"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Monday, August 20, 2007


This morning I wasn't surprised to find an email with the title "Sad News." A weeks-long vigil has been underway for the close relative of a friend of mine, comatose after an automobile accident a month ago. When I opened the email, I thought I knew what sad news it contained--a prayer for him and the loving ones he left behind was already forming in my mind.

I was mistaken.

It was news of a death, but not of the stranger for whom I've been praying. Our diocese lost a gifted priest, and suddenly, unexpectedly I'm bereft of a friend. The details are scant, and came via email throughout the day: he died last night at his home, the funeral is later this week, the proscribed attire for clergy has been announced.

I've only known him a year and a half, and during that brief time he became a treasured presence in my life. We served on committees together, and the council I chair holds its monthly meeting in his church.

My mind flashed back to the last time I saw him--he'd been riding his bike and looked the picture of health and vitality in his biking suit. As ever, he was all smiles and laughter. I'm glad to be able to remember him like that. But now I think about it, I can't remember him any other way.

When introducing him to others, after giving his name and church, I could never resist adding, "And he can fly!" In addition to his priestly calling, he was a pilot and a flight instructor.

I'm keenly, poignantly aware that the celebration of his new ministry--his status in his parish recently changed from priest-in-charge to vicar--would have taken place in a couple of weeks. I was very happy for him and looked forward to attending....

Now his spirit has flown, and the celebration of his ministry is transformed into the celebration of an earthly life that now has ended. I'm sure the outpouring of love and respect will be a comfort to his grieving family and members of his congregation.

The news naturally shadowed me throughout this bright and pleasant day. The record of our activities can wait for a future posting.

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