Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Earlier this week I took a walk with my little point and shoot to document my neighborhood for a friend. This is my house, this is my street, this is my church, this is my office, I said. And I loved the sound of each camera snap.
So that this, yes, is my church, my own St. John's, and this is where, earlier today, we came together to remember the life of Mike Ruhl, a man described by all who knew him (and by those conducting the service) as extraordinarily good. Good being a big word. Good being the biggest word. Good being how we think of those who actively listen and overtly care, those who want the right things and work on their behalf, those who love their families, those who leave us with grace, those who purify us by their presence. Mike Ruhl was all those things, and by his wife and son, by his sister and mother, niece and nephews, by his co-workers, by his friends, he will be forever missed. His spirit is still out there, on this blue-sky day. But oh, he will be missed.
After the service, those who had joined together—seamlessly, under the leadership of a compassionate minister and with the guidance of Lisa, Mike's wife—stood on the church lawn and in the parking lot. I stood too, and took it in. I thought of all the easy rancor in the world, the shots fired, the punches thrown, the lines that get crossed. I thought of those who confuse cruelty with wit, those who seize upon someone or something with one objective only—to trump, for a nano-instant, to gain nattering fame at another's expense. I thought of politics, and what it does to us. Anonymous comments. Spiced Twitter feeds. Failed apologies.
But there is, in goodness, beauty. There is, in kindness, intelligence. There are people like Mike Ruhl who crowd a church on a blue-sky day to be celebrated, to be remembered, to instruct us.
I turn my eyes in that direction.