Wednesday, December 30, 2009
KXAN was covering David's memorial service tonight. It's a beautiful portrayal of David. Enjoy the video..I'll probably update it to the one from the 10 p.m. broadcast. It shows more of the coverage from the Memorial Service. Lastly, here is the link to Donald Miller's blog site, which has the eulogy he spoke tonight. p.s. The photo in the corner is David's truck parked inside Journey at the reception after :-). Also, read my tribute to David below. David, thank you so much for all the love and lessons!!! Oops and I almost forgot, here's the link to the eulogy. Click here
Saturday, December 19, 2009
This post was actually written, Wednesday, December 30; the day of David's Memorial.
One of my favorite lines in a contemporary movie is one very simple, and one that may or may not be actually true. The line goes, "The Greeks didn't write obituaries-they only asked one question when a man died; did he have passion."
Passion is the driving force for any of us...the passion to care, the passion to love, the passion to live....is it a gage for success of one's life as perhaps the Greeks felt? I don't know. But what I do know is that my friend and pastor, David Gentiles had great, great passion. He felt things strongly. He loved strongly and he cared strongly. All the while, remaining extremely humble and unassuming. Writing about David is hard for me. This is something I wanted to do since Friday, Dec 18; the evening he died. But never did, and now even struggling to write. If I write about him in the past tense, then I'm professing that his physical presence is no longer with us anymore. Something very hard to swallow. Something very hard to come to terms with.
Over the last week and a half, I've remembered every conversation and interaction with him. I remember planning a thank you dinner with him; a remember sharing my poems with him; a remember a shared moment of God's clarity and light when I went back to school; a remember teasing with him (he had such a good sense of humor); I remember running to him when I was upset or troubled...the list could go on and on. And what's so remarkable is that not only for me, but for dozens upon dozens, hundreds rather or so people could say the same thing.
David was humble. I'm trying to remember all of David. Those times when I know I annoyed him, or he bothered me; as well as, the touching moments of understanding. He sometimes shared that he questioned his purpose or his impact. My experience with him is that he loved to have fun but equally was private and reserved...he could separate himself at times and even be a little melancholy. But, this never lasted long. David was a rock for others. When he talked to you, he never held an agenda. He was always patient, honest and kind. Simple words cannot encompass the impact and purpose this man held for others. Simple words cannot encompass the impact and purpose this man held for me.
Once I sat next to David at a funeral. After telling him to scoot over because he was sitting where I wanted to sit, he obliged with goodness in spite of my insolence. And then, in the middle of the service, something touched his spirit and he teared up (David could cry easily and often did :-) ), I took his hand and whispered to him, "Only a man that's so close to God, could feel things so strong." That statement was so true about David...David chose to be close to God...he lived the good news of Christ with every breathe he took. He left himself open to God's Spirit and direction. I could give a multitude other examples of his goodness and the time he gave of himself unselfishly to others.....
I'll end this post with something he wrote thanking the people who worked on getting the warehouse up to city codes and a functional space.
"This is what it said, "HOPE THIS IS NOT TOO GLIB…BUT IT IS JOURNEY-ISH
I once had a friend who would get into a crowded elevator, and after the doors closed he would turn around to face the rest of the riders and declare, “Well, I guess you are wondering why I called this meeting!” There is no such uncertainty about why we called this meeting tonight…you (the collective you) are the very reason that we are now sitting having this dinner in this wonderful space that God has provided for us. You painted, you cleaned, you hammered, you measured, you drilled, you provided food, you prayed and you made it possible for this community to gather to scatter, and have a place to scatter from. “Thank you” is much too small and cliché a phrase to adequately express how immensely grateful we are for your time, energy, love, passion and sacrifice…but it will have to do…along with this chicken dish, of course. Thank you…and THANK YOU GOD!"
Thank you God for David, who was our champion, our rock who gave us his energy, passion and sacrifice. Words cannot adequately express how grateful we are that he touched our lives. I cry today because of both the gratefulness and the void he leaves in the hearts of others.
Lastly, here is excerpts from a eulogy sermon given by Greg Rickels for local Austin dance legend, Boyd Vance, who died in 2005. These words are very comforting to me. When I substitute Vance's name with David's, it describes my grief, our grief and who David was. Ironically, the beginning and ending of the excerpts are attributed to words by Don Miller. David influenced Miller's life profoundly as a youth and who became like a father for Miller.
The night Boyd Vance died I could not sleep. Many of us couldn't. It was so hard to shut our eyes that night. I sat up in my living room, and began reading a book that I had just received by Don Miller. The book is entitled Blue Like Jazz. On the very first page are these words: "I never liked Jazz Music because Jazz music doesn't resolve. But I was outside the Bagdad Theatre in Portland one night when I saw a man playing a saxophone. I stood there for fifteen minutes, and he never opened his eyes. After that I liked Jazz music. Sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself. It's as if they are showing you the way." It was as if Miller was speaking to me, or the Holy Spirit was, about this man, who had just passed, who we loved so much. Our brother, Boyd Vance, on countless occasions, closed his eyes in love of his craft, and in the process opened the eyes of so many. In fact, the number of changed lives, the number of those who could now love something, because of him, is infinite, unknown. Some may not even know it themselves, that this small man, with a huge heart, and not just a few opinions, had moved them to a new place. He indeed did show us the way.
Of course, Boyd would have never seen it that way, never agreed with that. He was rather humble, for all of his talent and skill.
Sadly, Boyd will not see 89, not here. I am profoundly sad about that, profoundly and selfishly sad about that. I know you all share that with me. His parting leaves a hole in my, and in my community of faith, and in my community in which I live. I miss him dearly. We all do. He didn't see 89 but, and this is what we celebrate today, he will see eternity, and someday we will see him.
Like so many of you, I look back on moments, just weeks ago, with Boyd, and wonder about life, the tenuous nature of it. His unwanted, but certainly realized, gift to all of us in these last few days, since April 9th, is not to take so quickly for granted this life. In this last week, goodbyes have been a little more intentional and heartfelt, tinged with a bit more grief than normal. We look into the eyes of the ones we love and keep ourselves fixed a bit longer than before. We treat each other with a bit more consideration.
That, most likely, will wear off after a while. It has to, really. We will, hopefully, keep just enough to make our lives a bit more full, but it is difficult to stay in that awareness for long. Distance from our mortality is something that helps keep us sane. This one may take a little longer.
I will miss his performances, on and off stage! I simply miss him, period.
I will miss him for the way he loved children. I will miss how he shared himself with them. I will miss him for his generosity in material and spirit. I will miss how he loved his heritage and sharing it, and sharing it in a way that every person, of every color, of every station in life, loved to hear it too. You can add to the list, and all of us could go on and on.
As I sat in my living room, late at night, I could not help but think of him when I read those words, "I never liked Jazz Music because Jazz music doesn't resolve. But I was outside the Bagdad Theatre in Portland one night when I saw a man playing a saxophone. I stood there for fifteen minutes, and he never opened his eyes. After that I liked Jazz music. Sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself. It's as if they are showing you the way." But it doesn't end there; there were just a few more. Miller finished with these words: "I used to not like God because God didn't resolve. But that was before any of this happened."
Boyd, you, my friend, happened to me, you happened to us. We here today are so grateful for it. You have taught us to love many things, by our watching you love those things. Your eyes were closed, so our eyes could be opened. You have done it for us one last time. You have taught us there is resolve, in the things we do, in the way we love, in the God we know.
Boyd, until we meet again, until we hear that sweet voice, and see your warm smile, and gaze into those sparkling mischievous and marvelous eyes, go in peace, and know you go with our most profound admiration, our heartfelt thanks, and our eternal love.
David, go in peace...may we carry the torch of your life, and as you prayed over me, may we be equal to the challenge...