Rather a week for funerals, this...My first solo on Monday went fine, the family helpfully providing the address and only leaving me to do the "God-stuff"..which they were kind enough to declare "helpful and appropriate", despite earlier assertions of apathy all round.
More cataclysmically, Lucinda came home on Monday shell-shocked by the news that a guy from the year above, who'd just left school after a good set of A levels, was killed in a car accident on Sunday afternoon. The car was being driven by his friend, whom Luci also knows...Thus far, there is nothing to suggest that this guy was in any way to blame...but somehow, I suspect that this will not be easy for him to accept. He was driving. The car crashed. His friend is dead. Shit. 18 feels way too young to have to deal with that.
The 6th form are poleaxed. G. had been head boy, so was well known and loved about the place. The kids who left with him last term have been drifting in to school all week, needing to be together, and feeling lost, as their old world has ended, but the new one of university or work has not properly begun...I wonder if I should go in and loiter with intent, but am wary of "poaching" (the school, unhelpfully, lies within a rather hard line parish, so it is unlikely that the vicar will be a welcome visitor as the mourning time continues). In the end I compromise by telling Luci to make sure that those might need to talk know I'm around.
By Wednesday, it's clear the kids are doing a wonderful job in caring for each other...so I just concentrate on praying for all of them as best I can. Funeral is on Monday...to be a celebration, followed by rave and sleep- over. The courage of those parents breaks my heart...
Meanwhile, back at the ranch,today was the funeral of a former NSM here...so we had wall-to-wall clergy in church and hall all afternoon...This being until very recently a trad. Anglo Catholic parish, the attempts of some of the Fathers to be charming to me personally while telling me how deeply they disapproved of my being there were verging on the comical. I was given the prayers to "do" and finished up with the prayer based on Donne
"Bring us, O Lord God, at our last awakening into the house and gate of heaven, to enter into that gate and dwell in that house, where there shall be no darkness nor dazzling, but one equal light; no noise nor silence, but one equal music; no fears nor hopes, but one equal possession; no ends nor beginnings, but one equal eternity; in the habitations of thy glory and dominion, world without end."
I'm very fond of this, but was taken to task afterwards by one of the former curates (actually a real sweetheart, whom I know of old) because he felt that the version of heaven it presented was exceeding bland...My retort was that we could only judge from the perspective of time, in which the absence of extremes might indeed seem dull, but that we would presumably be beyond this by then....Made me think, though...Are those deeply bored Renaissance cherubs who figure on Christmas cards indicative of a deep truth with which we've not got to grips? Will the diet of wonder, love and praise lose its attraction as eternity goes by? Or should I just tell my left brain to go take a running jump and cease pointless speculation forthwith??
In any case, that Donne prayer stays. It's on the list for my funeral, when the time comes...