on 7 August, the city of Missoula, MT lost one of its brightest lights and biggest hearts, a gifted writer and pianist, humorist and compassionist, advocates and paracletes, Jamie Kelly.
personally, i lost one of the closest friends i've ever had.
and in the midst of the grief and sadness, loss and love, i was given the honour and privilege of co-officating Jamie's memorial service on 15 August at my former church, First Presbyterian Church of Missoula.
Make It Missoula has very graciously posted my memorial reflection for my friend, titled in honour of the regular column he wrote for the Missoulian newspaper for many years, 'Fatuous Twaddle'.
i've used a lot of space on this blog to
talk about my journey with my eldest son, Ian.
i've chosen to do this in part because the
journey is a unique one on several levels, particularly given the fact that Ian
has autism. And that has impacted not only his life, but my family's life and
my personal life in profound and life-changing ways. (So much so that i am in
the process of gradually writing a book on my journey with him over the
years...hence, a lot of blogs pertaining to said journey.)
But i have two sons, both of whom i am
incredibly proud, both of whom i love with my entire being.
And while at times he may get the 'shorter
end of the stick' in regards to attention and exposure via this blog, Trevor
Christian Marsh (or Trev...or T-Bone...or T...or Fwebbuh...or as he once
instructed us to call him when he was about 5 years old, 'Fred') is his own
unique, amazing, curious, creative, paradoxically and preternaturally sensitive
and insightful young man.
began early in the morning, ascending the Mount of Olives.
ended late in the evening, descending to the Western 'Wailing' Wall.
between, there were many steps and stories, silences and
shouts, sights and sighs...we experienced beauty and busyness,
contemplation and commerce, sanctity and sacrilegiousness, temptations and
trials, glory and gluttony, tears and tumultuousness, awe and
agony, love and lamentation...we were curious and cautious, fascinated and
flustered, amazed and appalled, illuminated and unnerved, underfed and overwhelmed,
enraptured and exhausted.
He didn’t like to do ‘drawerings’. But he did learn to catch
fish. Enough to start his own business and become a pillar of the community.
Out in his docked boat one day on the shore of the Sea of
Galilee, in Capernaum, he heard someone shout out his name. It wasn’t a voice
he had heard in his neighborhood. But it came from a person he and his
neighborhood had certainly heard about. The stories were astounding. The
rumours spread like wildfire. The mysterious man from Nazareth had done and
said things so shocking and amazing, people all over the region were fishing
for the right words to describe him.
And there he stood on the rocky shoreline, yelling out to
him something indecipherable. Something about following him somewhere.
Something about catching something much more interesting than fish.
The man named Jesus. Not named by his mama, but supposedly
Simon had a family. A home just a stone’s throw from the
synagogue and the center of town. A successful business that provided for his
loved ones and others. A settled and satisfying life.
And a stranger invites him to drop his life as he knew it
like the nets in his hands. And follow him.
And he does.
Granted, as Simon and the ragtag bunch that also decided to
heed the stranger’s call began journeying from town to town, they always
somehow made their way back to Capernaum. Back to their families and homes.
Back to where things were familiar. Back to where they took their first breaths
of life and received their names.
But the call was always away from what was old and familiar,
and towards what was new and unexpected.
my colleague and friend (and former Moderator of the Presbyterian Church USA), Bruce Reyes-Chow, recently asked this question on his blogsite: 'Why do you choose to stay in the Presbyterian Church (USA)?'