Music and the Spoken Word

The Absence of Someone We Love - Sunday, January 22, 2017

One of life’s universal and unavoidable experiences is to lose someone we love. All who have lived and loved will lose cherished family and friends to death. Whether early or late, suddenly or gradually, dramatically or peacefully, death comes for everyone. And when it comes for a loved one, our whole world can change in an instant, and we may wonder how we can ever go on.

Death can be so difficult to cope with and so difficult to understand. Moving forward can seem almost impossible at first. But the only way to avoid such heartbreak would be to remove from life all loving relationships—so we do move forward, and little by little, as we attend to life’s daily demands, as we eat and work and sleep again, we begin to gain some understanding, even peace. We begin to gain strength.

And yet we never quite get back to normal; things won’t ever be just as they were—nor should they be. “Nothing can make up for the absence of someone whom we love,” wrote the great theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “and it would be wrong to try to find a substitute; we must simply hold out and see it through. That sounds very hard at first,” he acknowledged, “but at the same time it is a great consolation, for the gap, as long as it remains unfilled, preserves the bonds between us . . . and so helps us to keep alive our former communion with each other, even at the cost of pain.”1

It’s this delicate balance between holding on and letting go that gives life some of its bitter sweetness. Because we know heartache and pain, we also know love and joy. And it just so happens that often the more our hearts are broken with pain, the more open they tend to be, and thus more able to receive and give love. Such love never dies. It goes on and on until the perfect day.2

-Lloyd D. Newell

1. Letter to Renate and Eberhard Bethge, Dec. 24, 1943, in Letters and Papers from Prison, ed. Eberhard Bethge (1971), np.
2. See Doctrine and Covenants 50:24.

January 22, 2017
Broadcast Number 4,558

Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Orchestra at Temple Square

Mack Wilberg
Ryan Murphy

Andrew Unsworth

Lloyd Newell

Guide Us, O Thou Great Jehovah
John Hughes; arr. Mack Wilberg

I Feel My Savior’s Love
K. Newell Dayley; arr. Sam Cardon

Prelude on “Pisgah”
Dale Wood

The Impossible Dream, from Man of La Mancha
Mitch Leigh; arr. Arthur Harris

Be Still, My Soul
Jean Sibelius; arr. Mack Wilberg

They, the Builders of the Nation
Alfred M. Durham; arr. Mack Wilberg