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Two Years Later

The Interfaith Tree

5/4/2013: The Interfaith Tree at Lake Forest College where Ron’s ashes were laid.

Think how much your life has changed in the past two years. What were you doing then and what was important to you? Two years ago seems both like yesterday and forever ago. Two years ago today, on 4 May, Ron moved on to another form of existence, yet so much of him remains with us.

I could write for weeks, but today means something different to everyone who knew Ron, so my personal reflection won’t be interesting. Instead, I’ll let you know that Common Ground is Celebrating Ron Miller at a restaurant in Deerfield, IL on May 19th. I also want to share a poem that Ron found particularly insightful and one that gave me a lot of insight two years ago as well. It is from Rumi, the 13th century Sufi mystic.

On the day I die, when I’m being
Carried toward the grave, don’t weep.

Don’t say, “He’s gone”, “He’s gone.”
Death has nothing to do with going away.

The sun sets and the moon sets,
But they’re not gone. Death
Is a coming together.

The tomb looks like a prison
But it’s really release into Union.

Your mouth closes here
And immediately opens
With a shout of joy there.

(Note: I have seen several translations of this same poem, but this is the one my dad casually emailed to me when he mentioned that he’d like it read at the “final” celebration of his life someday. And it was.)

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3 Responses to “Two Years Later”

  1. Seth Daniel Watson 4 May 2013 at 9:55 am Permalink

    Beautiful words that Ron chose. I love this photo of the Interfaith tree and can feel those campus paths and the greens under foot, seeing the library and commons beyond. I like thinking that Ron’s spirit imbues the campus. Thats heartening and great for those who still cross those paths.

  2. Mary Moneypenny 5 May 2013 at 4:57 pm Permalink

    That poem above reminds me of another with which some of you may be familiar — I think Ron would approve:

    Do not stand at my grave and weep

    Do not stand at my grave and weep
    I am not there. I do not sleep.
    I am a thousand winds that blow.
    I am the diamond glints on snow.
    I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
    I am the gentle autumn rain.
    When you awaken in the morning’s hush
    I am the swift uplifting rush
    Of quiet birds in circled flight.
    I am the soft stars that shine at night.
    Do not stand at my grave and cry;
    I am not there. I did not die.

    Mary Elizabeth Frye

  3. Thomas Rollins 21 May 2013 at 6:53 pm Permalink

    Oh my. I am struck with such sadness. I just found out about his passing. Ron Miller was my Freshman advisor and the man whose class I was in when we found out about 9/11, 8 AM’s were so hard, but I have always been thankful I went that day. He single-handedly shaped my perception of those events with his cool, calm and educated lecture that day about what is happening and who not to blame. I am almost in tears writing this because as a man, there was no one better. I’m am at a loss and only wish the greatest for those that were nearest to him. Please accept these delayed condolences for your loss and the world’s loss of a great man.


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