but all sing and breathe out heaven, joy, glory, dominion to the high Prince of that new‐found land.' And so, looking over 'beyond the line, and beyond death, to the laughing side of life, the world,' we did that day by the help of our God triumph and ride upon the high places of Jacob.

In the afternoon we met again in the school‐room, decorated now with every joyful thing we could put in it, palms over the pictures, masses of yellow allamanda, white tuberosa growing in fragrant spikes. The room even empty looked radiant; filled as it soon was with the children in their colours, it was to me at least, like a little space of the heavenly garden let down for our comfort and gladness.

And yet it was not an easy gathering to lead into triumphant ways, for we are very human, and we wanted Ponnamal; it was difficult, most difficult, 'to learn to do without.'

We had met now to read some letters she had left for us. How well I remembered those letters being written! We were in hospital, and it was thought probable that her disease had returned, but nothing could be definitely decided without an examination under chloroform. If it proved to be cancer back again, the doctors would operate at once. The issue in that case of course must be uncertain, so that we had to go through what might be our good-bye before the operation. It was then she wrote her letters. I can see her now, sitting up in bed, eagerly and with pain-for it hurt to sit up-writing quickly. The letters finished, she asked us to sing to her; and under difficulties we sang up to the moment the stretcher‐bearers came for her.

These letters were read now: there was one for the girls, and the children, the Sitties, and for me. They are, I think, too intimate for even this very intimate book. Love filled them, overflowed them; mine ended with these words: 'the kisses of eternal love.' Oh, what they miss who do not know that love is eternal!

My story has been told. It goes out into a world spent with suffering, wounded unto death. But death is not the end, it is only another beginning, and that which makes life lovable and glorious cannot die, for Love is eternal.


The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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