Saturday, March 19, 2011

"Scotty" S.

Scotty was my friend.  He died a couple of weeks ago to the surprise of family and friends.  H was so full of life and fight.  He was indefeatable. But sometime he'd learned to surrender. Someone called him to that other big meeting. He just  had to go.  So, like Scotty he 'suited up and showed up'.  Their gain. Our loss. I'll miss him.
Scotty wasn't even his real name. Just a nick name that stuck. He'd come from Scotland to Montreal and Montreal to Vancouver.  He'd married Michelle and been in love with her for decades. "She's the finest woman," he'd say.  .
Scotty  made me laugh when all I could do was cry.  He reached out to me when I thought I was beyond help. He touched me when I thought I was dirty.  He was that way for so many many people. Tolerance and nonjudgementalness were words that characterized his love of others. He wasn't selfless. He was human but service was his passion.
One special day he invited me to come for a walk. I'd been complaining about life.  He told me "God doesn't make shit, Bill".  Then he walked me through some nearby art galleries pointing to the beauty of the paintings.  He talked about art in his quiet way. Then we walked down the street and he stopped at corners where wild flowers grew.  "I got a book once and learned the names of these," he told me then proceeded to share the names of the flowers before us.  "i'd once gotten so far into my head I'd forgotten what a beautiful place the world was."
I hung out with Scotty when I could.  Loved to be with Scotty and Michelle the best.  A kind of calming energy field reaches out from some people.  It touches all around them.  They may struggle with themselves and each other but such is love and spirituality. The consequences  are far reaching.  I disagreed with Scotty and Scotty disagreed with me.  Such are friends. But the friendship lasted years and grew. Every day my appreciation for him as a man, a human and a friend grew that much deeper.
I liked his Scottish accent and his brusque manner. His accent reminded me of my grandfather and Scottish cousins. He was a gifted story teller.
It wasn't that long ago Scotty went home  to play golf on the St. Andrew's course.  "I'm just afraid they'll pair me with some loud mounted superficial American who doesn't understandthe game"  The game was sacred to Scotty. "Imagine being on the greatest golf course in the world and you'll with a fool who won't shut up."   Scotty liked the quiet.  He'd had his share of loudness in his life.
He was a man of the city though.  When we camped together at Alkali Lake he told me he hadn't slept all night in the tent. "I couldn't stop thinking of grizzly bears. How do you do it?" It was the only time I saw my courageous unflappable friend unravelled. He could face the deadliest human but the thought of being eaten by a bear in the wilds of northern Canada had kept him awake all night.   I gave him my extra 'bear banger" - noise maker - and showed him how to use  it.  His blood shot eyes lit up.  "I knew I was missing something."
I was thankful to be able to help Scotty sleep that night. Many times he called me in the wee hours night and I went out to help him with some desperate  man who was paranoid crazy and dangerous in the night. Together we'd talk with him.  Scotty had a way of convincing people there was more to life than suicide or homicide.   I'd help arrange things to get the man into hospital or help the next day.  In the last years Scotty had found his greatest fulfillment helping those in hospital.  In his last days he went to those meetings he'd started for others finding help himself in the sharing..
I'll miss Scotty. I already do. I was always touched by his wisdom.  I was so  proud to count him my friend.  I look forward to when my time comes seeing his face and hearing him say, "I'm glad you've come."  I don't expect him to be wearing socks.
Memorial Service
St. Chad's Anglican, Trafalgar Street, Vancouver, 1pm

1 comment:

haykind said...

Marilyn teaches a course on spirituality for health care workers. I'd be asked to share as well. It was always an honor and inspiration to listen to Scotty share his life story and watch the wonder in the eyes of these older students as Scotty spoke of transforming power.