Saturday, January 28, 2017

Memories XI: One year on

It's been a year since we said goodbye to our dear child Eli/Miriam for the last time. A year since his struggles against the pain of mental illness finally became too much.  A year in which we have wept and shouted and lamented - and also a year in which we have tried to carry on as much of Eli's legacy as we can (see for details of the speaker series which is one way we've been doing that).

Today though I just want to remember some of the ways in which this extraordinary young person touched other people's lives and hearts.  A life which was not long - which was all too short - nonetheless went very deep. Eli (or Miriam) seemed like an adult from their early teens. (And yes, he would have had plenty to say about powerful men who act like children at the age of 70.)

There was the Renaissance Faire (see above) where Eli helped everyone have a good time and taught everything from sewing to swordplay.  There was the writing and poetry and music - sometimes dark, always thought provoking and crafted with skillful allusion.  There were the extraordinary role-playing games that seemed to appear out of nowhere, taking over our house with a dozen people enjoying themselves following instructions on a spreadsheet that Eli had created.  There were the personal commitments to others: even in his own darkness, Eli worked indefatigably to help friends make good decisions and live a more fulfilled life.  There was the scintillating wit, which could always bring a smile even as he sometimes used it to hide his own pain.  There was...but I don't think I can go on.

I don't want to make out that our child was some kind of perfect saint. Of course not, and it would dishonor his memory to pretend that. And there were depths that I probably never saw.  I do believe though that this prayer which Eli used for Receiving with Thanksgiving represents his deep desire.  I hope I can make it my prayer too.
I am your servant, God. When there is chaos around me, help me stay centered. When those around me argue and fight, let me be your peacemaker. Show me and help me remember what’s truly important. Help me keep an open mind. Help me soothe the anger of others. Help me resolve the conflicts in my life, so that I may find peace. Stay with me God. Enter into the hearts of all those with whom I cannot find common ground. Fill their hearts and fill mine. I am your servant, God.
 Rest in peace and rise in power, dear child. We will never stop loving you.


D said...

My heart is with you.

Katherine Allen said...

Amen, John. Thanks for posting and sharing Eli's prayer. Quite a legacy. Katherine

Jennifer Gorman said...

Mr. Roe, I need to tell you that Eli,Miriam's story came to me after their death through Ben, he was my own son's beloved youth pastor before he worked at Penn State, and it was soon after my own son's coming out, and a couple of years after my daughter had come out first, but the story not only broke my heart, but it has stayed with me, and in doing so has been a kind of bright coloured post-it note stuck on the wall of my heart,a reminder to take time with people, with the people I already love and those who I will try to, time to listen and time to learn.

Russ Pierson said...

Heart-breaking yet hopeful, and above all else, a lovely testament to your child, John.

Peace and grace to you.