As the speaker thanked his family, friends, priests and others in attendence for all they had done for him–while we were there to celebrate his 25 years service as a deacon in the Catholic Church– there was a building applause, a standing ovation, and the deacon finally left the podium wiping his eyes.
Since this parish is about 420 miles from my own, I know only his loving, close-knit, Irish family, having attended college with 3 of the 6 children. I glanced around the church, knowing that there were many others whom Ed had helped through baptism or marriage or death or difficult times during his tenure as deacon.
I think that many people go through their lives wanting to be Famous or Popular or Rich (such generic terms). But famous for what? popular with whom? I watched people in the church and at the crowded reception and realized that our legacy comes from our actions and words with others, not from what we dream it to be. A famous wizard said to a scarecrow who wanted a heart that to be loved is not by how much we love but by how much others love us. So true.
Ed is certainly Famous and Popular in his circle of friends, colleagues, and parishioners that were present this weekend. His funny jokes and helpful words spread beyond those he deals with, as those he touches pass-along his kindness. He is truly Rich in family and spirit, surounded by many who love him. His Beliefs and Actions drive him, and it is through our behaviors and Presence that we will be remembered and positively (or negatively) impact others.
Congratulations Ed on 25 years of service. If we can all try to mimic a small amount of your altruism, our own small world would be more kind gentle place to live in. C