Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I should be writing a eulogy, but...

this has been a momentous week, in some ways. Much of it is too confidential to reveal; it's others' story, not mine. But I have seen courage in action, I have seen the destructive force of rumor and gossip causing pain and anguish on both sides of an issue, and I have been able to be part of the solution, or at least its beginning. And that was just Monday! There are still loose ends to be dealt with, reassurances to offer, safety ensured, but a damaging situation seems to have been headed off. And I am thankful.

The eulogy is for a complicated, beloved woman in our congregation whose life story is one of heartache, illness, joy, and passion for social justice. The trick in writing a eulogy is to portray honestly the life of the person who has died; if there are warts and blemishes, serious ones, they must be revealed but lovingly, always keeping in mind that the eulogy has been written for the survivors, to acknowledge the struggles they've experienced, the anger, the joy, the muddy legacy of a human life.

That's my main job for today. The service is on Sunday afternoon; fortunately it's our Christmas music service and I don't have to speak. I want this memorial service to be beautiful, as I loved this woman very much despite her warts and blemishes. So I want to choose my words carefully and lovingly, mindful of the pain her family has experienced during her lifetime, mindful of the affection the congregation had for her, mindful that somewhere in the ether (could it be so?) she may be listening, hoping for truth and compassion.

I went up to Oak Harbor yesterday to run some errands and get the oil changed in my car. At the JiffyLube I go to regularly, the young mechanic said to me, as he was ringing up the sale, "I like your Referendum 71 sticker. My partner and I have been together for three years and we are so glad for the legislation. We feel a little safer now but we hope someday we'll have full marriage rights."

I mentioned that I'd been working for marriage equality for a long time and he asked me what agency I worked with. I told him I was a UU minister and that our denomination has been active in this civil rights issue for many years. "Oh," he said, his face lighting up, "where's your church?" I told him we're just north of Freeland and said it would be great if he and his partner would come visit. "We just might," he said, "we just might."

I felt like hugging him right there on the spot but restrained myself, not knowing what his status is at the shop. I guess I'll have to wait until he and his beloved come to church!

Like I said, what a week it's been! And now it's only Wednesday.

1 comment:

elz said...

witness is a gift, we just never know who will want to receive it