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Sunday, August 21, 2005


Endings 

One of the oddest sensations in the whole world is striking a set. You can't know this unless you've been involved in theatre or film. You live, breathe, work, play, romance, feud, cry, and sleep on that set. You also act. But when it is over, you strike. You tear down the house you lived in. You divorce your wife. You abandon your children. You burn your bridges and you tell your friends to go to hell. You also act.

You may call me crazy, but there are some folks I'm going to miss now that they're gone. Dead, really. The characters of the HBO series, "Six Feet Under". I liked these guys. Ok, some of them I hated, but at one point or another, I liked them. Believe it or not, I think I learned from this show. Tonight, it was over. I wept at some of the more touching moments and at some of the silly ones. I groaned over the few cliches. And I'm going to miss them. Isn't that odd? It's a TV show!

Most will tell you it was a TV show about death and dealing with death. I'm going to pull my own cliche here and say it was a show about life and dealing with life, of which death was a part.

This morning, at St. Luke's, I helped a family ritualistically say goodbye to their Mom and Dad. I helped them inter the ashes of their parents into the ground. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. They thanked Jeannette after the short committal service. Then, one of the sisters surprised me by turning and thanking me. Really, all I did was hold the BCP for Jeannette. But, this woman thanked me for being there because I looked like her son. Isn't that odd? This was an ending for them.

In a strange turn of events, I was brought back into touch with a friend I have not seen in six years. Kirsten and I were very close friends through middle school and high school. We used to have long talks about all kinds of stuff - most notably religion (she was Jewish, I was Christian, and neither of us backed down - you can imagine how interesting that was). We used to sit for hours on my backyard swingset debating and discussing. After high school we lost touch. She went to Michigan, I to Wake. My mother's hairdresser's daughter is one of Kirsten's close friends, so periodically, Mom would tell me updates about Kirsten via Laura, the hairdresser. Thus it was that I learned Kirsten had gone off to live in Israel, to study theology. This was not surprising to me really - she was always into it. It did surprise me to learn that she had become rather conservative (lower case "c", not "C" in the Judaic denomination sense). It also surprised me when she called me two days ago, to tell me that she as going to be in Chicago and that we should visit. We arranged for Sunday afternoon. I was informed by her that though I may want to give my old friend whom I've not seen in six years a hug, it was not permitted. A modesty thing, apparently. I can respect that, even if I think it's a bit much. So it was that she knocked on my door this afternoon. There she stood, looking a bit older, but still the same old vibrant, full of life, Kirsten that I remember (only clad in Orthodox skirts and long sleeves). We talked for a few hours, catching up on old times. As we were talking about all these old people I heard myself telling her about Andrew, and how he had died in that car accident almost four years ago. She didn't know. I felt very strange telling someone that who had not known - it was weird. Almost uncomfortably so. And here I am, the guy who spent last summer telling people their friends or family had died. The moment passed, but not without me taking note of it. In any event, here we are:

I spoke to another friend of mine's wife briefly this afternoon. He has been shipped out to Kuwait, so our prayers are going with Head. Come back safe, man.

Strange endings today - I spoke in my sermon this past week about the night Andrew died as the night I lost my immortality. I think my childhood is also in my past, and has been for some time, but it's taking me a long time to realize it. I may be an old man before I do.

-R

2 Comments:

I'm so glad you connected with Kirsten-I will tell Laura. Janelle's baby boy is really cute. Now about your childhood...remember the pirates!!! Love you, Mom

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:10 PM  


It seems that Kirsten went one way while I went the other..

By Anonymous Lacy, at 8:33 AM  


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