As I sat in the chapel last night at Klein and watched the people moving about, my mind went back to a dream I had when I was very young.
Imagine if you will a large room with many doors around the exterior and one large door at the head of the room. There are people entering and exiting each door. Some exit never to return and others exit only to come in another door later. As you enter the room you become the center of the attention. A small group of people are there with you the whole time while each of the others comes in contact with you some way. And then those who are with you begin to slowly exit the big door never to return. But they aren’t gone because you can hear them right around the corner – so you know they are close and you know you will see them again.
I told a priest friend about this dream and he said, “Have you ever thought this might be about life?” At that point, I had an epiphany, a clearer vision of what God was saying in this dream.
Bobby Patke entered his big room January 14, 1955. And while he was in that room many people came and went through those doors; some exited never to reenter and some came back into the room many times. People are always coming in and out of our lives – some for a brief moment and others to stay forever. Life is built on those relationships formed over time.
And our families are there with us, around us, protecting and nurturing us. But eventually they will exit that big door. Not saying goodbye, but moving just around the corner. We can still visit them if we choose. Just not in this physical plane – not in the big room for they have moved beyond our room.
Each of us live that life – each of us have our big room with all those people coming into and out of our lives – and eventually we, too, must exit the room and move on. Bobby moved from your rooms September 24, 2015 not because he wanted to – he would much have preferred to stay with his wife Jannette and sons, Jerome and Jonathon, his daughter-in-law Taryn and prized possession, his granddaughter Reese and brother Jody.
Bobby was known to have a great wit and a great sense of humor. Those don’t always go together. Wit moves out. Sense of humor allows you to be able to receive other’s wit as well.
He was strong as evidenced by his two sons who learned there are consequences for your actions. He was a man who could love unabashedly.
He was a man we can all aspire to be. In other words, he filled his room with greatness while he was there.
It made no difference when he entered or when he left because what he did while he was there will live on through Jannette, Jerome, Jonathon, Taryn, Jody and each of you who came into his room. Everyone was touched in a seemingly positive way by this man. There is a strand that ties us all together.
I mentioned last night at the vigil how a funeral led to being involved in a wedding which led to being involved in this funeral. There is a strand that connects all things.
In our bible passages chosen by the family we heard today, I looked for that strand that connected them. And it was there. It wasn’t hard to find.
From Wisdom, the first reading, “In the view of the foolish they appeared to be dead. But they are in peace.”
From the 2 Cor “Although our outer selves are wasting away our inner selves are being renewed day by day . . . we look not to what is seen but is unseen; for what is seen is transitory but what is unseen is eternal.”
Do you see the strand? That strand of hope in what is promised? Wisdom was written some 400 years before Christ was even born but the author, Yesua ben Sirach, knew something better was coming. It talks about God trying us and proving us worthy of himself and Bobby was tried.
Second Corinthians St Paul acknowledges our bodies that are corruptible breaking down but our spirits are renewed day by day and the hope lies not in things of this world (what we see) but in the coming world that is just around the corner (what is unseen) because this world is passing away but the next is everlasting.
And all this hope is brought together by the Words of Jesus in his Gospel today. At the last supper he attempts to reassure his apostles by saying, “In my father’s house (share the gospel here) . . . Where I am going you know the way.” HE is promising the apostles he will come back for them when their time comes to transition to that which is unseen.
He assured this by going to a cross and dying for our sins though he was sinless. He was laid in a tomb and 3 days later came forth triumphant over death – the only thing that could keep us from seeing Bobby again.
So, to the Patke family, Jannette, Jerome, Jonathan, Taryn, Baby Reese, Jody and to all of his extended family and friends. Bobby isn’t gone, but gone ahead. He is preparing a place.
On this day – take hope in that promise. Bobby isn’t gone but has simply left the room. He isn’t far – he’s just around the corner.