Three Lives, Part 1: David Gentiles
December 31, 2009

David Gentiles: Mentor to many, friend to all.

I’ve been reaching for hugs lately. Tonight hundreds of us commemorated the life of David Gentiles, who for me was a father figure, mentor, pastor, and good friend. David always met everyone, including me, with a warm glow. Open arms, open heart, a smile, sparkling eyes. He opened his arms and accepted everyone. But he not only opened his arms, he wrapped them around you. Warmed you with a sincere hug that made sure you got the point: He loved you. Since he passed on Dec. 18th, I definitely feel a little        space        he left        blank        with his absence. I don’t have him to welcome and encourage me anymore. But I still need someone to do that for me. And tonight I felt him in the tight, sustained hugs I shared with a few friends in my faith community. We are all trying to pick up where he left off, sharing the morsels of love that he apparently felt were divine gifts to him to pay forward.

So I don’t claim to know the characteristics of God, but if the spirit of David Gentiles is any indication, God must love us all, even if we don’t believe in him. Thank you, David, for being a reflection of a divine acceptance. (This post by Donald Miller, which details Don’s eulogy during the service, says more about David’s character.)

David’s part in my life represents the latest phase of my spiritual journey, a time when I have given up playing religious games and started to open up, in raw honesty, about my doubts. Since giving up in what has been for me the game of faith, oddly enough, I feel like I have caught clearer glimpses of what God might be like, or at least glimpses of the type of entity that he/she/it is — Good. I thank David Gentiles for radiating that invisible goodness. I may not be able to scientifically prove it, but I know it’s powerful…and it’s good.

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I was planning to save this write-up about David for the last part of this short, three-part series of posts, but I couldn’t wait, especially after tonight’s beautiful experience. So, oh well, I screwed that up.

Anyway, I will be writing two more posts about people who served as markers in my spiritual journey, and who died recently, fading out with 2009. So stay tuned.

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