I have only met Erin a couple of times over the years,
and never twice,
in the same country.
Yet, Erin is the most fascinating person
I have every spoken with.
and her mind...
Erin thinks on so many levels
at the same time.
Not always about the most practical things,
sometimes very deep,
And sometimes her subtly is only realised,
long after her words were spoken.
I feel very fortunate that
much of our conversations were in writing.
I would have misunderstood most of what Erin was saying.
Erin wanted to change the world for the better.
And I believe that was well understood
by most people who have met her.
I'd like to share one such story.
Now, I have to preface any story about an adventure
with Erin by beginning:
"You're not going to believe this,
but it's all perfectly true.
I was there."
Five years ago,
on my way from Guatemala to Denmark,
I stopped by Israel.
Because, catching up with Erin,
is like playing Carmen Sandiago,
a world wide game of twister,
an unbounded hide and seek.
While one rarely knew where Erin was or
what she was doing,
one could be certain
that it was a extraordinary.
Erin was in the process of becoming Catholic
and was scheduled to be
Baptised in Boston in the Spring,
so in the meantime,
she took the opportunity to
try out being a Jew for a while.
Of course what better place to exercise
both Catholicism and Judaism,
than to visit the Holy Land.
And while on a Jewish retreat
among many other things,
Erin wanted to help the poor
including the Palestinians.
Perhaps that lead to some conflict of opinion.
You see Erin was perfectly aware of
structures and boundaries,
or at least
she was aware that everyone else
seemed to agree that boundaries existed,
but she simply chose not to believe in them.
Country borders, religious denominations, race, gender,
even languages were just artificial barriers between
two people or many.
Erin wanted to tear down walls and bring people together.
She believed that that was one of
the core tenants of all religion.
To cut through the bullshit,
love all without prejudice,
and seek harmony,
with and for everyone.
And she was right.
But not everyone agreed.
And sometimes the more she tried to
break social structures
and chains around her,
the tighter those same
chains were applied to her own wrists.
I think that was her great struggle.
So, anyway, Erin and I rented a car and
drove around Israel.
We saw some ancient sites,
hiked in the desert,
visited towns that you might know from the Bible
and floated in the Dead Sea.
But what I remember best was back in Jerusalem.
Let me tell you...
There is no more magical experience possible than
walking around the ancient city of Jerusalem
She will make you believe in a
power far greater than yourself.
A truly religious experience.
I mean it.
Down on your knees, arms in the air, in awe.
I won't try to explain that.
So, after submitting our prayers in the Western Wall,
having been escorted out of the Haram al-Sharif,
the Temple Mount, by Israeli military,
we visited the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem
and attended mass.
We were just two of about a dozen participants in
the beautiful old cathedral.
The service was a bit long
and it was in Arabic
and Erin wanted to stay to the end
in fact, she urgently wanted to chat with
the Archbishop of Jerusalem.
Eventually we were invited to a
private discussion with His Excellency
Erin related the miracles of life
and the glories of the Universe.
These two beings discussed everything
and nothing for quite some time.
I suppose the Archbishop or the auxiliary bishop thought
that the conversation might not have been
so he asked:
"Erin, what is your relationship to Jesus?"
Erin answered as best she could
and continued to explain that she thought
Jesus on the Cross
symbolised a tree
rooted in the Earth
reaching up toward heaven.
This tree represented nature,
our relationship to nature,
Transcendence not from nature,
but transcendence from our selves.
Perhaps Jesus thought we needed to
take better care of God's creation.
Jesus's death on the Cross and redemption
was a message for the modern world.
Our Earth is bleeding,
and needs to be resurrected.
The gentleman representing
the Catholic Church listened attentively.
I believe he was surprised by
Erin's interpretation of the Gospel.
With some concern for Erin, he said:
"Erin, God created this world for your enjoyment."
You should simply ask, "God, what do you want?"
I suppose this was meant to comfort Erin
and it was well received.
It was my opinion at that moment,
that God had already told Erin what God wanted and
Erin was there to share
with the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem
what God wanted.
And it was Good.