Tuesday, July 14, 2015

# 6,000- In Memory of Another Pilgrim

Normally I would simply note the passing of post # 6,000 in the history of this blog which started over 12 years ago. But in the last couple weeks a fellow-pilgrim, friend, and very special person came to the end of his pilgrimage.

So I dedicate this post, number 6,000 of pilgrim wanderings for my friend, Ron, a true and dedicated pilgrim throughout his life.

We met about 45 years ago in the midst of our shared objections to the Vietnam War and our desire to help those who wanted peace. We spent the next years in our common interests. He and his wife gave me a place to learn a bit about what it means to mature and become yourself. He was almost exactly 10 years older than I was and became a role model and older brother.

We shared a common desire to grow and wrestle with our Christianity and what it means in these days to be a Christ-follower. We knew that this included standing up for what is right, caring for those who were the least and the lost, asking hard questions of ourselves, the government, and the churches. We learned and challenged each other to keep the faith and trust in the God who is the Creator.

His living room sanctuary was where I came to know another pilgrim who was soon to become my wife. We all worked together for peace as being something more than anti-war. It was a way of being and accepting, even in our human imperfections, the ways of God as the way of life.

He is also the impetus that got me into the Moravian Church and on the path that I have followed for these past 40+ years. God puts the right people in the right place at the right time. I was a young college graduate who had no idea what it meant to find his way in the world. He was present at the creation of what I have become and with his wife and mine helped me discover me.

It seems like a cliche to say that he was one of those people who is the "salt of the earth." Yet, in all the ways Jesus meant that phrase, that describes Ron. He was a "blue-collar" person who was able to relate to people on a deep and intuitive level, regardless of their place or standing. This included the gay co-worker (in 1971!), the kids at the local youth center that I directed for the city, returning Vietnam veterans- or this seminarian trying to be real.

It is appropriate that he died on July 4th. He was patriotic, again in the very best sense of the word. He wanted this country to live up to its ideals in the midst of a time when those principles were being torn to shreds, we felt, by the government itself. It will also be easy for me to remember his "Saint's Day", the day his pilgrimage found its answers and the reunion with his wife and others who have gone before us.

Rest in Peace, my dear friend. Thanks!!

An old American folk song made famous by Dave van Ronk, Bob Dylan and others speaks of my feelings these past months since I learned of his terminal situation. While it isn't about Ron, it is about all those friends who walk into our lives and will not leave us unchanged.

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