Saturday, February 23, 2013

Teddy's Memorial Service


Beppe played the bowls
Teddy’s memorial service begins with my friend Beppe playing singing bowls as a meditation. Then Isis from Dzieci cries aloud and comes forward in a slow dance as Matt and the other Dzieci rise from various different places in the congregation joining in the chant and moving forward until they are all together in the front of the sanctuary.

Jane speaks
I welcome everyone and explain that this service will be a presentation for us to see the width and breadth of who Teddy was at West-Park, That we believe in the unexpected intersections of unlikely people, of unqualified acceptance, and Teddy fully lived that out. Connecting, managing, bringing people together. My colleague Jane speaks of his heart and his desire to take down the wall to see what was inside. 

The Teddy’s father speaks. When I met him the day after Teddy died, he was devastated. Could hardly speak. And at the funeral, said nothing. But tonight he has quite a lot to say. In his openness, his toughness, his humor, I see Teddy. He asks who doesn’t come from a dysfunctional family. He speaks of his intelligence. Inquisitiveness, taking apart every toy he’d ever been given. Including his bike which he had to put back together to ride. He plays off Jane’s wall reference. Teddy always taking down walls. How surprised he was to hear about Teddy’s life in the church given that he’d been so angry at God ever since his mother died. Of his many struggles. And deep appreciation for who Teddy had been able to be at West-Park. And how he had asked God to let him go before Teddy.

Tracy and Sarah
I explain that I’ve never written religious music but had written one after Teddy died. And I sing my Rest Awhile with Jeremy accompanying me. It really rolls and people are joining in. RL reads his Teddrick poem,( his voice  quavering then rising strong at the end.  The the Sanctuary singers featuring Pernell Walker sing Golden. 

Sarah and Tracy from the Sweatshop Free campaign talk about Teddy’s work with them. What they had learned from him. And both break down in tears. Kanaska comes up to talk about her time with Teddy in Occupy. An dhow he had taken care of her when she needed a safe place to be. Her street toughness giving way to an almost child like  vulnerability then her voice rising strong and true in a passionate song of elegy and affirmation. Martin comes forward, walks over to the family to share his own experiences with Teddy’s family. What Teddy had meant to his daughter, his family. 

I say that Teddy should have the last word at his ow memorial. So we play Zeljko’s movie Teddy. ( once again, the sanctuary fills with the warm rough sound of his voice, his unique take on the world. Zeljko had seemingly captured all of Teddy’s facial expressions. It ends with a long take on Teddy’s face, slowly breaking into a big heartfull smile as Sekou’s music plays. 

The the whole congregation joins in singing I Shall Be Reeased. 

As we move to the chapel for refreshments and an open mic, there is so much sharing. Steamfitters saying they would do anything for us. Best memorial service thy’d ever been to. Teddy’s daughter saying how good it was to hear her fathers voice again Teddy III (Teddy Bear) had found a picture of he an dhis dad that Dzieci had used. People who had never met or knwon abiut each other embracing, sharign memories. I ke expecting him to walk  any moment. And i missed him terribly. 


Back in the chapel, RL is getting the open mic ready. The Buskers open and Teddy’s dad enjoys the Irish music. Amanda makes sure to play while Teddy’s dad is still there. We all play something special. In his spirit. I play my New Mexico song he liked. 

Teddy Bear, Bob and Theodore Mapes, Sr.
And then the night is over. 

Amanda and RL with the Buskers

Rest Awhile

When the crowd's so demanding and the need is so great
And you feel like you just can't go on
Come walk beside me and soon you will see
The victory is already won
And you can rest awhile, rest awhile
Come away and rest awhile
(Jesus says) rest awhile, rest awhile
Come away and rest awhile

When your boat is too small and the water so wide
And the shoreline's just too far to see
I will quiet the storm, I will silence the sea
And you can walk on the water with me
And you can rest....

When the day goes too fast and the night feels too long
And the dawn seems so far away
I wil give you my rest, I will give you my peace
And you will rise to live a new day
And you can rest.....

Come you who are weary and so heavy laden
And lay your burdens down
For my yoke it is easy my burden is light
And you can trade your cross for a crown
And you can...

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