Random Thoughts from a Restless Mind

Dr. Darrell White's Personal Blog

Cape Cod

Thoughts On A Funeral And A Home

I went to the funeral of a former business partner yesterday, felled too soon by MS at the age of 70. Ron died poorly; he suffered mightily for many years before his ultimate relief. A man of great faith and equally great fidelity to his particular Church (the Church of my youth), we were told of the comfort he realized in his departure.

(As an aside, I wrote once about a funeral I attended where the pastor clearly had no inkling who the deceased was. This recent ceremony, on the other hand, was presided over by a priest who’d babysat the children of the deceased as a teen, and had a 30 year friendship with the family. Huge difference.)

I continue to struggle with this, frankly. The intersection of religion and faith has become even more confusing to me as I round the turn at the far end of life’s track and head into the last 1/2 of the race. The intersection is kind of like a 4-way stop where 4 cars arrive at almost the same time. Who goes first? What are the rules? Who decides what rules apply? As you sit there what can you expect of the other three? Do they know the same rules? The rules part of the conversation, the religion part, continues to confuse me and has become more confusing as I’ve gotten older. At the 4-way I just sit and idle.

But faith…ah, faith…here I seek comfort. Here is where I seek to be at ease. There must be something before and after that 4-way, right? As a scientist I am compelled to go back in time, as far back as I possibly can, in order to try to understand, so that I may go forward in time, so that I may forecast what is to come. Yet there is always a point beyond which the exploration cannot proceed, forward or back. Conjecture and theory must yield there to something else.

I sit at the 4-way stop, GPS programmed for a journey toward faith. Cars come and go from 3 sides as the Celestial Garmin processes my request. The journey must be a long and complex one; the GPS continues to ponder the route. There I sit.


My Dad called me with a funny story. Seems my niece, Jen, was visiting overnight on her way to the airport and a lacrosse festival. Nothing new there, but she had a friend along, the daughter of a long-lost college friend of mine. Lydia would spend the night in my ancestral home sleeping in the primordial bed from which sprang…yours truly!

I thought a bit about this as I sat in church yesterday. Home is a funny thing, eh? The definition of home is rather a moving target. When are you considering the question? Who’s home are you thinking about? My partner Ron’s entire family decamped to Kentucky 10 years ago, but it was home to Cleveland that he returned, back to his ancestral home for eternity.

I’ve returned more than several times for visits “home”, nights spent in the primordial bed. Some good, some not so much, each ended with a trip “home”. It’s funny–for 20 years or so Cleveland did not really feel like home to me. Nope, it was kind of a lay-over, an intermediate stop on some series of flights to wherever home was going to be. One of my biggest adult surprises was returning to Cleveland in year 20 and all of a sudden realizing that I was going home, to Cleveland, for the first time. It took 20 years and 2 children choosing to live there, but when I landed I was finally home.

A lesson, I guess,  is that you CAN go home again. Ron did. You just need to figure out where home is.


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