Both the morning worship service and the morning lecture were emotional for both of us. Father Boyle, our preacher of the week, is a story teller. His sermons are filled with various stories from his work with gangs in LA. Each one is used to reinforce a point. This morning’s sermon topic dealt with living in the moment. He made great use of the word “now” in his message. The message and the stories touched me deeply in that I know this is our last stay at Chautauqua and also that we have been living in the moment (at least trying to) since Kate’s diagnosis. I had tears in my eyes most of the time he was speaking. I don’t know that Kate shed any tears, but she was touched as well. Her expressions were audible ones. Those have become quite common over the past few years
I never thought the lecture itself would be an emotional experience. Perhaps I should have expected it since I knew that music was involved. The first thing that brought tears was Jane Pauley’s singing of “The Way We Were.” When she appeared on stage on Monday, Roger had said she was going to sing today, but she denied it. Apparently, she was having second thoughts knowing that the audience would no doubt have some talented musicians among them. The lyrics were written by Marilyn and Alan Bergman. She was ill and couldn’t be there, but her husband was a delightful person, and their relationship was itself a touching story. He sang parts of a number of their songs and explained how they came to be. The last portion of the “lecture” Bergman sat on a stool beside the piano and sang to of his songs. The last one was one that he and his wife and written for each other. When it ended, even the moderator said that was a fitting end and did not ask for Q&A, a unique occurrence indeed. I noticed a man to my right on the row in front of him wiping his eyes. The woman next to me saw me wiping my eyes. The man directly in front of her had turned around and noticed my tears. I then told the woman next to me that I was especially emotional because my wife has Alzheimer’s and this is our last trip to Chautauqua. She told me her husband died of Alzheimer’s. She wished me well. I gave her a hug. Then Kate and I reflected on the beautiful morning we had had.