One of the hymns sung at Nate's funeral today was the lovely, old Protestant hymn entitled How Great Thou Art. The hymn honors the greatness of the Deity, but as the chorus sang on beautifully and enthusiastically I found myself drifting, thinking of the greatness of my friend and teammate, Nate Thurmond. Given the goodness of Nate, I'm certain God was not insulted.
Speaker after speaker stood at the podium in front of an assembly of mourners: family members, friends and teammates, church members, basketball players, past and present, coaches, administrators, fans, media and people who might have wandered in off the street into Providence Baptist Church to find out what all the fuss was about, praising Nate, not only for his athletic greatness, but for his spiritual greatness.
One last and lasting image of the funeral: All attendees were dressed appropriately in dark clothing, except one older man standing in the back of the church. He was unshaven and a bit shabby in baggy jeans and unlaced athletic shoes, wearing a Nate the Great #42 jersey, untucked over his pants. He was crying.
There were times during the funeral that I found myself in deep non-religious meditation, simply being in a holy moment. Looking for a poem to end today's blog, I came across this lovely meditation by Li Po
In the Mountains on a Summer Day
Gently I stir a white feather fan,
With open shirt sitting in a green wood.
I take off my cap and hang it on a jutting stone;
A wind from the pine-trees trickles on my bare head.
Translated by Arthur Waley
What my musings are all about...
Blogging might well be the 21st century's form of journaling. As a writing teacher, I have always advised my students to keep a daily journal as a way of organizing their thoughts for future writing projects, a discipline I have unfortunately never consistently practiced myself. By blogging, I might finally be able to follow my own good advice.
The difference between journaling and blogging is that the blogger opens his or her writing to the public, something journal- writers are usually reluctant to do. I am not so reticent.
The trick for me will be to avoid cluttering the internet with more blather, something none of us need more of. If I stick to subjects I know: sports and literature, I believe I can avoid that pitfall. I can't promise that I'll not stray from time to time to comment on ancillary subjects, but I will make every attempt to be interesting and perhaps even insightful.