When Jan Peerce died, I was reminded to be generously kind.
When Bucky Fuller passed, I was reminded to work for the greater good.
When Dr. Deming left, I was reminded to direct my mind into wisdom.
When Beverly Sills departed, I was reminded to express in grace.
When John-Roger transitioned, I was reminded to love it all.
Recently, during SE’s, the words above flew across my consciousness and I wrote them down. Upon asking myself why, I heard, “These are five for whom you shed tears upon dying.” Reflecting on that, aside from family members and pets (which are family to me) they were those that generated grateful tears upon passing.
When in college, I first met Jan Peerce, a long-established star of the Metropolitan Opera, and a singer whose artistry I idolized. He was what I call “instantly human” with no seeming agenda other than to be fully present. We became friends. I know this because he told me so over a lunch one day, inviting me to stay at his family’s home, should I ever be in his New York neighborhood. Not just dinner or a visit, a stay. I was a kid in awe of his abundant kindness that gave me a completely new standard for the quality of generosity – inwardly and outwardly.
Some years later, I spontaneously purchased a ticket to an event at Carnegie Hall to hear a “soloist” named Buckminster ‘Bucky’ Fuller. Speaking to a packed house, he postulated that the President of the United States was a bit hamstrung in the good he/she could do by swearing to “protect and defend the Constitution ……” in taking the oath of office. Bucky instead choose to, “See what one human being could do on behalf of all humanity.” He then proceeded to demonstrate, without a doubt, there was more than “enough” (food among other things) for everyone on the planet. A joyous, life-changing evening to be in the presence of one genuinely working “for the highest good of all concerned.”
Dr. Deming was recruited by General Douglas MacArthur to assist the Japanese after World War II and is credited as a primary player in turning that economy into an “Asian Tiger”. At age 87, he delivered one of his famous, days-long, seminars in California. I was one of 500 fortunate attendees. His caring, intelligence and ability to teach were astounding. At times, making a point, his voice could be like rolling thunder. One particularly loud punctuation was, “Wisdom isn’t hard to learn, it’s hard to find!” I remember that when my gratitude for “finding” MSIA comes forward with the practical simplicity of the teachings. Deming was rigorous in the very best sense and an inspiration for me to, “Sit down and do these SE’s!”
If Jan Peerce was a star, Beverly Sills was a super-nova, at one time gracing the covers of Time and Newsweek magazines the same week. To hear her sing live was to marvel at the size and beauty of her voice, delivering a musical expression that left listeners awestruck. I never got to meet her to thank her, but to my ears and heart, her expression was a reflection of the feminine polarity in “Father, Mother, God…” Remembering her, my only thought is, “Thank God for the grace of hearing you sing. May my expression at times reflect your inspiration.”
Sometimes when things appear good, but mostly when it seems they aren’t, I try to remind myself to “love it all.” How many times did I see J-R demonstrate that in circumstances – large, medium and small – where I couldn’t imagine how to be loving? More than I care to remember. Didn’t I hear him say, “Be patient, God isn’t finished with you?” I’m grateful for all the keys given to me by Jan, Bucky, Dr. Deming and Sills, but most grateful for the Master Key delivered by a Traveler. His last physical words to me were, “I love you, Tom.” He loved us all. He loves us all.
Death can be a useful reminder that those we love live on.