I found myself, and early Thursday morning, looking to the stars while getting ready to walk with Emma Jo to the bus stop.

Amidst the caucaphonic singing of birds I found myself contemplating the twilight, and rapidly processing a broad array of thoughts that included: Gatsby, the “Word” as a lens, Speed Racer (actually, Racer X), and why it is light posts dim when special people draw near.

I thought of Bill Pope, and how he and I would have stood there quietly together, our hands in pockets, putting lines-of-thought together that might have only, and at best, confused (possibly, admittedly, concerned) others. It’s not simple easy understanding where Walker Percy both came from, and where he was coming from.

…and, now this:

Bryan Davidson had opened my eyes Wednesday when he reminded me of something one of his own professors had said to him at Liberty Baptist College: “Death is morbid but meaningful”.

Apparently, and according to this same professor, the meaningful part is because it opens your eyes. It’s how you see it.

Death, that is – someone else’s.

I’m also pondering what death might look like when it’s racing at you, or even creeping up on you. I’ve faced my own mortality in some tough spots. But, I don’t want any of this to be about me, right now.

So… I’m in a kind of “zone” for the moment around the whole Bill Pope situation. I’m not seeking answers, nor understanding. Possibly I am sorting out direction. I do know that I, for one, won’t ever be able to say enough good things about Bill. However, wherever he is – it begins in my heart and memory, and has clearly set a standard for a baring point.

By the way…

…on the tail tale-end of that telephonic exchange with Bryan I asked him how he was feeling (he was sick with what seemed like allergies to everything, including air and all edible things, for years). He mentioned “some dude” put his hands on him at a soulybusiness event, and he was healed.

I asked him if it was John Stein, of course.

And, it was, indeed (and Jesus, apparently).

John, just so you know, is a Healer. It’s true. I don’t even find it odd. But, then, you need to understand John – and man, is that another story. My favorite is a long run in the mountains of Tennessee early morning along train tracks. But, that, another time.

Bill Powis (I call him: “Pastor Bill” – a natural teacher, by the way) is leaning into me as well. I think he likes my torment. But, he also appreciates my open-heart. Man, he would have really liked Pope.

And, if we must be judged, I’ll hope it’s by the men around me.

And, to that end…

I’ll note, and do it here, that Marcus Crocket came back from Bill and Bryce’s funeral with the comment: “I was amazed at the testimonials for Bryce. It made me understand what a great influence in his life Bill and Jane were. They were READY. They lived their lives like Jesus”.

Those are powerful words around a man with a life well-lived.

But, there is more. It’s happening all around us. …change and perspective, I think…

Another dear friend, and agonizingly patient spiritual mentor, Durwood Snead, also lost his seven day old grandaughter this week, ironically named Madison (the name of Bill’s surviving daughter). She held her Mother’s gaze for only a few short hours. In his email to me, today, Durwood said: We talked about how we did not understand why God needed Madison more than He felt we did, but that we had to trust Him because He gave His only Son for us.”

I’m not sure what’s next with all of this. So, now this is something like they. But, we can all count on there being a next what.

This I do know… We’ll need to make our stand her, and now. We must decide, each of us separately, and together, to either reel with these blows, or grow because of them.

We need to be READY.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

NOTE:  Walker Percy (May 28, 1916 – May 10, 1990) was an American Southern author whose interests included philosophy and semiotics. Percy is best known for his philosophical novels set in and around New Orleans, Louisiana, the first of which, The Moviegoer, won the National Book Award for Fiction in 1962. He devoted his literary life to the exploration of “the dislocation of man in the modern age.” His work displays a unique combination of existential questioning, Southern sensibility, and deep Catholic faith.

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