As I write this, Bill’s dog, Brix, is laying on the back of my chair with his paw on my shoulder. This would be cute if I wasn’t trying to work and he wasn’t demanding my attention. I understand, though, because he, too, still misses Bill.
This morning, David remarked on how someone who was as quiet as Bill could leave such a huge hole. We still scramble at church almost every Sunday to cover something that he would have taken care of. Last Sunday, I stood behind the altar to consecrate communion and only then did I realize that the candles had never been lit. All three of the people responsible for that were out that Sunday, but the name the dark candles brought to my lips was Bill’s.
I knew in an instant that, although he might not have lit the candles, he never would have allowed me to start the service without noting it and fixing it. That is one of the reasons our entire church misses him. It also is why my life feels so difficult. Bill always noticed what was needed and made sure the need got met, without anyone ever knowing.
He was a role model for what Jesus meant when he called us “the salt of the earth.” While salt had a fuller meaning in Jesus’ day, for me, Bill’s absence has made life bland, unappealing, and unappetizing. For the church, he was that invisible presence that made things work and everything he touched better.
Brix knows I’m not Bill, but he also knows that I love him. So, he returns the favor. We both know life has been less beautiful since Bill has been gone, but all we can do is go on and love each other. Well, there may be something else to do. Perhaps all of us would do well to humbly ask how we are invisibly fixing things and making life better. How are we being salt in the place where God has sprinkled us?
I do visible change okay; it is the invisible that I’m still working on. Without Bill to show me that way, I have to depend on Brix.
Rev. Michael Piazza