Monday, November 19, 2007


They say it's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all, but this is only a half-truth. It is hard to imagine anyone who has never loved and surely we all lose eventually. The real truth about love is that it never dies. We just pass it on. Pericles said it best: the only thing we can leave behind on this earth is our place in the hearts of men. So sail on Lily Ring Best. Your love is secure in the hearts of all those who knew you.

Love is like faith, a consuming conviction that defies definition. Yet somehow both define our lives. It's hard to know whether we love because we believe or believe because we love. Surely both represent the triumph of hope over experience. At times like these, the agnostic or atheist among us have neither faith nor comfort - nor humility it seems. They are poor in spirit indeed who can not distinguish between the debits of religion and the credits of belief. Who among us with eyes or ears, who has walked through a crowd, believes that we are the top of the food chain?

Old Testament arrogance gave us dominion over all other creatures. The New Testament parsed the error by giving souls to men alone. Apparently the prophets and evangelists never owned cats or dogs. Yet the failings of religion do not justify cynicism. Life and our beliefs are not dogma; they are works in progress - a road to enlightenment as Eastern believers might say. Even an atheist gets buried face up; sure proof that God has a sense of humor.

So look down now, Sir, on your perfect flower, this Lily who knew nothing is necessary while all things are possible. She is bound for port now with a following wind. Never was a girl better named. Nor has any woman plotted a better course. Faithful wife and dutiful mother, she had the pitch perfect heart, dedicating the better part of her life to others: Roland Charles, Arthur, Judy and Rollie. We thank Lily especially for Judy. She has inherited that pitch perfect heart, dedicating her life to the comfort of others. As for Arthur and Rollie please remember them also as, well, how shall we say, works in progress.

Twenty five hundred years ago Pericles tried to comfort the mothers of Athens who had lost sons in war. Closer to our time Lincoln used those same ancient words to comfort mothers at Gettysburg. He called their sacrifice "the last full measure of devotion." Could we say less about the sacrifice of mothers? The capstone for a noble life is death. So it should be. We are all required to become One. Lily waits for us. Amen.

No comments: