Tuesday, May 16, 2006
boundaries, freedom and a funeral
Tonight I went to a funeral.
Or let's be honest: the tail end of a funeral. For a man I've spoken with a few times, who was wise and energetic and kind and brilliant, a man of renown and honor. I'd never attended an Orthodox funeral, and I can't say I've attended much of one now, arriving as late as I did.
I wasn't late because I was unaware of when it started. I left work fifteen minutes before it began. I came home. Had 2 1/2 slices of toast, an orange, a pickle, checked my email. I needed groceries (I still do), yet the fact of the funeral sat with me. It would be right to go, even late. I'm late to everything anyway.
And so I went.
My interaction with the world of seminary has always confused me. If the discussion is my work, I have no uncertainty. But when the question asked is what larger role it plays, or I play in it, I lose perspective. I gaze elsewhere, feel both confined and distanced. I have been looking further away lately. The events and happenings of the school seem remote: things that happen on a wooden stage, dramas that draw no blood or tears.
I think, perhaps wrongly, this isn't my life.
But tonight I stepped outside of the invisible boundaries I've constructed and into a story of faith, of a particular life and vocation. A story not confined, but free. And his story is part of a larger story--a narrative, a cloud of witnesses--in which my life too plays a small part.
As I kissed the body of Dr Pelikan I asked his prayers for us. Boundaries mean little to those who are free.
For now, perhaps, this is my life.