Life is Fragile

At church on Sunday we sang the funeral hymns-- Amazing Grace, Love Divine all Loves Excelling - and Jan (our priest) gave a sermon based on the lesson-- sort of-- it was the one about Jesus not being a prophet in his hometown, just a carpenter and someones kid brother.  But Jan always manages to bring her homilies around to love, and she did it again, noting that life is fragile, and deaths like Richard's remind us of that, and because we know life is tender and fleeting, she said, our response should be to love each other well, and since she is a Christian, to love God, too. In writing Richard's obituary Don Nash told me that Richard was the most "Christian non-Christian" he knew. I have been thinking about that, and humming that plain song hymn, based on  the verse in Isaiah  about where ever love is,  God is also there, which, this week, makes Him seem very close. Richard spent a lifetime slowing down to talk to people. Jim Szymanski said he used to kid him -- threatening to by him a babushka because he was such an old woman that way-- Richard's sister said his capacity to take time for people was, "astonishing." Sure, he let some things go, but he got a lot done, too. All of which is why I lingered a little longer at the coffee hour after church, and then walked home, stopping to chat with friends enjoying the sunny afternoon. It is also why I visited old friends at Haines Assisted Living, held the grandbabies, and why I'm going to play golf with my friends tonight. When my mother died the priest noted how crushed her family was, even though she had been ill and it was not unexpected, but he said that was the proper response, that death should shake us up and wake us up. Like Jan said, life is fragile, love each other.

Richard's memorial gathering is tomorrow at 4pm on the Parade Grounds, let's hope the weather holds. The fund for the suspenders is up over 13,000 (the goal is about 20,000) and Stormy Seas, the company that makes them, has donated what they have in stock at cost. Each pair will be embroidered "In Memory of Richard Boyce" to remind the wearers that life is fragile and that they are loved. Donations may be mailed to the Richard Boyce Inflatable Suspender Memorial Fund, PO Box 418 Haines AK 99827.

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