The Life of Fools

Dear You,
March has ended and today April begins with cries of “April Fools!” and assorted games of tomfoolery. It’s been a busy week for me. It started Monday during choir, when Doc entered and told the ensemble in quiet, grave tones, that our chaplain, Ms. Foster, “lost her battle.” and had died of cancer. There’s a shock that goes through the air when such news is relayed, and I, if you have never felt it, can’t fully describe it. So it was that our choir was commissioned to sing for her Memorial Service that coming Friday (March 30).
After choir I went about my day, remembering my own past experiences with death, and reflecting how life continues with neither pause nor recollection of people or days past. Though friends part ways, though grievers grieve for loved ones dead, life and laughter still go on. I thought, how glorious and how cruel it is that Life does not care what occurred on March 26, 2012 or October 21, 2008, or March 8, 2008.
The week went on in spite of grief; I went to classes, and music recitals, and campus life went on as usual. The world kept turning.
Friday came, and we, the Choir and Chamber Singers, met at Losekamp “steeling our selves,” in order to sing for the memorial of our RMC Chaplain, Born November 14 1972 – Died March 26, 2012.
Before the service, in preparation to sing “Hark I Hear The Harps Eternal” (Alice Parker) someone asked me what sort of emotion goes into memorials. I wasn’t sure what to say, this person had never been to memorials or funerals. But how could I explain the sentiment that dying is not the end of living but the beginning of a new life? For those who believe, as the chaplain had, in salvation through grace, and the promise heaven?
Describing that emotion is trying to describe the feeling of watching the sunset, or standing on top of a skyscraper; you have to have known it, experienced it yourself, in order to fully understand and appreciate what this ‘Faith in God’ is, and to understand why the chaplain believed and worked in that love.
We sang our song, as well as Ave Maria and then life continued. I saw the mourners; the family and friends, and I saw them contrasted with the uncertain looks of those who had no reason to grieve. Friday classes went on as they have all year, and scheduled events came and went.
Now today, Sunday, April 1, I sit and write down these thoughts at 8:45AM and I am reminded of a song from the Rankin/Bass version of The Return of The King which goes:
“Roads go ever, ever on to the land beyond the sea,
On a white ship will I sail, watching shadows part for me.
Leaving havens gray with rain, now that years have slipped away,
Leaving friends with gentle pain as they start another day.
The roads I travel I must leave for I’ve turned the final bend,
Weep not empty tears, but grieve as the road comes to an end.
It’s so easy not to try, let the world go drifting by
If you never say ‘Hello’ you won’t have to say ‘Goodbye’ “
I hope you don’t mind these letters like this, it’s just that writing is a way to reach you more certainly and more clearly. I can’t help but think, with the sting of death and pain of grief, how foolish it is to love and befriend the world.
But isn’t that the risk we take? Isn’t it better to be a fool and live loving others, than wise and live alone?
Just some things to think about,
Your Friend,



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