Some friends and I debated religion a few weeks ago. It was more of a philosophical discussion, really, rather than faith-based. We talked about the development of different belief structures, the purpose of organized religion and the varying roles that religious faith plays in society.
I realized yesterday, while attending a memorial service at St. Bart’s, that we had failed to mention one very import role of religion. Comfort.
It was comfort I was seeking as I sat in that pew struggling to make sense of the death of a young man who had fought a fierce battle against cancer.
And it was comfort that I found (at least to some extent), not from solemn readings and hymns, but from the stories told by those who knew this man best.
We were gathered to morn the loss of a husband, father, brother, son, classmate and dear, dear friend. But with those stories, we were able to celebrate his life. And what a life it was. Filled with love, laughter and light.
As evidenced by the crowded church, John Lobdell touched many lives. He was, quite simply, a legend in Oxford. Whether or not you traveled in the same circles, you knew John. He was larger than life. And to contemplate his death at the age of 35, is almost unfathomable.
I can’t claim to have known John as well as many of those that attended the mass, but he still helped create some of my best high school memories. And as those who knew and loved him best shared their stories (leaving out the ones deemed inappropriate for the surroundings), I could almost feel John’s presence and hear his laugh.
My thoughts and prayers go out to his loving wife and two beautiful sons, his mother and sisters, close friends and all the rest of that he has left behind. May you all find some comfort in the fact that memories of John live on in the hearts of many.
You will be missed by many, John. And you will always be remembered with love and laughter.