Thursday, March 17, 2011

A sense of contentment despite...

all the awful things going on in the world. My mind can barely contain the sorrows ringing the world right now: earthquake and tsunami destruction of life and home; tyrants killing their own people in order to maintain power; countless people, animals, and even landforms in the grip of massive change. Even though I'm not turning on the news or reading it online, my consciousness reels at the pain and sorrow afoot in the world, now and forever. Makes my wet basement seem like a walk in the park.

I woke up this morning feeling a bit blue, creaky from vaccing out gallons of water in the basement for a couple of days now; I'm getting ready to travel to Vashon this weekend to preach and also to officiate a memorial service for one of their beloved community and congregation leaders, Jennie Hodgson. Jennie was a stalwart at the Vashon Island Unitarian Fellowship during the years I served them and I was honored to be asked to perform this service.

But it's hard. Doing a memorial service for someone so beloved--not only by the congregation but by me--is difficult. Much easier are those services where my main emotion is compassion for the bereaved and less pity for myself. The world is less jolly without Jennie, who was always able to see the funny side of life, always on the move organizing this or that, inventing new ways of doing things. She is much missed, even though I rarely saw her once I'd moved to Whidbey.

Still, I have the opportunity this time to write the eulogy and compile many of the memories offered by her family into a portrait of a woman whose cheery, indomitable spirit endeared her to all who knew her. Writing it this morning has given me a lift, as though her spirit came down and touched me on the shoulder, laughing as if to say "isn't this a hoot?"

And despite the aching back from vacuuming the basement, the scubbed knuckles from wrestling with installing the new windshield wiper blades, the annoyance of occasional internet interruptions, I feel content. I've done a good job for Jennie. I'm ready to lead that service with not only my heart but my head.

Now if I can just figure out the temporary ferry schedule for the weekend!

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