As this week passes and it is my turn to reflect on our community again, I can’t help but think of the passing of one of our members, Nancy McCracken. I am sure there were several members of our community who knew her better than me and can share many stories, both funny and rich that reflect the great gift she was to not only St. Georges’ but also Arlington as a whole.
When I think of Nancy the word ‘service’ comes to mind. I found her always willing to do what was asked. I remember her in the early days of the Abbey really struggling with the idea of being contemplative. We had more than one discussion about it. I don’t know that she ever was comfortable with the silence, and truth be told she often fell asleep during the quiet times in the Abbey life. Although I don’t believe she ever grew comfortable with the “contemplative approach” to spirituality, she was in fact a deeply spiritual person in her practical, service oriented way. She definitely wanted to be a member of our budding spiritual community. It was “community” that was the life-blood of her relationship to God. In the book Community and Growth, Jean Vanier founder of L’Arche Communities, describes a variety of gifts that people bring to a community. This one described Nancy for me.
"The gift of availability
Availability for service is one of the most marvelous gifts that we can find in community. People who have this gift trust those in authority and the community itself and take on whatever is asked of them. ….
But it is marvelous for a community to have among its members people with this child-like spirit, who are ready to take on whatever is asked of them. They have confidence that it would not be asked if they were not capable of doing it, by the grace of the spirit.
The gift of availability can be transmitted from one person to another, like a fire of love. It brings a community to life.”
I would love to hear from the Abbey members that knew her well. Please share with us how she touched your life or St. George’s. Let's use this blog as means to honor her presence and her passing in our community.
[posted for Angela by George]