I heard yesterday that our good friend Treena Kerr died last week. Treena was the wife of former TV cook Graham Kerr. A few hours later I heard that Phyllis Tickle had also died. Two such dear people whose lives have impacted many of us over the years.
I remember the last time we were together with Graham and Treena Kerr we talked about mason bees. In the midst of our conversation Graham asked me Are you a wasp or a bee?
Mason bees are the pollinators in the garden. They are gentle industrious creatures that go from flower to flower and from garden to garden gathering pollen. Unlike honey bees they do not develop hives but lay their eggs in holes in existing wood. Without them the fruit would not develop and we would have no harvest. Even honey bees are a valued addition to any garden. Their sweet nectar cannot be equalled and is regarded by some as the food of the gods. Wasps on the other hand are parasitic. They lay their eggs in the host and their young eat and eventually kill the host.
Graham reminded me that the Western church is filled with WASPS (White Anglo-Saxon Protestants) when it should really be filled with bees. What we need are church members who go out into their gardens (communities) and spread the pollen of God’s good news enabling the flowers (people) to produce fruit that will one day be harvested to feed others. At the same time are we bringing back sweet honey to our own communities that can nurture the young and make them able to become mature adult bees (followers of Christ)
Treena and Phyllis are both people who have been like mason bees in so many gardens and their deaths will be a huge loss to many. Phyllis leaves behind a wonderful array of books that will continue to impact our lives. Treena’s zeal for the work of God’s kingdom was often expressed in poetry and I wanted to end with one of her poems that so expresses who she was:
Where is life?
I turn to find that life is
What is life?
Is it just a path on which one wanders
To and fro?
How is life?
When does one begin to see the reason?
Are our ‘doings’ right or wrong? Or –
are they right for us but wrong for others?
Are others reason for this life or
You seem to leave one drifting
in a bubble without light.
No blues or greens,
no shades or red
Just opaque nothing,
Where are you?
What are you?
Who are you?
Can you make my life worthwhile
so I can make a life of worth
for others that I love?
I know not,
or who you are?
I searched and wondered,
Then was told one day,
The Man of Life once said,
“ I am the Way
Now at last I know, that Life,
is laying down my life,
I remember the Galloping Gourmet from my youth. Now, at 60, I’m all too aware of the fragility of time. I can only imagine the emptiness that Graham must feel at this point in his life. All said, you’ve had a wonder life together – which is all we can hope for. Thanks for you humor, your skills and your commitment to your faith and craft. Can’t thank you enough! Doug
Dear Graham: I don’t know that you will remember me, but I wrote letters for you and Treena when you lived in Wolcott, CO. I remember well our meeting and the few times I was able to fellowship with you. I’m so sorry to hear about Treena’s passing. Truly she was a delight. I just had both of you on my mind today and decided to see if I could find a way to contact you. Be blessed Graham; you have touched many lives and they are richer having know you.
Sharen – Graham will not see your comment but i will try to pass it on to him