This weekend was a sad one. We drove into our hometown to attend the funeral of a man that served as mentor, friend and father to my husband. His death was unexpected. It was the kind of parting that left you wishing that you'd had just one more conversation and one more hug.
When my husband and I were dating, he took me to meet this man. This was the test. This man's perception of me mattered more than anyone else's and he wouldn't hesitate to tell you what he thought. The girl Justin dated before me didn't pass this test. She was pulled aside and told, "I've checked up on you and I know exactly who you are. If you hurt Justin in any way you will be sorry."
My husband ended up breaking it off with her. I was never pulled aside. Instead, when we were expecting our first child, this man used to reach out and scratch my itchy pregnant belly just to see me twitch my leg in ecstasy like a dog. Then he grinned because he knew that even his scratching my belly was a lesson that he was teaching his bonus son. He taught Justin many lessons in the more than thirty years they knew one another.
This man, as wise as he was, was also a sin eater. I think his capacity to take on and absolve others of their sins is what ultimately took him.
If you've never heard the term, a sin eater is a person who takes into themselves the sins of another so that a person can go into the next life free of the weights they carried in this life.
This man was always taking in people like lost puppies and doing what he could to hold them, help them, comfort them and then, when it was necessary, telling them to cut the shit. He had good friends in the highest of places and better friends in the low, and it mattered very little to him why you'd found yourself in either walk of life. He was always happy to see you and to be your friend.
But, as it is with sin eaters, eventually the sins become heavy and destructive. People begin to treat you as if you are unclean and it's also the way you treat yourself. Friends from high places and low places drop away. People watch and gossip from afar, speculating, and taking delight in your fall. They forget all the good you'd brought to the world and poison what's left, all the while trying to find someone else, a replacement, to comfort them by eating their sins. Someone whose glass house hasn't shattered.
My husband's friend, mentor, father...he grew tired, the people who loved him tried to eat his sins, and now I pray to God that he rests well.
My husband is a better man because of you.
Monday, May 06, 2013
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