Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Eulogy II

Before the doors would open at 7:00 am the volunteers would gather in a circle. People would shout "Prayer Time!" to collect any strays from the back rooms. Dan always asked the blessing. It was always the same. He had decided at some point (before my time) exactly what he wanted to say and had written it out and memorized it. It was a long prayer and I don't now remember the entirety, but he would end it by saying: "We thank you for the volunteers who have come out to work this day. May they always remember that as they serve the people from the street, they are also serving you." It was a good reminder. The "people from the street" are homeless. Some of them have addictions, others are a little crazy. On any given Sunday there could be loud complaining, maybe a scuffle. We were there to serve them, but, not used to being served, they took advantage of the situation. "I didn't get an egg" someone would tell me and I could see it bulging from his pocket. "More cereal!" another would shout, after having eaten three bowls. And God help us if we ran out of hot food. The whole line stopped and we waited... some more patiently than others. Dan was amazing at timing when we would run out, and he'd be there with a fresh pan. I'd be on my last ladle of stew and I'd hear his voice "Hot stuff coming through!" as he maneuvered his cart through the throng. Once in a while he was late and it was a point of honor to him... a point he had lost. He had a hard time with forgiveness, especially for himself.

He told me once about his black pit... a place where he kept all of his grievances... past sins, past slights, past wounds. It all went into the pit. It had a heavy lid, which moved just enough to stuff something new inside, then it snapped shut again. There was so much there he didn't want to look at, was afraid if he let any of it out it would explode like a volcano... or that if he ever started crying he might not stop. I know the feeling. When we keep things bottled up they become larger than they need to be, the pressure is tremendous. But as I've said before, he was a private man. I suggested a therapist. He laughed. No way that was going to happen.

When he had cancer I heard he was seeing a therapist. (Finally!) Then I met her in the hospital and realized she was a physical therapist. Duh...

His funeral is tomorrow. I'll attempt to read the lesson from Romans: I'm absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God's love. Of course it won't be that translation, but it will speak that same truth. The pit he feared and tended so carefully is gone. Nothing can separate him from the love of the God he loved.

4 comments:

kpjara said...

I love that passage. What a wonderful way to remember this dear friend!

Pilot Mom said...

Claire Joy, that is probably, out of all my "favorite" verses of scripture, my most favorite. It is the greatest assurance, as believers, that we will ever know.

Dan sounds like a great friend. I would have liked to have known him.

HeyJules said...

Ahhh...the "pit." I used to have one of those. In reading this, it dawned on me - my pit is gone. Perhaps this is why I wake up every day now and absolutely LOVE my life?

I just wanted to say that I am so proud of you for doing this - letting these feelings come up and bubble over is only going to keep them from becoming a pit that you would have to hold on to and Dan was right - those lids are mighty heavy...

Addie said...

Im so proud of you as well... I know it takes a toll to talk about these things sometime, but you did it beautifully - thank you