Friday, August 21, 2015

requiescat in pace

Jim Johnson was my classmate at Virginia Seminary (class of 1975). We were ordained deacons together at Trinity, Huntington, WV. I was at his ordination to the priesthood and he was at mine. We served together in West Virginia for 5 years, until I went to New England.

I exchanged emails with him on August 6 and 7 of this year about the 40th Anniversary of our graduating from VTS. He's been the class steward all these years, the one who kept the class informed about stuff from 'the Holy Hill' in Alexandria. He was urging me to be at the 40th Anniversary celebration which coincides with the dedication of VTS's new chapel (the other having burned down 4 or 5 years ago). In fact, I told him, I'd be in Washington DC during that time in October, helping to lead a Making a Difference Workshop, but wouldn't be able to cross the Potomac to be in Alexandria.

I told him about my children and grandchildren. He sent me his phone number so we could catch up more.

And today I got an email from the seminary that he died suddenly and at home on August 8 and has already been buried.

It was eerie to know I must have been one of the last people he communicated with.

I wrote about Jim once. He always wore a black suit and clerical collar, even on airplanes, which is inviting crazy people to talk to you. He flew from LA to Chicago with a business man and had a long conversation with him. Landing at O'Hare, the man asked Jim, "what do you do?" Jim looked down at his black shirt and collar and said, "I'm an Episcopal Priest."

The man replied, "I know what you are, I just wondered what you do."

Interestingly enough, the Making a Difference Workshop is about 'who you are/be' rather than what you 'do'.

Jim, I'm sorry I didn't call on the 7th or since. Go not gently into that good night. Be well and stay well. Rest in Peace. I will miss you now.....

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About Me

some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.