Sunday, January 31, 2010

Far Away

I'm in Kansas City at the present. It feels far away in many, many ways. But I've spent so much time here over the course of the past 40 years or so that it also feels like home. It's real mixture of things for me, especially at the present time.

I preached at the funeral of my friend Bill on Thursday. It was the most natural thing in the world to do that - it was also one of the hardest things I've done. I didn't know that Bill had left instructions for me to preach, but right after he died I was sitting at home, thinking about the years we had shared and about who were were to each other, and I all of a sudden thought: "this sounds like a sermon". The next day I got an email from Gail, the rector of St Michael's (their parish - and, if I ever have to identify a parish as "mine", St Michael's is always the one I choose) wrote and asked if I would preach. Loss. Reunion. Joy. Sorry. It's quite an adventure.

And my wrist beads keep me in touch with my spiritual life. I really know now why I wear them. I am completely out of my routine, and it would be so easy just to do what is in front of me and let the whole spiritual practice thing go. But the constant pressure of the beads on my wrist keep bringing me back. And even I am surprised at how I just naturally reach for the beads whenever there is no activity or conversation going on around me. Last night I had a good hour and a half to say the Jesus Prayer while friends watched TV. It was really good to be drawn back to who I really am.

And how about that KU-K State basketball game last night!


Br. Bernard Delcourt, OHC said...

Dear Bede,
Home and away from home are strange interchangeable concepts when we visit "where we came from". Jim preached a great sermon today. Our Associates had a great retreat with Br. Reginald. A couple of our monastic inquirers took part in that. A couple of your amaryllises are blooming in the common room. And you're in my prayers.

Dyron said...

Dear Brother Bede,
My prayers were with you the whole time this weekend at the monastery. I prayed for you as I touched the tools that you often touch in the incense workshop. It seems quite fitting that you are out there touching the "tools" that your beloved friend and brother touched as well - people, places and souls. It is during these moments when one realizes that our connection to each other is one of spirit that transcends flesh. And with all that is going on I have come to the real, not simply the notional, understanding that this is one of the glorious gifts that Christ has bestowed upon us. We always live in each other...always.

Much Light, Love & Abundant Blessings!

longmeadow said...

Dear Bede - I missed you this w/e. It's really different when you're not there/here & your choir stall is empty.
love, Laurel

Jeff Lowry said...

Bro. Bede,

Thank you for this entry. Condolences on the loss of your friend Bill. As you probably know well, it is extremely hard to lose a close friend who is geographically distant. It is wonderful that you were able to preach the homily at his funeral. I am sure it was a comfort to his family.
I too have a fondness for Kansas City, but I am afraid it is for the MO side. My father was born in Independence. My paternal grandparents,g grandparents, a g aunt and a gg uncle are buried in Elmwood Cemetery, there.

Glad you were able to enjoy the KU
vs. K-State game ("Rock,Chalk, Jayhawk!"). May memories of good times with your friend flood your heart and mind in the months to come and may you have a safe journey home.

Jeff Lowry, a/O.H.C.

Jeff Lowry said...

Dear Br. Bede,

Sorry to hear of the passing of your friend Bill. May memories of good times shared with him flood your heart and mind in the months to come. As you probably know, it is hard to lose close friends even if they are separated by geographic distance. I, too, have lost friends like that in the last two years. It was wonderful you had the time and availability
to preach the homily for your friend. I am sure your homily was a comfort to his family and friends.

I too have an affinity for Kansas City. Although mine is for the MO side. My father was born in
Independence; when President Truman was still selling hats. My
paternal grandparents, paternal g grandparents,a g aunt and a gg uncle all rest in Elmwood Cemetery there.

Glad you were able to see the KU vs. K-State game ("Rock,Chalk,
Jayhawk!). May you have a safe journey home!!!

Jeff Lowry, a/OHC

MEH said...

Dear Bede, nothing except knowing the love of God can make you feel better at the loss of such a friend. However, I think that memories are important at this time - let them come to the surface so that they can be polished and shined to a wonderful lustre for all time.
Believe me, I have been to the funeral of 3 old and wonderful friends in 2008-09. At times my guts were torn out of me. Now, I revel in the memories of all of them.

Chris said...

Sad for your loss, Bede, but glad you could be there to speak the words of life in the Lord, and of Bill's life. I got to do that for my friend, Marjorie, who was a regular retreatant at West Park several years ago, and for my Grandma a few years ago. It's a deeply bittersweet privilege.