I Hear the Sound of Breaking Hearts

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For John Mogabgab (1946-2014)

I hear the sound of breaking hearts
John – mentor, teacher, colleague, friend,
Has left this life and entered into life eternal.

I feel the ripples of a thousand broken hearts.
John, founder of Weavings,
Shaper of the Academy for Spiritual Formation.
Spiritual Abba to me and you and you and you.
Heartbeat of The Upper Room.

I know the pain of a breaking heart
The shock, the sadness,
the emptiness that can never be filled.

Do you now sit and pray and talk and laugh
With Henri, with Douglas, with Thomas,
With Howard and Martin,
With Brigit and Columba,
Benedict and Augustine,
Theresa and Hildegard and Julian,
Abbas and Ammas,
With others named John, and,
I humbly imagine, with Jesus?

Rest your weariness,
Sing with angels,
And, if you don’t mind, please,
Pray for those whose hearts are broken.

Thank you, John.
I am grateful.
I miss you.
And I feel your presence In this place.

15 thoughts on “I Hear the Sound of Breaking Hearts”

  1. Beth, Jan Knight let me know today after church that John had died. I had not read emails in 2 days so I had not seen this until now. Thank you so much for your beautiful words–they are comforting even through tears.

  2. How interesting that I was reading one of my saved issues of Weavings in the car these past three days on the journey home from Montana, and kept thinking of John and Marjorie and wondering how they were doing. I am so sad to hear of his passing but your poem has captured him beautifully. I am so grateful to John for helping me to have the relationship with God I do. Rest in peace, Dear Friend.
    Thank you, Beth.

  3. Thank you, Beth, for this beautiful tribute to John. John was a giving tree for many, and for me. His willingness to lend his time, mind and heart to our requests and needs, to enter in our questions with care and imagination, came from a deeper pool of generosity and freedom from self-preoccupation than I have found in many or have received in myself. I wish I could have given more in return. John was helping me in my journey even before I’d met him or either of us came to The Upper Room through the hand he lent to Henri’s writings and to the shaping of the Academy. What a privilege to have been his colleague. I could go on and on, but maybe it’s enough just to say how grateful I am for John and for 28 years of warm friendship and enriching partnership in ministry.

    1. Thank you, Stephen. You and I came to the UR about the same time, didn’t we? It is hard to believe that he is gone. But, I guess, he lives on in us in so many ways, from the ways that he helped to shape us in our spiritual lives. So grateful for him — and for you.

  4. So sorry for your personal loss. But, his work will live on. I am signing up soon for a two year Academy. Blessings, Jennifer

  5. Beth, I am stunned! He, with Marjorie have been two of the people of the Upper Room staff that have made a deep impact in my spiritual life. I have been a long time subscriber of Weavings. It was a thrill to me to attend the workshops he lead at SOULfeast in recent years to hear him speak about Henri Nouwen and his work. I also feel for Marjorie at this time. What a loss for her. You were right with your posting. My heart is breaking for John and for Marjorie. I said a prayer this morning for God to protect and bless. Just not this way. But there well be celebration tomorrow at his memorial service and, of course, in Heaven
    Mel Ridgway

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