Monday, May 20, 2013

In the midst of life

Just a little while ago, I received the sad news that (apparently about two weeks ago) William Gaines Swanson died in a diving accident in San Francisco Bay. William was a professional diver, but most who knew him will think of him for his ministry within the Episcopal Church and for his dedication to social justice. Although he lived in a wealthier part of the Bay Area, he and his wife Helene were much more comfortable feeding the homeless out in a park or setting up programs for Katrina's Dream, a nonprofit that the couple set up along with his father, and which honors his mother, The Reverend Katrina Swanson, one of the very first women to be ordained to the priesthood in the Episcopal Church. 

William was not someone I knew terribly well.  I have been connected to both he and Helene and The Reverend George Swanson (also a priest, and William's father), via social media.  It was  his parents Katrina and George though who first reached out to me years ago when I established an internet presence for lgbt Anglicans.  George continued to stay in touch with me after dear Katrina lost her battle with colon cancer.  More recently I finally got to meet their dear son William in person and see the great love he had and the wonderful excitement for giving back, that filled his life. 

As I said, I did not know William well, but if ever there was a posterboy for this blog, it would really have to be William Swanson.  The example of his life is the kind of thing I write about here every day.  I am saddened by the news of his passing, and my love and prayers go out to his wife and his father.  In the midst of life - the midst of doing wonderful things, our plans sometimes are halted.  None of us knows how long we will be here.  We should each try to do the best we can and to make a difference in this world of ours.  William Swanson worked very hard to change this world.  William loved.  So much of William's energy was spent creating a better place for us all. I am blessed that William Swanson came my way.

In the midst of life we are in death:
of whom may we seek for succour,
but of thee, O Lord,
who for our sins art justly displeased?
Yet, O Lord God most holy,
O Lord most mighty,
O holy and most merciful Saviour,
deliver us not into the bitter pains of eternal death.

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