A few minutes after noon today, I picked up my phone to see a message from a friend that began, “The sad day has finally come. Queen Elizabeth II has died.”
As I was coming to terms with the news, I remembered that one of my first thoughts this morning was of England. Some hours before the queen took her final breath, all the way across the pond I was thinking of the land over which she had reigned so long and so well.
Moments after I awoke this morning, I was drinking in the overcast sky, thanking God for answering my prayer for clouds. No doubt others have prayed too — 109° F should make even an atheist pray for rain — but last night I had specifically prayed for a cloudy day. The weather app was predicting sunshine from dawn to dusk, but I was counting on the One whom even the winds and waves obey.
As I stood at my window enjoying the clouds, I suddenly recalled a similar morning in England. It was a Sunday in July 2011, and I was on my way to a church in Stoke-on-Trent. Stepping off the Keele bus at Newcastle-under-Lyme, I walked over to the spot where I was to meet the lady who would drive me the rest of the way. It was my first time at the church, and the staff had kindly arranged the ride. Or as they say in England, the lift.
The rest of that cloudy day is now a blur, but that one moment at the bus station is branded in my memory because as I was crossing the street, I unexpectedly had an idea for how to edit “Some Sunny Day.” I can still see the cobbled street and the feel the humidity under my red raincoat as the idea drops into my thoughts.
For the reader who may be wondering, “Some Sunny Day” is a story in my first book, Pioneer Boulevard. It is the only one of the ten I saw in a dream before I wrote it, but I’ll save that saga for a sunny day. Let me return to the cloudy day I was remembering as I stared at the grey sky outside my window this morning.
As I walked to where I would get my ride/lift to the church in Stoke, the term “British English” dropped into my mind. I immediately knew that meant I must add a passage about the differences between British and American English to “Some Sunny Day.” Already two of the main the characters were English by birth, and now I could throw in my love for Dickens and the language I had been taught to call the Queen’s English. Which, with Her Majesty’s passing, will once again be referred to as the King’s English.
For three-quarters of a century, Elizabeth II remained true to the promise she had made to Britain and the Commonwealth as a 21-year-old princess: “I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.”
As we reflect on the life and death of Elizabeth II, let us remember that our race will also end someday. May the Lord God Almighty, the King of heaven and earth, enable us to run well right up to the finish line. As the Bible urges in a passage I shared at a prayer meeting just yesterday, “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:1-2).
(c)2022 Sharon Arpana Edwards. All rights reserved.