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Eulogy for Rosie Decker

Eulogy offered for Rose Decker at her funeral on December 10, 2005, by her friend Liska Stefko.

When Wisdom came to me, all good things came with her, and in her hands uncounted treasures…
She is more mobile than any motion, a breath of the power of God.
She is a reflection of eternal light, a mirror of the working of God, and an image of God’s goodness.
In every generation she passes into holy souls and makes them God’s friends and prophets;
For there is nothing that God loves more than the person who is at home with Wisdom.

– Wisdom of Solomon 7:11-28

A man with the eye of an artist
and a poet’s knack for naming and framing reality,
Tom Krysiak often describes people he knows as characters
from his favorite movies.
On a holiday trip with Rosie a few summers back
when a Star Wars film was re-released,
Tom was asked which of the film’s stars reminded him most of Rosie.
After pausing for just a second, Tom replied:
Green man, small, with a cane. Yoda.

Tom’s right: Rosie DOES possess the commanding force,
concentration, and wisdom of a Jedi master.
And Tom’s right in that
Rosie certainly DOES have a way of captivating our imagination.

Like all great prophets, Rosie had some unconventional habits
That startled us out of our everyday, ho-hum ways of looking at things.
Ezekiel ate the scroll,
John the Baptist ate locusts and honey
and waded in the Jordan River in his camel hair suit.
And Rosie Decker twirled her wooden pasta stick,
Drew circles around us in her leaning, teetering gait,
and was not beyond trying to drink the occasional votive candle
at Dayspring on a Friday night.

Pay attention, says Rosie, in constant motion, circling, always circling,
Pay attention, says Rosie, twirling her stick,
So I can show you what God desires for us.
So I can tell you about the countless treasures God has for us,
Treasures that can’t be exhausted, much like myself.

And what treasures!
Here are just a few of those countless treasures
that Rosie brought to those who lived with her
And worked with her and were close to her,
Especially in these past few treasure-filled months:
Treasures like sisterhood, says Michael Arnett: Rosie is my twin sister.
…love, says Arliss: Rosie loves me, I give her hugs for it.
…joy, deep joy, in the way she’d wind up her shoulders,
bring her hands to her face, and start rocking and giggling,
flashing a smile that could light up the room.
breaking down barriers, reaching out to people
and softening even the toughest of hearts.
…courage, in grabbing and chugging the cup of life almost to its last drop,
then asking for refills.
…patience, in the way she called us to be attentive to her every move.
…hope for new life, in the way that she stood tall
and carried herself with such grace and vibrance
after the confines of her hidden early years.

If we share these treasures, we are God’s friends.
There is nothing that God loves more
than the person who is at home with Rosie.
Michael, John, and Arliss, and all those so close to you
who love Rosie so deeply, that’s you.

In grabbing our attention
and captivating our imagination,
and bearing countless treasures,
Rosie carves out for us an icon–
Perhaps with the knives she was always trying to steal
from the kitchen drawers–
An icon of the Wisdom of God.
A reflection of God’s light,
an image of God’s goodness,
a mirror of God’s working.
More mobile than any motion,
A breath of God’s power,
Circling, hovering, crooning, holding us close.
At once gentle and powerful, fierce and tender.

I think Rilke must have had you in mind, Rosie, when he wrote:
I live my life in widening circles
That reach out across the world.
I may not complete this last one
But I give myself to it.
I circle around God, around the primordial tower.
I’ve been circling for thousands of years
And I still don’t know: am I a falcon,
A storm, or a great song?

Rosie, of this I am very certain: you are a great song.