"let your boat of life be light, packed with only
what you need - a homely home and simple pleasures, someone to love and someone to love you,
enough to eat and enough to wear
and a little more than enough to drink:
for thirst is a dangerous thing"

Sunday, 18 August 2013

i went to a funeral this morning

It was awesome.  A funeral awesome? It was the funeral of a former teacher, who although I thoroughly enjoyed his history classes in Standard 9, I did not really know him more than that (although he did write a beautiful message in his wonderful handwriting on my valedictory programme).   I re-connected with him through the Kotze family who have a long Methodist history with his family.  In later years I saw him on a Sunday when we took Michael's mom to church.  He was always so pleased to see her and was always there to give her a kiss and a hug. He was also very good with visiting her from time to time and just generally making a fuss of her.  A gentle, compassionate man.

He gave a short speech at Helen's funeral in February and he was Amy's class teacher earlier this year before he took ill.  She just loved him and said that he was the "best ever teacher". Her class was the last class that he taught.

Coming out his funeral today, I was filled with a strange feeling of regret and inadequacy. Regret that I did not know this man better and total inadequacy as to how much this man fitted into his life and how small my life seemed in comparison.  There were many stories and it came through so strongly about how well he listened to people, helped people, soaked up knowledge on all subjects and shared this knowledge.  How he loved writing, loved words and poetry, teaching, literature and nature and shared himself with family, friends and pupils.

The minister who delivered the main sermon and eulogy was a close friend.  His love for the man, the stories he told and the spirituality they shared shone through this sermon.  His son spoke with love and admiration and his daughter was brave enough to sing.  He had said that he did not fear death but that he did not want to die because "life was beautiful and he still had so much to do".

There were lovely hymns which the congregation sang with gusto and the a cappella rendition of The Lords Prayer was so heartfelt.  It must be my most moving moment in a church, ever.

I left there alone, without stopping for tea.  There were people I knew and who I could have chatted to.  I could have been more friendly and spoken to them about the "old school days" but I did not want to even although I would loved to have taken a closer look at photographs and letters in the church hall and learned more about this teacher of "mine".  But, I still felt that I did not really deserve to be there and that he was not "my teacher".  If, at 16 years old, I had been a more responsive student, I too could have learned so much more from him. He was there to give, I was the loser.

"Love is the law of life.  We live that we may learn to love.  We love that
we may learn to live.  No other lesson is required of us."

Book of Mirdad - Naimy

via Pinterest

1 comment:

  1. So beautifully written Jenny, it clearly came from the heart. I would love to share your last lines with some of my students, but I doubt they would listen!