today and every day, I remember…

a personal reflection for All Souls’ Day,[1] November 2, 2017

cemetery - church

For all the saints who from their labors rest,

Who Thee by faith before the world confessed,

Thy name, O Jesus, be forever blest,

Alleluia! Alleluia![2]

Today and every day, I remember with gratitude, O God, alway to You…

my mother Lolita and my father William through whose loving union You granted unto me the gracious gift of life in this world…

my mother through whose unassailable forbearance, You granted unto me the inestimable gift of the revelation of unflagging faith come what may, come whene’er, come howe’er…

my father through whose fiery temperament and his paradoxically simultaneous acknowledgement and disregard for the odds against him, You granted unto me the discomfiting gift of an abiding intestinal impatience with injustice…

my brother Wayne through whose abundant compassion for all in travail, especially the disenfranchised, the least and the last, and his indomitable courage in the face of his own tribulation unto his dying day, You granted unto me the splendid gift of the vision of the noblest humanity of Your Son Jesus.

Almighty God, with whom still live the spirits of those who die in the Lord, and with whom the souls of the faithful are in joy and felicity: (I) give you heartfelt thanks for the good examples of all your servants, (especially, on this day, my parents and my brother) who, having finished their course in faith, now find rest and refreshment. May (I), with (them and) all who have died in the faith of your holy Name, have perfect fulfillment and bliss in your eternal and everlasting glory; through Jesus Christ (my) Lord. Amen.[3]

 

Footnotes:

[1] All Souls’ Day, also known as the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed, following All Saints’ Day (November 1), since the 11th century, has been a part of the Western Christian calendar of observances.

[2] Words by William Walsham How (1823-1897)

[3] The Book of Common Prayer, page 503 (my emendations)

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my tribute

a eulogy during the Requiem Eucharist for Timothy MacBeth Veney at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Capitol Hill, Washington, DC, on Friday, July 29, 2016

PMA B'day, Rose's Luxury, DC, 1-23-15

I don’t know precisely when Loretta and Tim, Pontheolla and I bonded as two pairs, a quartet of kindred souls; most truly, a quintet. For there ever abided amongst us an element, a spirit of love, evident even and especially when we, on occasion, as humans always do, disagreed with one another, disliked something said or done or not said or done.

But when did it happen? When did we know that we were “frienilies”, friends who had become and ever would remain family?

Surely, not at once. Though it was close.

And surely not all that long ago. Spring 2006 when we met. Yet that seems a lifetime past, given all the life the four of us lived…

Gathering nearly every holiday. Christmas. New Year. Birthdays. Loretta and Pontheolla in January. Tim in May. Me in June. Easter Day. Memorial Day. Labor Day. Pick a day…any day. To dine. To drink. To play Scrabble. To build with LEGOS. Most of all, to feast; our souls satiated again and again, but never able to partake enough of our rarest, divinest fellowship, which continued, carried over onto momentous road/round trips to (among many places)…

Heading to mainland, MV, August 2010

Martha’s Vineyard to which we rode the ferry, taking in the luscious coastline scenery, refreshed by the sea’s chill breeze, where we ventured all over the island once, and then again and again, feasting on our friendship, feting our fellowship from one end of the island to the other. I don’t know about Tim and Loretta and Pontheolla, but I believe that trip was when I knew with certainty that we were bound for this life and the next. For we shared a house. And there was, is nothing for me quite like waking up day after day to see and day in and day out to be with Tim and Loretta that let me know we were, we are family…

Then Maui, where we sailed zip-lining out of our sanity-leavin’-ever-lovin’-minds toward the horizon…

012

where we searched wholly (as in completely, seemingly) crazily for sweatshirts in Hawai’i to venture to the heights of Haleakalā to observe the sunrise, then to bicycle on a mad run from The House of Sun 10,000+ feet later to the mountain’s blessed bottom…

where we drove the circuitous, serpentine Road to Hana, then returned via Maui’s east and south road less traveled where NASA held training missions for astronauts because the landscape looked like the moon, and where Tim, always at the wheel, drove through a gully, the road pitched at a 40° angle over 60 miles an hour with a G-force of God knows what, expressing his unabashed delight, releasing the wheel and yelling “Whee!” and terrifying me!

Tim & me

Now, Tim was, is my brother. And I was, am his. Forever. Brothers of different fathers and mothers, bound together by love. Not love as feeling, as emotion that really is more about liking each other; though we did. But rather love as the unbounded hospitality of unconditional benevolence; active kindness that wills to be and do the best for the other; irrespective of the way that other sometimes can be and can behave. For Tim embodied a quintessential and ever-joyful equanimity. I, on quite the other hand, lived and live on the extremes; sometimes, at my best, sometimes, at my worst with very little in between (the sweet and bitter fruit of my Gemini-esque nature). Yet no matter. Tim e’er embraced, ne’er abandoned me; though from time to time, when at my worst, he’d say, “I’ll wait ‘til you come back.” Then he’d pause and to make sure I understood his point, he’d add, “Let me know!”

Tim

And I can’t recall when I first called Tim “Mr. Timothy.” I have a habit of renaming people. It’s a biblical-thing. Whene’er in the Bible God (and by no means do I presume to assume that divine station!) renames someone it is the unmistakable mark of a new relationship. Same for me. One day, quite spontaneously, I called Tim, “Mr. Timothy,” clearly claiming him, covenanting with him in a relationship that was, is invulnerable to the passage of time, invincible to the absence of distance, unassailable by the changes and chances of this life, unconquerable by death…

Timothy, I love you eternally, requiescat in pace.