All My Life’s A Circle

I visited Harry Chapin’s grave on Monday.

I had gone to Huntington Rural Cemetery for Al Hesse’s funeral. Al joined the church in 1968. His daughter, Debbie, teaches the three-year-olds in Noah’s Ark.  I led a prayer service for Al on Sunday night and then a pastor/friend led the funeral on Monday morning. It was quite meaningful for me to sit and listen to someone else lead a service, and it was especially so in this case as I was impressed by the love shown in the Hesse family.

Whenever I go to Huntington Rural (New York Avenue, south of the village) I look around for Chapin’s grave. I was a huge fan of his in college and soon after I moved to Huntington I read an article about him that mentioned that he was buried in this cemetery. The article had said his headstone was a natural looking rock, but I could never spot it.

Monday, as the mourners assembled around Al’s coffin, I looked around and saw a rock that looked like it belonged on the side of a Colorado mountain with pine trees flanking each side. There were lots of little rocks stacked on top of the stone. Following the graveside ceremony I walked over, and, sure enough, Harry’s stone. It was a sacred moment for me.

Harry’s music was important to me because of the passion in his voice and the conviction of his life. I loved the drama in Harry’s music, but mostly his commitment to end world hunger. He truly lived as he preached—at times performing almost half of his concerts for charity. I was reminded of this recently when Todd McGowan made a gift to the church for our new heating system and he said that he had always wanted to emulate Harry by donating a significant portion of his income.

Different people inspire us through the course of our lives. Who inspired you to become the person you are today? And, who inspired you, but has been forgotten in the rush of life today?

Tuesday morning I pulled out an old Chapin CD that I hadn’t listened to in years, dusted it off, and loaded it in the car stereo. The volume has been cranked, I’ve been laughing, and crying, and singing every word at the top of my lungs. Thank you, Harry.


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