Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A passing generation

Family and friends at St John's gave Mary a good send off this morning. Behind the scenes last night and this morning it was all panic. The promised new photocopier had not been delivered, and the lazer printer ran out of ink during the print run, leaving me without a complete fair copy to take up to Staples or Tesco's to finish the job. However, I managed to obtain the necessaries from Clare's printer, and got them run off at Oner Signs just down the road from the church, with just twenty minutes to spare.

Mary's son Andrew had asked me to deliver a eulogy, based on his notes. I was unable to prepare anything written, as the office computer would not print, so relying on his notes, I reflected on the story of her life, and found that it all came very easily into place - not least because the most recent memories of her were memories I shared. Some of those present had known her for nearly sixty years, and while the memories were full of smiles of laughter, there was also an inevitable sadness, a quiet awareness of being part of a fine generation slipping away - the people who had in every sense re-made church and community life in the aftermath of World War two, with all its privations, environmental chaos, and the looming insecurity of Cold War.

I was only a child then, and these were all energetic young adults, getting on with forging a better future, making progress happen. How will I feel about my generation when I stand where they stand? Undoubtedly the feelings will be very mixed, but I hope they will include a debt of gratitude.

No comments: