He was my friend’s son. A young husband. An uncle, a brother, a friend. He was a Marine. He was only 29.
People filled the church last week to honor Staff Sgt. Scott Dickinson. As I took my seat beneath the stained glass windows, I struggled along with everyone else there to make sense of this. Really, there’s no comprehending the grief that weighs down Scott’s family.
When hope breaks, there’s still grace. Grace upon grace.
The pastor spoke of the scary seat the family sat in that day. He asked us to soothe their sorrow by filling the place with songs they love. “It’s too hard for the family to sing, but we will sing for them.” And we did. My Country ‘Tis of Thee. Blessed Be the Name. Because He Lives. We sang our wobbly notes through our tears. We invoked grace. Grace upon grace.
Those who knew Scott spoke of his smile. You could count on his smile. His little niece stood up in her pink striped dress and told us she loved her Uncle Scott because he always smiled and he gave her candy and played games. A fellow soldier who served with Scott in Afghanistan told us she was honored to call him her brother.
Later we all made our way to the reception. Scott’s childhood Bible and school pictures and his favorite candy honored him for who he was and what he enjoyed.
Scott will be recommended for a Purple Heart. He will be laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. His smile brought joy to so many, but his lifesong was cut short. So the rest of us sing for him. We’ll keep singing of love and grace. Because when hope is broken, all we can do is hold tight to each other and fall on God’s grace.