“We live in the interstices. One thing ends, another begins. A season ends and a season begins. A day ends and a new day begins. A job ends and a better job begins. A relationship ends, another begins. A life ends, other lives begin.
We mark time by endings and beginnings – birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, weddings, reunions, holidays, decades, deaths – all marked on a calendar with dates, times, and places, often captured in photographs and remembered with stories.” GRG 10/20/21. That quote is the opening of an earlier blog called “Endings and Beginnings”
Today is the last day of February, 2023, marking the end of one month and tomorrow, the beginning of another. We spent the weekend celebrating the life and death of a good friend who lived in Dallas. There were several days of sharing memories and stories, a memorial service where over 300 people gathered to bear witness to a life well-lived, one of service to others starting at a young age and continuing for the rest of his active life. His friendship, kindness and generosity to others are legendary and serve as a model for all who were privileged to know him.
There are numerous experiences that are commentaries on his life and here are three that stand out for me that tell something about this special friend. One is his love for his family, his wife and two children, and their extended families. The second is how he related to his partners and employees in a manner of genuine, honest and transparent concern. The third was his love of bees, beekeeping and producing honey which he and his wife shared widely. Those of us who were given the gift of knowing and loving this man have been enriched by that relationship. He inspired me to recall and share some of the words from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Stations on the Road to Freedom” words that I shared last Saturday and now, here with you:
If you set out to seek freedom, then learn above all things
to govern your soul and your senses, …only through discipline may a man learn to be free.
Daring to do what is right, not what fancy may tell you,
freedom comes only through deeds,
freedom, will welcome your spirit with joy.
A change has come indeed. Your hands, so strong and active,
are bound; in helplessness now you see your action
is ended; you sigh in relief, your cause committing
to stronger hands; so now you may rest contented.
Come now, thou greatest of feasts on the journey to freedom eternal;
death, cast aside all the burdensome chains, and demolish
the walls of our temporal body
Freedom, how long we have sought thee in discipline, action, and suffering;
dying, we now may behold thee “
It is all about Faith, and thus, no Fear. A friendship remembered, honored and treasured.
A wonderful tribute from the heart to a friend and colleague who is beloved by so many, including you, in so many different spheres of life. Words are often not enough to convey our feelings for those who depart from the earthly plane, and yet, words are often all that we have to convey peace for the journey ahead. Thank you for sharing your words, Gary. Peace and harmony to all, in all the spheres.
The challenge of writing is finding the words to convey, as accurately as possible, the thoughts, feelings and experiences we want to share. Sharing the silence is good too! Thank you for recognizing that this post was as much, or more, from the heart as well as head and hands. I will forward Rick’s obit in an email to give you an even better sense of who he was and why he was so well celebrated and remembered. Peace to you too, my friend, one more thing we are privileged to share with all people everywhere as well as those especially close to us. Take care, be well, celebrate. As you may know, Bonhoeffer was imprisoned for several years before being executed just before the end of WW II due to his opposition to Hitler and his regime. I also referenced Oliver Sacks last work, “Gratitude” as another expression of end of life thoughts and feelings.