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As I come to know these fine people, they share with me more of their personal and sensitive stories. Their collective story is what I am trying to share with you as my way of breaking the stereotypical beliefs that exist. "Blog names" have occasionally been given to me by the person whose story I am telling. Names are never their actual names and wherever I can do so, I might use the opposite pronoun (his/her, etc.) just to help increase their privacy.

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Monday, October 23, 2017

Sitting and Standing… The Beginnings of Two Endings

On a Sunday in August 2007, Dad sat down.
On a Sunday in October 2017, Dan stood up.

Each movement by Dad and Dan told me that the beginning of the end had arrived.

On the weekend of Sunday, August 19th, 2007, I visited my sister Kim in Chambersburg Pa. to celebrate her birthday which had been the day before on August 18th.  We were sitting in church with Dad between us at Saint Stephen's Episcopal Church in Shippensburg, Pa.  Dad was, at this point in his life, a retired Episcopal priest who had served one church from ordination to retirement and did so with dignity and honor and respect and love and humility and integrity.

Dad was always a very proper, mildly formal, man who always stood for hymns and prayers in church when it was customary to do so.  The moment came during the singing of a hymn.  Dad sat down.  I knew in my heart that this was the beginning of his final loss of strength and eventual departure from this world.  And it was. On January 7, 2008, Dad went home.

On the weekend of Sunday, October 22, 2017, my sister Kim visited me in Concordville, Pa. to celebrate my birthday which had been the day before on October 21st.  We were sitting in church with Dan between us at Urban Hope Grace Brethren Church in Kensington, Pa.  Dan was, at this point in his life, a former pastor who had served a church until heroin addiction grabbed hold of his soul.  He departed ministry with humility and broken integrity.

In spite of his addiction, I've always found Dan to be a very proper man who treats others with dignity and honor and respect and love.  On this day, 24 hours prior to this writing, Dan approached me as Kim and I were walking toward my car after visiting the community in Emerald City.  With a fresh glow of detox on his face and a spring of the same in his step,[1] he asked if we were going to church this morning and if so, could he go with us.  "Yes." and "ABSOLUTELY!" were my responses.

We arrived in the sanctuary just at the beginning of the opening song led by a wonderful worship band.  Kim and I stood and joined in the singing.  Dan sat in his seat, closed his eyes and was noticeably praying.  The song ended.  

Following announcements and community prayer time, the band presented three or four worship songs in succession.  Dan remained sitting.  The moment came during the singing of the second song.  Dan stood up.  I know in my hopeful heart that this is the beginning of his final loss of addiction and his eventual departure from his world of homeless living.

I looked at Dan as he stood between Kim and me and as he sang and gently clapped his hands to the beat of the worship songs.  I saw the sparkle of hope in his reborn eyes and I remembered Dad, looking down to him as he sat for a song and looked up through his tired eyes.

Sitting and Standing… The Beginnings of Two Endings 

[1] Dan had been in a hospital for a few days for an issue not related to his addiction and detoxed during that time.

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