Yesterday afternoon I went to a farewell gathering for Lois Swenson, a lady I hardly knew, but who I knew well through numerous intersecting ‘circles’ of relationships with others. Lois was unknown to me, but well known through others….
That hundreds of people would pack a suburban church on a pleasant Sunday afternoon was a testimonial to Lois’ place in the hearts of those who knew her.
(click on photos to enlarge them)
She was by all accounts a remarkable lady: one who made a difference by being engaged in the world in which she lived.
I thought of an e-mail I had received from a friend in one of my own circles the day previous to the service. It is here, and I think Lois and her friends would enjoy the five minutes of people dancing around the world.
I was most struck by one comment by the Minister towards the end of the service. He noted that a cameraman from WCCO-TV was there, with camera, and it wasn’t until the cameraman was there that he connected the dots: that one of his elementary school teachers had been Ms. Swenson. It was an emotional moment for him, the minister said. I noted later that the short segment on WCCO’s evening news had a piece of film showing those of us in the pews.
There are lots of ‘dots’ in all of our lives, and sometimes it is times like yesterday which help connect those dots.
The service opened with a song, “Simple Gifts“, that seemed to completely describe Lois’ life.
Not in the program, but mentioned by one of the speakers, was the Peter, Paul and Mary anthem, “If I had a hammer“.
We all have a certain amount of time in which to make a certain amount of difference.
Lois well used her time, it certainly appears, and in so doing gave us all our own marching orders.
We need to expand and open our circles, outward, beyond our own selves and comfort zones.
from Melvin: Thank you. I was out of town yesterday and wasn’t able to attend. I knew Lois from the gardening-community. She was a beautiful woman with a big heart for all people. I considered Lois a Peaceful Love Warrior who respected and honored Wellstone’s everyday little guy and woman. She was an simple, yet outstanding advocate for Justice. Every time I saw her, she always greeted me with a warm smile and a hug. She was a joyful ally. Her spirit will be missed, however, her positive energy will be remember by those she touch directly and indirectly. Thanks again.
MPPOE![May Peace Prevail on Earth]
from Barb (comment is also at end of this post): Thanks for writing about my dear friend, Lois Swenson, and for reinforcing the notion of our interconnectedness. Yesterday it struck me that any friend of Lois’s was a friend of mine. Given her broad love for all humanity, I’m challenged today to be a better friend to the earth and all of it’s inhabitants.
from Jim (comment is also at end of this post): The cups we used were purposely chosen for their capacity to break down in compost. I will be adding them to the compost bin in the community garden Lois and I have worked in with many people.
Please enjoy the words to a song that well expresses the spirit of the day: Somos el Barco [here's Pete Seeger's version]
Chorus: Somos el barco, somos el mar, Yo navego en ti, tu navegas en mi
We are the boat, we are the sea, I sail in you, you sail in me
The stream sings it to the river, the river sings it to the sea The sea sings it to the boat that carries you and me
The boat we are sailing in was built by many hands And the sea we are sailing on, it touches every land
So with our hopes we set the sails And face the winds once more And with our hearts we chart the waters never sailed before