Sunday, January 18, 2009


Today I got the news about a friend, Pekka, that, last week, his life came to an end...We were not close friends really, and long periods would go by when I didn't see Pekka around, but we have talked and hung out a little in the church café over the last 4 years, and we had prayed together a number of times, which is saying something...I sat with him the very first time I attended an all-Swedish language service back when I couldn't say much...He was from Finland, he was a very good folk guitarist:  once he played accompaniment to our friend Maria who was belting out soul-blues in Roumanian: wow!...He and I sat quite a few times and discussed music, he was a regular at our unevenly-frequented Jazz Corner evenings.  As recently as a month ago we were talking about the untimely death of a shared favorite jazz artist Esbjörn Svensson...Pekka sat out in the New Life Café a lot during meetings, and so I would find him there and stop and say Hi...The last exchange we had was around Christmastime this year, when we were talking about a family trip we'd made to Helsinki in July, and he asked about my son Patrick and daughter Claire, how they were doing and all...I appreciated that interest he showed...In fact, I will remember, among other things, the fact that I usually felt better after talking to Pekka:  somehow our short conversations, his eager, interested questions, even the subject (music, travel, Finland, America, guitars) would lift me up.  Thanks, brother!

Because he was a brother.  In Christ.  He was also alone.  I know he was, for many who knew him a lot longer, someone who had deep needs and struggles after a hard go of it in this life...A few had closer, regular contact with him, giving over and over again of their time and company in earlier times.

You know those people who are not really close friends, and you don't know real well, but you see them over a long period of time, have sporadic conversations, and they, on some level at least, become a part of your life anyway, they add something good, they enrich your life, and you are sad to see them go, and you will miss them.

And I am sad because he was alone out there somewhere.

I will miss Pekka. It ended here too soon.  But, brother, I will see you again some day, where you are now at peace, you are home among countless friends, no one is lonely, you are with the Lord, and someone is enjoying a new song you are playing....

Peace to the memory of you, our brother Pekka.

(photos: Pekka playing at 59 Minuterfest, 2006, and Östersjön seen from the Viking Lines boat to Finland, 2008 )


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