Dunedin, New Zealand, my city - my people

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Nice farewells

I have been using my convalescing time to clean out desk draws with years of "stuff" that has been put in them. I thought I would share with you a couple of finds with the common theme of "farewell".
A farewell upon death...
Years ago somebody handed me an order of service from a funeral they had attended and I liked and copied this farewell poem. I had shoved my scribbled copy in a drawer and discovered it while doing my clean up..

Dear friends I go, but do not weep
I’ve lived my life so full, so deep,
Throughout my life, I gave my best,
I earned my keep, I’ve earned my rest
I never tried to be great or grand
I tried to be a helping hand
If I helped in a team, if I helped on my own,
I was more than repaid, by the friends I’ve known.
And if I went the extra mile, I did it with pleasure,
it was all worthwhile.
If I brightened your path, then let it be
a small contribution
from my loved ones and me.
But mostly I cherished the family I know,
in a bond never ending, so precious, so true.
Now sadly I leave you and travel alone,
Through the mystic veil, to the great unknown
with such beautiful memories that forever will be
The way that I hope you’ll remember me.

I hope it will be awhile before this is used on my funeral order of service... though with the "post-operation-washed-out" feeling added to by a heavy cold/flu type thing, I admit to feeling like death warmed up lately. :-)

Classmates' farewell from 20 years ago.
In 1994 thinking I would get out of Church ministry, I went half time at the Church and did a Community and Social Work course at the local Polytech. The course involved a lot of group work and discussion so we really got to know one another. There were three men and around eighteen women in the class, and the women were avid feminists, (often with a men hating element,) hard living with a wide range of ages. At the end of the year in a final session we were given bits of paper and were told to write messages to each other as a parting gesture. When I got home I threw these in the bottom drawer and have only looked at them a couple of times in the years since. In my clean up I discovered them and read them with a smile on my face. I share a few excerpts from some of the comments...
  • "David.. your quiet caring and supportive attitude has really been appreciated.... I hope that you will miss us as much as I will miss your company. xxx "
  • "You're a neat guy and I am proud to know you."
  • "The greatest compliment I could give a man is that I respect you. You're great..... Luv ya. xxx"
  • "David you're a very special person. Love that wicked sense of humour."
  • "Wonderful person - hard case - helpful.."
  • "You wee cuddly teddy bear! Thanks for the cuddles and hugs. xxx"
  • "David, what can I say! You've been a great friend and support through the year. I enjoy your sense of humour (even when you're stirring) I appreciate your honesty, putting yourself out there within a group of sometimes bolshy women."
  • "David, You are one of the most sensitive, caring (and cuddly) men I have ever known..."
  • "David - my love - I only annoy you because I like you. I enjoy your cuddles, your laughter and your compassion. Thanks for the rides home. .... thank you David." xxx
These are just some lines from a few. I have thrown them out now, but they evoked memories of a very good year for me. I started as chaplain to the fire stations that year. With course work, ministry responsibilities and chaplaincy it was an extremely busy year. But I grew heaps during the year, not because the course taught me a whole lot that was new, but because of these friendships. They were very different people than I was, and at the beginning anti-me because I was (1) a male and (2) a Church minister. Many had been hurt by men and by religion. But I found during the year that they were so affirming and accepting and I sort of soaked up their affirmation. It was like I had been starved of such positive feedback, and when it came I grew in confidence as a person during that year. I remember contrasting it with my weekend experiences of the Church where often I was confronted by a lot of stern looking faces ready to find fault and certainly no hugs!

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