Sunday, November 6, 2011

Singing for Joe

On Monday night my friend Joe slipped the bonds of this earth and passed into the mysteries of death.  Today our church held a memorial celebration of Joe's life and so many people who knew and loved him showed up that all the chairs were filled, the walls of the sanctuary were lined with people standing, people were sitting up front on the floor, and still there were people who had to congregate in the lobby outside the sanctuary (and even outside in the open air listening through windows and external doors) in order to be a part of the service. One person described Joe as pure love.  Many others used words like gentle, kind, and generous.  Joe was all of those things - he was an incredible man whose example of living a life committed to deep and profound connection to others and to advocating for environmental and social justice was immeasurable - and I am very lucky to have known him.

Joe sent this picture of his cat Sprocket a few months ago to say "hi" to the girls after we stopped by for a visit.  He looks about as happy as you might expect of a cat posing for a picture on a laptop camera, but Princess Wonder and Miss Intrepid were thrilled to receive email from Sprocket.

One of the first songs sung at today's service was "Who Will Sing for Me".  The chorus is - I wonder who (I wonder who) - Will sing for me (will sing for me) - When I come to cross by the silent sea - Tell me who will sing for me.  The second verse is - When friends have gathered 'round - And look down on me - Will they turn and walk away - Or will they sing one song for me.

Dear, dear were loved more than my words can possibly express by so many and we will continue to sing for you.

"Within the circles of our lives
we dance the circles of the years,
the circles of the seasons
within the circles of the years,
the cycles of the moon
within the circles of the seasons
the circles of our reasons
within the cycles of the moon.
Again, again we come and go,
changed, changing.  Hands
join, unjoin in love and fear,
grief and joy.  The circles turn,
each giving into each, into all.
Only music keeps us here,
each by all the others held.
In the hold of hands and eyes
we turn in pairs, that joining
joining each to all again.
And then we turn aside, alone,
out of the sunlight gone
into the darker circles of return."

~Wendell Berry

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