Wednesday, November 15, 2006

how to say goodbye

"To understand things and people, we must love them." A simple quote. Walter Rauschenbusch. I don't even know who he is. Perhaps I should.

A simple quote, read from the front of Winnipeg's largest inner-city church. The one with the glowing orange cross on top of it. I think it must be one of the biggest. A cloudy Wednesday, and hundreds are gathered to figure out how to say goodbye. We are gathered to support his family. We gather to be part of the act of gathering. We gather for ourselves.

There are hugs, flowers, people moving in a collective grieving mass. "Did you know that it was exactly two years ago that we had him over for supper?" a friend reminds me. To the day. Wow. We drive just outside of the city limits, where airplanes line up for take-off behind us. A metaphor of movement surrounding the stasis of concrete and stone.

I have witnessed only three physical burials in my lifetime. I have attended my share of memorial services, but this part of death felt foreign. It felt too intimate, like I shouldn't be there. Like I should turn my back from the center of the crowd's attention, like my only role should be to provide shelter from the sheets of wind flapping against the family. It felt scandalous to watch. Voyeuristic.

What an earthy, gritty thing is death. Our hearts believe eternity, choirs, angels, and glory. Our senses witness soil, stone, salt, and November's vitriolic winds.

May your dying teach us even more than your living did.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

autumn in an acorn shell

A collage of my time in Germany, featuring Steffi (in the grey) Laura, (the blonde), Angela (below) Oktoberfest (blech), and at the end, my dear Ottawa cousins with whom we spent Thanksgiving. Oh, and the mosaic is one that I made, under Steffi's careful direction! Enjoy.