08 April 2009

Lenten Journal: Hello, Old Friends - Goodbye, Old Friend

So, color me "fail" as a blogger this week. Not "Epic Fail," necessarily, but certainly "Medium Fail."

Due to an oncoming winter storm, we left Chicago at 9:00 PM Saturday night, arriving in Ames at 3:30 AM and me totally ready for bed. I slept until 9:00 AM, then promptly fell asleep during morning prayers downstairs in the recliner. On a funny note, I did manage to continue holding my cup of coffee after I fell asleep - and didn't spill a drop when one of our students woke me up when she called to ask if we were still having worship in spite of the six inches of snow that was falling rapidly. Anyway, other than somehow getting through worship Sunday was pretty much a wash for me - I spent most of the day trying to regain consciousness and failing miserably.

Monday - what did we do Monday? I forget, but I know I spent some time in the office catching up post-retreat, and I spent a lot of time with the girls. Tuesday we left for Minnesota and today's funeral, the reason for our trip. I, of course, managed to forget the charger for my MacBook, and so was unable to take advantage of time in the van to put together power points for Triduum services. Also, I couldn't blog, as Mac was at about 1% power when we left and I didn't want to chance running the battery completely dry.

So, here I am tonight, with a new power cord (a planned purchase that I just moved up a week) and blogging, finally. It's good to be back.

We rolled into Alexandria just in time for me to vest and join about twenty of my old colleagues for Eric's funeral procession. I must admit it was absolutely wonderful to see all those faces light up when we walked into the room; apparently the love I felt for these old friends is definitely reciprocated. We had a number of short conversations with some of these folks, lots of hugs, and even some tears since, unfortunately, we had come together to say goodbye to Pastor Eric Erickson, our friend and colleague.

About Eric: if I am remembered half as fondly by family friends and professional colleagues as Eric was, I will have lived a truly wonderful life. This funeral was sorrowful, of course, but it was also a joyous celebration of Eric's love for his family, his faith, his marvelous intelligence and his zealous pursuit of abundant living. Not abundance, mind you - abundant living, wherein one lives every day to the fullest extent possible. I'm going to post a few quotes later in the week to give you a sense of who this man was and what made his passing such a loss for the church and his family. He was a good friend and an extraordinary colleague; I'll miss him more than I realized.

Even with our sorrow at Eric's passing, and our joy at being with old friends, there were some regrets for us as well. We didn't go back to Barrett on this trip, for two reasons. First, it's Holy Week, and I need to get back to Ames right away tomorrow to prepare and carry out our Triduum celebrations. Second, it's still too soon, as much as we miss our good friends there. We heard a rumor that a new pastor has been called this week, and that's wonderful news. The best way for us to ruin that great new step for our old church would be to come traipsing back into town before a new pastor has even gotten her/his feet wet in the church. It sucks, because we miss our friends, but that's the life to which we're called as a clergy family. Someday, we'll go back, and it will be wonderful to see the town, to say hello to friends and remember the good years we had there; but that day isn't here just yet.

This life we live is full of greetings and goodbyes. We might never again see some of the folks we so hurriedly embraced today. But in Christ we are assured that all goodbyes will be overcome by one great final greeting - and we celebrate another step toward that final greeting this Sunday. I, for one, can hardly wait.

Grace & peace,


  1. Thanks for sharing about Eric's funeral. I worked at First in Alexandria for four years and at Luther Crest for four summers as well. So I spent many a meeting, youth gathering, and lock-in with Eric.

    Thanks to Eric, I know the exact minute that I was ordained ... who else would keep record of that?

    Thanks again Scott. Sara

  2. Sarah - I didn't know you knew Eric. You're absolutely right about the memory; that's such an Eric thing to do. It was a lovely funeral, as much as such a statement can be true. Thanks for commenting.