Friday, July 03, 2009

Bonnie Tinker

My friend Bonnie Tinker died yesterday.

She was at the Gathering of Friends General Conference, where she went to teach her class on non-violent communication with The Other--all those Others we encounter. It is a class about transformation of both self and the Other.

I was going to be with her, as I was last year, as her elder, her support person as she taught the class. Last minute complications arose and I could not go.

Both of my girls sought to console me, last night, as though I might be thinking that I should have been there, that if I were this might not have happened.

But I was not her bodyguard, or her guardian angel. I was not with her every minute last year and would not have been with her this year any time she was on a bicycle.

"What about that butterfly thing?" my youngest asked, "the butterfly in the Amazon who beats its wings and that causes..."

I told her that was a notion, something we can never know, something that even if it's true our wondering about it cannot improve our condition or anyone else's.

Then I told them what I did know, stuff that the wondering about could improve our condition. .

I told them that working with Bonnie Tinker changed me--changed us, because they were along much of the time.

Sometimes I dreaded a call from Bonnie because she was involved with hard, hard stuff and was calling to involve me and my family in it. And I knew we had to be there, that we wanted to be there; it's just that it was so hard, what she took on, it demanded so much. Sometimes I wasn't strong enough (yet?) to be responsible--to respond as I wanted to--to her call. And sometimes I was.

Bonnie's example, her support and her encouragement constantly reminded me of my potential to do the things that I really wanted to do--the things I knew I was supposed to do but was afraid I never could. I do my best work under the supervision of responsible women.

It was, and is, just so hard.

She also showed me how to face opposition--from whom I would expect it and from whom it was a betrayal--with a love that put me standing in a place where none could ever hurt me.

I am one of many who will miss Bonnie.

I am also one with whom her spirit will never stop working.