David Wood died; the community was stunned. David in so many ways was part of the fabric of who we are. People waited in line for over 2 hours at the funeral home, many had no words to express their loss, no words to express their love. Sacred Heart had people standing in rows at the back of the church because every seat was taken. People stood, in respect, for the hour and half service.
Arriving at the American Legion for the collation, people crowded rooms, overflowed the outside deck, and lined the seawall and shoreline around the inner harbor. If you went to the bar, you’d find there was ‘no charge’. Friends had donated thousands of dollars; the drinks were free. Women, who had spent hours preparing food, who had spent the morning setting up buffet tables with flowers, now were circulating food on plates, removing plates and silverware, constantly cleaning up as people mingled, taking peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to children who, under the cover of company, were trying to get away with eating chips and drinking sodas.
People catching up with their neighbors, were saying, “why haven’t we seen each other lately”. Old memories mixed with present realities – – the fabric of community was being rewoven. Children threw stones into the inner harbor as their parents called out cautionary warnings. A person remembered watching their parents, years ago, from across the inner harbor, stop for a drink at the American Legion after doing the weekly grocery shopping. As their Volkswagen left the parking lot, she yelled to her siblings, “Quick pick up, they’re coming!” Life in our small coastal community was reoccurring, repeating age old patterns.
Faith was everywhere. It was in the sacred words shared in a moment of reverence and disbelief that David was gone. Faith was expressed in donations, a giving without taking measure of cost. Faith was in the sharing of tender, hysterical stories, crying, embracing, kissing, and shaking hands.
The town’s business and busyness came to a halt. Homes were not being sold or built, streets were unswept and potholes unfilled. Children were not in school and an Assistant Principal was not handing out discipline. Business was not being conducted and normal activities were being despised, set aside as unimportant.
John Calvin defined true Christianity as “… a faith that is lively and full of vigor, so that it spares no labor, when assistance is given to one’s neighbor … all the pious employ themselves diligently in the offices of love … in the intent and the hope that they may be the reality of Christ, so they despise everything else.”
Standing outside the American Legion by the seawall, someone looking up at the clear blue sky, standing in the warmth of the sun said, “It’s a beautiful day.”