Friday, November 14, 2008

Old enough to read the obits - But not old enough to understand what they tell me

Last week I saw, in Presbyterians Today magazine, my first seminary roommate's name listed in the "Deaths" column.  So I googled, and sure enough, it wasn't just her name, it was her.  Dead at 54.  And all week I've been thinking about the cause of death:  "She died of natural causes, while on a vision quest in the mountains of California".  
A vision quest. 
This woman was one of the quietest, most conventional seeming women at Princeton Seminary. One of the reasons we didn't room together long (besides the fact that most rooms were singles, and it was pretty natural to want to get one asap) is that living with me was a little stressful for her.  I bent the rules.  I didn't think the professors walked on water.  I was the one who was full of questions, who got a big kick out of challenging what I was told and told to do.  We were opposite characters:  I was a little strange and she was perfectly normal (and I mean both of those words together like that.)
Yet, twenty some years later, here am I. I am the pastor of a small church in a small midwestern town - a pastor who doesn't even say she voted for Obama if McCain supporters are in earshot - I am the essence of conventional and quiet and cautious.  And my well behaved little friend (actually, she wasn't little, she was a big, raw boned, athletic woman) was so "out there" that she died on a vision quest.  A vision quest.  In the mountains of California.  
What happened to us?  

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