Our family friend Carol who died on Wednesday was a fighter. She fought lung disease for many years. But she fought other things too - for peace and justice, for oppressed peoples in Central and South America, pushing at the edges of the church, expecting more, questioning. She was inspirational to me - I could listen to her stories for hours. She was a funny, artistic, outside-the-box, creative, political, musical, irreverent, crazy, and deeply spiritual 60-something woman.
The Irish tell a story of a man who came to the gates of heaven and asked to be let in.
St. Peter said, "Of course! Just show us your scars."
The man said, "I have no scars."
St. Peter said, "What a pity. Was there nothing worth fighting for?"
The other day, my daughter found this crumpled-up leaf with a dead monarch butterfly on it. I put it on the windowsill today, and thought of Carol and hoped that there is beauty in death - as hard as it may be for the living to see.