This post was sort of written in my head last night on my way home from Norwich. Those of you that read my blog regularly will know of the loss of my dearest friend last year. So by the wonders of modern technology (and some good old fashioned sleuthing... well new fangled cyber-sleuthing to be more accurate) I found the details of his interment service yesterday at his Cathedral.
My first inclination was, in all honesty, not to go. It's a long way and the few internet entries I had read had suggested in would be a short service, and to be frank the last time I was in a church was Bishop Michael's funeral, and quite possibly the time before that was his Ordination as Bishop (ooh no, I'm missing out the Chrism Mass last year - but anyway you get my point!). But as time went on and I thought about it, I realised that this was one of those times when you really do need to get up off your lazy *ahem* and be in a place that you know will feel right. One of those things that if you go and don't (not enjoy - that's the wrong word, but you know what I mean) you have lost nothing, but to sit at home and wish you had been there - well that's an opportunity you'd never get again. And as I had been kind of scouring the internet looking for details my head told me that at least some part of me was interested enough to want to go.
So, train details were gleaned and I set my alarm for 5:45 on a Saturday morning (this in itself is quite an event worth blogging about - I'm rarely up before 8, and a little more often than is probably wise to admit to, not up til 9!)
Now the thing is, that having been to the funeral, and the committal I wasn't quite sure of the purpose of being at this service, but assumed I'd get the message when I got there - And yes, I think I did. You see to me (and possibly wrongly, but we are all allowed our thoughts and interpretations aren't we?) This was completing the circle, this was my dear friend FrM coming home. I had been to his ordination and his funeral at the cathedral, and the last thing I really saw was him being carried out of it .... this was him returning home to his place of rest. Where I can always go and find him if I need. His ashes are interred at the base of the icon of St Felix, in the chapel of the Saints at the east end of the Cathedral, and truthfully when I heard that during the service the biggest smile broke out that I had no control over. Not only because St Felix was the first Bishop of the East Angles, but more because his name....... Joy, Happy. FrM's message was always of the Joy of God.
I thought this would be my last visit to Norwich, it was what I had geared myself up for. But it won't be. A part of me will always also feel at home there, in the place where my friend became part of an amazing family. I, too, have met new friends and people who share memories of Fr M. We had great fun at lunch after the service discussing various memories and learning about the "different ages" of FrM and the different ways we had grown to love this strange little man. So, coming home?..... a final resting place, a place of comfort, or a place in your heart where memories and love will always reside? One, some or all of the above.............