A friend of mine died a week ago today and I attended his memorial service on Monday. Bob was closer to my gran's age than to mine, but it wasn't until the last couple of years that I noticed he had gotten older. The death of his wife Mollie and a stroke took their toll on him.
I think I overlooked the passing of time because Bob's outlook was always creative and fresh. He didn't exhibit the rigid habits of mind that so many older people — and some younger people — seem to have. He was always ready to learn, to teach, to discuss, to argue, and to re-examine in the light of experience and Scripture. I think that is a great model of humility. Bob would just have called it being a disciple — a learner.
I will miss swapping e-mails with him and going down to Kingston for visits. Bob and Mollie always showed me great generosity of time, space and spirit. (I think the strongest reply Bob ever gave to one of my less-than-thought-out pearls was a quiet, "Extraordinary.") I wish I were more like him.
The great thing about attending the funeral of a disciple like Bob is the atmosphere of unfeigned hope and thanksgiving that hovers over the congregation. A few people had tears in their eyes, but the tears often went with laughter over some story of Bob's.
I don't have a photo to go with this post. Instead, the creation account in Genesis 1 explodes against a background that is "formless and void." It helps me to remember that creative people like Bob come from, and return to, the God who creates and who makes all things new.