A couple weeks ago I was present at Elizabeth Taylor’s memorial service. Liz passed away after a year long battle with cancer. Liz was the second person I met in West Virginia. She picked me up from a downtown Charleston hotel and drove me to Bluestone for the first time… it was a quick down and back trip right before my first interview for what was then the Resident Facility Manager position. That will have been a full 20 years ago this spring.
I was honored to have a role in Liz’s memorial service. I was asked to play and sing “The Bluestone Song” and lead those gathered in the singing of “Pass It On”. I sat up front in the sanctuary as folks arrived and took their place in the pews at Ruffner Memorial Presbyterian Church and during the prelude before it was time to get up and sing… and as I looked around the sanctuary, there was a really nice turnout of familiar faces. Faces that I first met 20 years ago at Bluestone, and people that continue to be a part my life today because of Bluestone.
Though Liz and I were not particularly close, we shared in the Bluestone thread that connects so many of us together and continues to weave its way through our lives. Liz was a part of that fabric long before I ever thought I’d end up in West Virginia, and she wore the cloth throughout the whole of her life. Sometimes I have wondered whether or not “this thing” we have in Bluestone really matters… whether or not this place has served its purpose as its relevance sometimes seems lost on the current generation. But the connection between Bluestone and the people who have shared in the experience was never clearer as we all gathered to remember Liz. Bluestone is NEVER NOT relevant. Bluestone brings people together in a way most things in our world can’t, and it must be passed on.
Places like Bluestone must continue to exist. If they don’t, we will lose out because it is in sacred spaces like these where we learn and understand on a whole different level what it means to be as we were created to be: the People of God in fellowship with one another. Thank you, Liz, for your witness to this truth in our lives.