[Please note: this blog was written on Saturday, May 23, 2015, sent on Monday, May 25, 2015]
Tomorrow, Sunday, May 24, 2015, is Pentecost Sunday. A day that should be more valued and celebrated than it is. In fact some of my less than informed…and for sure, friends who couldn’t care less…have suggested “Pentecost” has something to do with economics. Not.
Has to do with the birthday of the church. And a day before that day, namely today, is the 75th birthday of Jeannette Hereniko. We went to high school together in Portland. Never dated, which I’m thinking is what gave our friendship such value [not sure where that should go, but hey, it is my thought, almost 60 years later].
The backstory is short but deep and powerful. Jeannette and I were officers in our Oregon Congregational Youth Fellowship organization and spent a weekend in Ione, Oregon, sharing with a newly found youth group in that church…how they might develop their group. We returned to Portland. I drove, I remember that. We arrived at her home at 7th and Going, visited. I don’t know why. But I also know there can be good life without “whyness” always involved. For whatever reason I thought when you were 16 you should KNOW [caps intended] what you should do in life. So, trusting Jeannette’s judgement and she probably knew me better than anyone else aside from my parents and sister, I asked her, “Jeannette, I don’t know what I should be when I grow up.” [Of course I assumed that “growing up” would happen!]
She started to laugh. I remember that and probably thought, THIS IS SERIOUS DON’T LAUGH ME OFF. She then said, “Mark, that’s probably the dumbest question you could ever ask…come on. You know. You should be a minister.” That sounded good enough to me. When I got home I awakened my parents and announced my future. My mother thought it was a great decision. My father, so Hank Miller-ish, cleared his throat, “That’s fine, son. Get a good night’s sleep and we’ll talk about it tomorrow.” Am sure he thought that pitching a baseball should be preferred over preaching a sermon. Love it.
End of back story. All these years, since 1956 Jeannette and I have stayed in touch. For us both through a few marriages, children and grandchildren. She now lives in Hawaii and is very involved in film production with her husband, Vili. They are doing great.
Today Jeannette responded to my birthday note and then. Wow. Bam. Lights on! Cameras running. She shared a short speech she gave in Denver today…at the marriage of one of her grandchildren. I’ve asked her for permission to print…the full sharing. It is exciting, it is inspirational. More than makes sense. It’s wisdom she has lived in her own life and in her marriage. Please. Read it. Think of love. And the ways in which love always encourages and cares. And makes real what “covenant” means at the best level: each person giving his or her fullest for the GOOD OF THE RELATIONSHIP.
Jeannette? You are wonderful and full of wonder. And yes, I took your counsel seriously when we were 16. And wadda yuh know? I really think it worked as I live in this day. But, remember, I will catch up with you in age in less than a month! Grace, peace and love to you….Mark.
Roots and wings May 22, 2015 – for Nick and Kathleen Sutton By Jeannette Hereniko:
I first met Nick Sutton on January 13, 1987. He was a few hours old, and it was love at first sight. There are several gathered here who also met Nick Sutton that day. We gave him a gift that started instantly and lasts forever: unconditional love. I’ve watched Nick develop into a caring, generous, talented, thoughtful, positive, hardworking young man confronting challenges and celebrations by being fully engaged and present in the moment.
It was with joy and enormous gratitude to God, the Universe and the Snow family when the amazing accomplished Kathleen Snow came into his life. As their relationship matured, it became clear that they were committed to each other as they faced adversities and victories with calm, steady, sensible, determined resolve. I am certain I speak for Nick and Kathleen’s families – both here in physical form and in spirit – in saying we unanimously agree that this is a marriage that starts with a solid foundation intact with strong, deep roots. We pledge our support and continued unconditional love for Kathleen and Nick who we will treat forever more as a married couple.
We are commemorating an historical occasion because as great as Kathleen and Nick are alone, together they create a positive force to reckon with. We can feel it in our bones. They will make the world a better place to live. Their love is so powerful, so solid, it will transform them, us and the world. Love is the inner power that changes us and gives us wings to fly. Today we witness Nick and Kat’s transition where they sprout wings to fly together, creating a new path we look forward to discovering.
Nick and Kat, fueled by love, you will find all the power you need is available at every point in space and in every instant of time – if you stop long long enough and often enough- to go inside and feel that unconditional love abundantly surrounding you. Your love will deepen as the years go by…By enjoying, not possessing. By letting go, not controlling. By following your bliss, By continuing to give your God given talents away for the good of humankind.
Last week Nick’s eight year old cousin, Rocky Serini, asked me, “Nana, are you happy?” I answered, “Yes I am. And you know why?” In answering Rocky, I discovered my answer for happiness, and I want to share it with you: I am happy because I live where I want to live. I am happy because I do what I know I have been born to do. I am happy because I live with someone I love with all my heart. Congratulations, Nick and Kathleen. You’ve acknowledged your roots, and you’ve found the one you love with all your heart. Now you are truly ready to FLY!