Sitting in the adult choir loft was different from sitting in a pew. For one thing, I was looking at the back of my father’s head. That made him more of the minister and less my father. Probably that helped him communicate better from the pulpit to yours truly.
These days I think about how Gandhi’s name for God was Truth, with a capitol T. And I can’t help but believe that in that moment in the choir loft, I was opened to the movement of some Holy Spirit and a calling to the pursuit of that Truth in my own life. As an old man, I now realize how difficult a pursuit it is, given the nature of the ego and our seeming human inability to get below the surface of things.
There was another moment in that same church when I saw a demonstration of the truth that impacted me, and I believe it impacted the rest of the congregation as well.
The third memorable example of the truth my father gifted me was shortly before his death. He had not been well and it was clear to all of us his days were numbered. Family members thought someone should speak with him about his approaching death, and as a newly minted clergy, their eyes turned to me. Reluctantly, and with some fear and trembling, I agreed.
I went in his room where he lay resting in bed and after a few moments of conversation said, “It seems as if you are at peace with whatever happens. That you are OK should you get better and OK if you don’t.” We sat in silence for a few moments before he said: “It’s not important what you have or what you do, what’s important is who you are. If that’s what you believe, you can die anytime. What do you think?”
For me, the Truth is, we are part of a larger scheme of Being and we have our part to play. There will be plenty of distractions. There will be fits and starts, roadblocks and detours. But hopefully, even in a few last days, we can recognize and Be the essence that we are.