Aug 25, 2008
Remarks by Jack Gilles
“To serve, sing, and dance – A symphony of peace for all Earth’s people – Beginning with myself."
Personal mission statement of David McCleskey
I have spent the last three days with Pat Webb in preparation for and the conducting of David’s Memorial service. I had the opportunity to read every one of the letters, cards and emails that many of you sent to Pat & David. What a Profound community we are! Yesterday, the day after the service, I rode with Pat as we re-visited the places that she and David lived in OKC. Each place was an opportunity for her to share what was happening in their life at that point and what David was about. This was important for Pat and I’m glad I was there to listen.
I want to share some of the experience of David’s service. There were about 130 people present only a few of whom were Order or Movemental colleagues. Conna Shropshire played the piano and Bill and Susanne Parker were part of the service, bringing some symbols of David’s service to the world through ICA to the altar. Pat and her two sons, Craig and Kirk at her side, held up magnificently throughout the entire event, even through the singing of the closing hymn, For All the Saints, which she was sure would cause her to she cry uncontrollably. She didn’t, she stood with radiant joy and sang with all of us.
This was one of the great experiences of my life. There are not words to describe either the feeling or the meaning of what happened, but I’ll try and give you a taste of what went on for me. We hope to eventually scan the service document and post it on the Repository, but here is the flow. The service was recorded and a CD will be produced, but no video was made.
At the front of a U shaped congregational seating was a bare cloth-covered altar with only a large unlit candle. In front of the alter was another table low to the floor with lots of drums, feathers, baskets and other Native American artifacts. At each front corner, high on the wall, was a large screen with a picture of David. David’s ashes were in a meditation room above and over the entrance to the sanctuary. Several of us sat in prayer with them prior to the service.
After an opening invocation and a bell, there was a silent procession to the Altar of people bringing symbols of David’s life journey; from his youth, EI/ICA/OE period, his recent years and finally his Fulfillment and legacy. Then there was a Native American woman who did a sage blessing over everything, sand at the four sides of the altar and a feather held to the four cardinal directions, all done in silence. As Conna played movement songs, a slide show of David’s life played on the two giant screens. What a delight! We sang Those Who Wait on the Lord, after which I did a Eulogy on David’s life journey. A marvelous local group sang a couple of wonderful songs for us. Larry Ward did a profound spin on David, death and the Buddhist perspective. He evoked David’s sacred dharma name given to him in 2005, True Mountain of Goodness. This was Larry at his most profound and transparent. There was a closing by the pastor, a prayer of unison and a singing of For All the Saints. The candle was lit and a closing bell rung. Afterwards, many joined together in a fine dinner at the church.
I am filled with many profound thoughts, most of which I won’t share at this time. The last couple of days of David’s dying were filled with amazing events that Pat spent hours sharing with me. His transition was a profound address to all who participated in it. His cremation service was itself another transparency event. But I wanted to share one thought in particular that addressed me so strongly. The understanding of the Word “To Die is To Live,” came to me with absolute overwhelming power and truth. David’s dying and death were the most life-giving experience I have had. His living presence in his home (I slept in his bed) and his presence at the service were real, palpable, and filled the space with peace and goodness. Those who came to be at a memorial service to say goodbye, were instead presented with the gift of experiencing Eternal Life, right there, now and forever! What a gift to give to the living! Resurrection is just the way life is. When you die an authentic death, which David did, that very dying gives life. David gave all of us life; his life, our life, the eternal life.
Finally, I would ask all of you to keep Patricia in your prayers. Her grief is profound and her dependence on David for so much of the ordinary things in their life was great. She has been granted a month leave of paid absence from her teaching work. That is a blessing and she hopes to travel to Florida to visit her 95year old mother with her two boys next week. She also plans to do some writing of her experiences during this whole time. She is getting some amazing messages from David, including ones for both Larry and myself that she has shared. She plans to respond to your cards and letters when she can. For those who are so moved, donations in David’s name can be made to their Silence Foundation, P.O Box 20934, Oklahoma City, OK, 73156.
Grace is yours, and Peace,
Dear Colleagues of the Journey,
As i reflect on my past year of life, the last year in my 60's (I
turned 69 today) I am aware of the fullness of my life. It has been a
year of decision and challenge. In December Judy and I left India
after 22 years of incredible experiences. We are so grateful for not
only the opportunities we had, but for the lasting deep friendships we
have made. It was a time in which I learned about Spirit it ways I
never imagined. This is the year we learned that Judy has a growth in
her abdomen that doesn't seem to be cancerous, but we are treating as
serious. Along with her memory issues (MCI) I have learned what the
covenant is all about when you promise "in sickness and in health". It was a year when perhaps our dearest spirit colleague, David Mccleskey, died and I had the honor to give the eulogy at his memorial service.
I also had the honor of sharing the stage with Larry Ward,
who's presence is that of one who is grounded in the Word and whose
life oozes that reality with every movement, word and glance. It has
been a year of gratitude for all the colleagues who have joined
together on the Springboard venture as an Order for our times. I face
the challenge of bringing my thoughts and wisdom into form through
writing and speaking. It is a promise I have made to myself and a
declaration I am making to all my colleagues. And finally, I feel I
am standing on tip toes, waiting to see what an Obama presidency might
bring, to have a new consciousness of care at the highest position in
America, and yet, there is a deeper feeling that perhaps he is going
to need people like me (and us) to help mid-wife us through these next
fabulous, threatening, uncertain, ominous, but absolutely effulgent
times. My my, what hath Got wrought?
Grace & Peace,
- 29 Apr 2009