Benediction for Brian

It has been a month now since Ann’s son/our son, age 33 years, suffered cardiac arrest 48 hours after reparative surgery and a grueling 14 months of recovery from a serious accident in the line of paramedic duty.

At his memorial on December 12, I read the following benediction… It is both personal to Brian, and universal to our longing to know and be known. I offer it into a quiet moment in your holiday/holy days…

Perhaps we do not know the full measure of our lives because we cannot know it: it is a secret that our community holds for us. Each person who has loved us, befriended us, worked alongside us; every person we have loved, befriended, neighbored, worked with, bought groceries from, smiled at on the sidewalk—each one holds a tiny mirror in which the impact of our presence is reflected. No one sees the fullness, but we know it is there. We offer our broken bits of reflection to one another and so doing create a mosaic of tiny, bright lights—

  • Lights like rippling sun on water,
  • Lights like an ambulance in the rain,
  • Lights like candles in the window,
  • Lights like stars in the night sky… now, one more.

But the mosaic comes together only at the end; only then do we see how each shard fits the pattern. How each jagged or smooth edge contributes to the whole design that was our life, our purpose, our meaning, our loveliness. Ahhh, what elusive desire to understand we have carried through the decades. Sometimes this longing to know who we are shows up as a musing that soars on the updraft while we hike the high ridges; sometimes it grabs the gut in secret midnight desperation. And now… now it comes? Accompanying the final beat of the deep red muscle of life, floating out of our lungs on the last molecule of air… Finally, we see who we really are. Finally, we see who we have always been.

We have gathered here today to hold our pieces of mirror up for Brian, to offer our reflections that his soul may receive his fullness. This is our benediction.


Sail on, Brian, into the realms of wonder, knowing fully who you are.

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