This morning I went to a Catholic funeral mass for a priest who inherited, and help grow an orphanage in Chicago. He died from cancer which he had for the past several years.
When he got the orphanage back in the early 70's the church was ready to shut it down for lack of direction, and growth. But since he took over the reins,
it has become a very important stop for thousands of troubled youths.
Anyway (I'm rambling here now),
The mass went on and I thought that it was going to be pretty boring, but several friends got up and told stories about this priests life,
and how much he relied on God to help direct him in this assignment so that the children would be the real winners.
One priest got up and told this story, (most people were quite teary-eyed afterwards): "Father Jim had cancer, and it was staring to develop very quickly, one day when I was visiting him the physical therapist was trying to encourage him to stand up and try walking. The pain must have been pretty bad because Fr. Jim was not in a good mood. When he saw me he lightened up, and I helped the PT try and get him to do a little walking. Well, he stood up and I held his arm and we walked down the hospital hallway . At the end of the hallway there was a big window looking down on the city, and as we came up to the window the sun was starting to set. By a great coincedence, we were facing in the direction of the orphanage and the sunlight was reflecting off of the many windows on the building. Fr. Jim looked at the view and commented "Isn't that just a beautiful view, the sun shining on the orphanage? I grabbed his hand , looked him in the eye and said, " It is just as wonderful inside because of all the work you have put into it". "One of his favorite sayings was There are only two things that we can give our children, one is roots and the other is wings. Today as we celebrate his life we thank him for helping us to root our sense of faith, heritage, and family and for giving us the wings to fly onward knowing that he will always be a part of us. When I heard that I was just stunned, after 25 + years as a jw I never heard anything so encouraging, and honest-hearted at one of their funeral /memorial talks. There were hundreds of people attending, and afterwards they all talked about the good things that this man did, no religious right-wrong discussions, just a very nice gathering. I see how I really missed a lot of honest human interaction during my jw days,