The second funeral service I ever wrote and presided at was for an artist who was the family's gay and ex-communicated black sheep. The service was at a funeral home on the South Shore, a mash up of Irish Catholic extended family who were pained by not being in the parish hall, and chosen family from Boston, Provincetown, and Paris all being as respectful as possible and showing up for their friend.
As I stood in a door way after the service an elegant man much taller than I leaned over to whisper in my ear, "you honored our friend", and I knew I had somehow, maybe even artfully, been the right bridge for all these people to cross together because an Aunt had said to me moments before that she'd find someone like me instead of the Priest when her time came because "this was just so real. "
I came across these words tonight that I had (of course) forgotten ever writing, because... such is life:
D’s purpose was to be one of those people charged by Creation to bridge the ordinary and the extraordinary through their unique way of seeing and expressing. This is the task of artists, to bridge. As a result, like a bridge, artists get walked on a bit, they are more affected by the elements, their inner tides run counter to convention and, while artists some times make others uncomfortable with their ability to see, they inevitably need supporting structures in order to survive the process of creating.
In return they gift us with the illumination of soul that they are somehow able to interpret back to us in color and texture and the arc of a line. ...
The bridge between mortality and infinity is not a comfortable place for the living to linger. Let us dare to stand on this bridge. Let us be proud to know people with this courage to create. Let us be grateful for art and the people who reflect back to us the beauty they find in the universe.