Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A strangely gentle sadness

We’ve had sightings of mountain lions around the Ranch. A friend from St. A’s, who accepts me as an adopted daughter, made me promise not to hike alone. I know she loves me, and doesn’t want me to get eaten—I think we both knew I’d break that promise. I kept it for about a week. Yesterday, I took a fresh batch of flags to the peace pole. I left a prayer for Rob. It felt right; I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of it before. It is a quiet, calm, deeply peaceful, prayerful place. I held his memory, and my community, in my heart as I wrote on a strip of yellow fabric with a Sharpie, tied it to the pole among years’ worth of many people’s prayers, and watched it flutter in the wind.

I’d left a prayer there a week before, at the close of our parish weekend, out on a wander with these same friends. I remember bursting with thanksgiving for all the blessings of this summer at the Ranch, this community in the city, this sweet, sweet life.

I e-mailed a friend on Sunday, another member of the East Bay contingent. Knowing she wasn’t feeling well, I asked her for coffee when I get back to Berkeley. She told me she understood about family time.

That’s love. And this is us. Rob’s last gift to me is a real appreciation for this church. I’m redefining community, family, home. I think we’re all appreciating each other more. I’m realizing how deeply I belong here. These people who have loved me, encouraged me, laughed with me, and held me while I cried on them—have meant every bit of it. And I mean it right back. All last week, while living and working in a place so close to heaven, all I could think of was, “My family’s in San Francisco, and I want to be with them.”

Rob was always there, unless he wasn’t well enough. His presence was light, gentle, generous, and mischievous. He had an air of, “I know what you’re up to”—and we always knew he loved us. I will miss him in a thousand little ways. A bunch of us meet for coffee at Creighton’s before church; last week, I couldn’t steal his extra napkins. I couldn’t hear him make some little comment, barely above a whisper, that would leave the rest of us roaring.

We told stories on Sunday, in place of a sermon. We shared his memory among us. His presence was there with us—but I’m still not used to the idea that he will not be.

I know that Rob's okay now; I know he is surrounded by Love and limitlessness. I know it was his time. I know all the saints are dancing.

I still miss him. We, still miss him. And we will for a long time.


Mimi said...

My grandmother is now afraid of a mountain lion eating her on the short, populated walk to my parents' house. Rolls eyes.

Anyway, stay safe. I'm so glad that Sunday was healing for you.

And, I'll work on the meme!

Kirstin said...

Rolling eyes along with you...

Thank you, and I'm curious about your answers! I talk to other Episcopalians all the time.

eileen said...


Heading out to the prayer pole sounds like a healing thing to do - and glad you weren't eaten.

Kirstin said...


Me too! And yes, it was absolutely the most healing thing I could have done.

Thank you.