Those were the last words of the last message
You left on my voicemail.
We were making plans for lunch
And what a lunch.
Syrian food from Mary’s
Dairy Queen to top it off
You were so happy.
And so was I
You shared so many stories
Of Wainwright and the WCC
Of being an ant among giants
With you I was the ant
And you were the giant.
But most of the time, we were just friends.
We met long ago, a lifetime ago.
You the traveling dean and lecturer, yearning to retire
Me the seminarian, your unlikely chauffeur from Meadville to airport.
You were so gracious. You were so patient.
I was so protestant.
When we next met it was thanks to your friends and neighbors.
You needed help with your computer.
There I was a giant and you the ant.
That’s nice how that works
And the monastery liturgies.
You, sitting in the nave.
Me, nervous beyond words.
We got through it. And it became commonplace.
Then we would sit together, after services.
And talk. About whatever.
The last time we spoke was of +Evlogy. That was Jan 1.
Then you disappeared. You got sick.
And I prayed. And I tried to reach out.
But the walls were too high.
Then it was the end. Unction.
I prayed with giants. I was an ant.
But I prayed too.
When I came to you you said
“Thank you for being my friend”
I remember your voice.
That look in your eyes
They will never leave my heart.
The next day I sat with you
as you began your transition.
And then you were gone, Holy Cross Wednesday.
I got to vest you.
At your funeral,
I got to stand at the altar aside the priest
Who chrismated me all those years ago
And hundreds or so of your closest friends
Where we served together from time to time
Where I still hear your voice, your lilting laugh
And I contemplate the profundity of many of your thoughts.
In the years that have passed
There are times when I am asked
What did I see in you?
To each I look, straight in the eye
With a mix of sincerity and defiance
He was my friend.
Looking forward, Fr. Tom.