Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A little bit of irreverence

Maybe it's the aging process, but I find that I learn more these days from paying attention to those who step aside from the conventional, follow something of their own beat, and chart their way.  I have a growing appreciation for the "maverick" even if that one is classy and attractive.

We lost such a person late last fall.  Her name was Debbie Starrette.  I find that as I think about her today that I am still learning from her. 

I said at her funeral service that I regret not ever sharing with her that I viewed her as an "aesthetic philosopher."  She really was.  Her tilt was toward things beautiful, especially that which she could help create.  Music, floral arrangements, place settings at a table....all works of art when touched by Debbie's hand and heart.  Her efforts also coupled with the desire to find the right path of wisdom.

A friend of Debbie's daughter wrote Emily after her passing and included this paragraph in her note:
"I am filled with the deepest, breath-taking sorrow for you for the loss of your beautiful Mother.  She was such an interesting mix of strength and gentleness, class and a little bit of irreverence, warmth and determination.  I enjoyed and admired her greatly" (italics mine).

Aahh, the little bit of irreverence.  I caught it on numerous occasions.  The gleam in her eye, the toss of her head, the almost-under-her-breath chuckle.  Among her numerous talents, Debbie also developed the skill of never taking herself too seriously.  And she certainly would not abide those who did take themselves seriously.

For all her giftedness, Debbie was never one to "work the room."  She had no need to really be noticed or to be in charge.  Some even thought her shy and that she would withdraw if there was something painful.  I have now figured out that such was not the case.  If it didn't work for her, she just moved on to something else that would.  Her leave-taking was not in anger or spite.  She just realized that she could find what she needed if she continued the search.  There may have been something about her reminiscent of "shaking the dust off her feet" and moving on.  As I said on that day when we especially remembered her, "She did it her way."  She really did.  Not in arrogance.  Just finding what worked for her, so she, in turn, could do the work of sharing gifts and being human.

A few also knew Debbie in those moments of their own deep pain.  They looked up and there she was.  She got into settings that others would never dare.  She comforted and cajoled, whatever was needed at the time.  And when she left, folk were ever so glad she had come.

I want to be like her in some measure.  Not taking myself too seriously.  Using and developing my gifts.  Making choices and moving on to find what will work and will make me stronger.  And looking at it all with that sense of earthiness......that little bit of irreverence.

Bless her.  I miss her.

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