There is a beautiful song in the award-winning Broadway musical Hamilton called One Last Time. In the song, George Washington tells Alexander Hamilton that he is stepping down and not running for president. Washington wants Hamilton to draft a good-bye address to “teach them how to say goodbye” and Washington wants “to talk about what I have learned, the hard-won wisdom I have earned.” It’s a great song, a thoughtful opportunity to consider how you would say good-bye, if you had the chance to close a chapter and then move on to what’s next knowing that you are the better for doing so, saying goodbye allows you to tell people what they have meant to you. If only we would do that proactively.
I kept this bowl all these years because it was a gift, it was made with skill and joy and love. I admire this bowl because for the life of me I have no idea how one knits a glorious bowl like this. When it arrived, the package also included two knitted scarlet and white caps, one for an infant and one a two-year-old toddler; the two boys are now 10 and 12 years old. The bowl and hats were made by someone who lives in Nebraska, once a Husker, always a Husker, and then sent to my house Minnesota. For six years the bowl sat on my office shelf at First Presbyterian Church in Hastings, Minnesota and then it made its way to my office shelf at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Woodbury, Minnesota. It is a reminder that even though distance and years may take us away from each other, the love remains.
The bowl was made by my friend Kim Collins. Kim was a co-worker of mine when I worked at the State of Nebraska. When I quit my job to attend Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey, we kept in contact. When I returned to Nebraska to visit family, there were many times I saw Kim or Mary (my former supervisor) and my other co-workers. You spend time with people in the work setting and then they become part of your life, part of your family.
It is with profound sadness that Kim recently passed away unexpectedly. Her death leaves a hole in my heart which has been filled with love and memories and a knitted bowl. I’m glad I kept it all these years, it is a treasure that embodies generosity and kindness and compassion and thoughtfulness, it is a treasure that embodies the essence of who Kim was, a gift from God, and I am the better for knowing and loving her.