Yesterday, someone I’d never met, died. Of course, yesterday, hundreds, thousands and more, died as yet by me un-met. If death is a tragedy that magnifies the event, not reduces it. And yet, I grieve for the one, the partner and life-love of another. The link, a friendship forged by a few brief meetings, usually at Dragonmeet, perhaps only ever at that one-day RPG Con, and through that silver strand that is the Internet, the daily marvel of our lives.
I’ve rarely met Sarah, and never knowingly met Chris, but the common love of RPGs, and the community around them is spider-web strong: deceptively pliant, gossamer strands that deform to touch, pull back, and hold form far more than anyone has a right to expect of such delicacy. Not for nothing do we talk of friendship networks, or webs.
Over the last days I have followed the journey of Sarah and Chris through words alone, words simple and complex, mundane and lovingly, fearfully, crafted. And I have used words in response, words on the Web and words in prayer, beseeching the Divine for healing, consolation and safe passage; fully aware of where the passage might go, through illness to health, or through illness to whatever lies beyond the mortal, material and perceptible.
As Chaplain to the Tribe, a role both self-styled and communally-accepted (for which bishop would have the right to charge me, or anyone, with such?) I carry, where I can, the sorrows and joys of this disparate, lovely, bunch of which I’m proud to be a member. Promises of prayer (as much the arrows fired into the notional heavens, as the beautiful or considered; emotions as much as words), words of hope and encouragement, these are my trade, after the example of Jesus Christ, unique, redeeming, Son of God. Balancing, as those tools of myth to understand reality, Greg Stafford’s Gloranthan runes, the Harmony of the community with the demands of Truth, offering hope as much in holy ambiguity as direct word. What good the care, both human and divine, if the words are barriers, not bridges? What good the truth, believed absolute, not relative, if veiled? These are the questions I ever ponder; when to speak, when to keep silent, when to use prose, and when poetry.
However expressed, clarity or allusion, Chris, the Brown Dirt Cowboy, no longer resides entirely here. The material, stuff of Earth, remains, gravity-bound. His soul, spirit, mind, self, kicks instead the dust of stars, the infinite beyond, through Heaven’s door. I can only (only?) commend him to the love, mercy and care of God. Words, and nascent tears, “water for the dead” as Frank Herbert so memorably put it, prayer-accompanied, are all I can offer Sarah, the Tribe, and those beyond, and so I will continue to do.
“Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit,” and his, and ours. For life now, and life beyond; love, peace, mercy, be with us all.