Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Today I will conduct the funeral service for one of our elderly members. Doug was 83 and in declining health for the past couple of years. Each time he went into hospital he came out a little more frail, a little more confused, and honestly none of us including his loving family wanted him to have to endure any more.
But these twilight years were not the sum of his life. Doug and his wife, Billie, have been the proverbial pillars of our congregation. Doug made a point of welcoming newcomers and learning their names. Together they have been tremendously generous to those who are in need and supportive of the vulnerable as they lived out their Christian faith. More than any other person Doug has asked me about the work my wife Ruth does as a crisis counsellor in a women's shelter. The two of them have been incredibly modest about their kindness, an indication that it came from the heart.
Of course Doug was a character with a quick wit which was often pointed at me. A month before his death he was the critical care unit of the hospital. I found him there connected to the monitors and with his eyes closed. I commented that this was the third different room in three visits, was he trying to avoid me. His eyes opened, and with the sliver of a grin he asked "could you blame me?"
He will be missed. I will miss him.