MARTHA'S VINEYARD  

 

  Will came back, I suspect a different person, far different from the one who was sent, though at the time it was something I didn't quite understand.  My classmate sat one row to the right behind me in our evening creative writing class.  Will was older than me by just a few years and certainly exceeded me in life experience.

It's been too long to remember whose poem it was and all the content we heard that evening but my vague recollection is that the stanzas dealt with flowers and petals...In what I saw so clearly was different that Will's observation.  His interpretation spoke to delighting in beauty, plain and simple...

I remember struggling through an assignment a few days later, working to create images, trying to conjure up metaphors, choosing just the right word to pique the senses of those who would read and critique what I wrote.  The red pencil slashes, the suggestions written in the margins of my college-ruled lined paper, the modifications, corrections offered by Professor Baxter...finally submitting my work and, I think, receiving a "B".

It wasn't till years later that I allowed myself to cry for Will, and, a bit late, to ask God for forgiveness.  What I hadn't realized soon enough was that Will had far more life lived reality on which to draw, so much more at stake, to simply survive his life's experience.  What he fould in the writing that night, 40 plus years ago, was a sinse of plain and simple beauty in a world that was (is) filled with hate, divisiveness, the demand to choose sides, to dispatch the enemy...

Though it took me some years to nurture and to grow and to cultivate even the slightest grasp of what this shaggy, black-haired, patient, non-judgemental, wounded, gentle saint had to teach me, it is with thanksgiving that I appreciate a lesson learned.  Yes, life is full of mystery; some that may be unwrapped, peeled layer by layer to expose a truth we've sought or one that calls us to seek a deeper truth...and others, simply grace, gift, beauty for beauty's sake; God knows we can all use some of that...

With love and prayers for peace, my heart is full in remembrance of you, simply beautiful Will...

Deacon Martha