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.


Liz Opp said...


I hadn't known of the support you provided Bonnie. Thanks for taking the time to write and for reminding me that our lives will continue to send out ripples...

All the more reason to stay faithful to the promptings of the Spirit and to be loving even when facing our (perceived) enemies.

Liz Opp, The Good Raised Up

Anonymous said...

I was in her workshop at Gathering this year and feel blessed to have been able to spend four days with her. On the last day, we worshiped and ministered to each other,wrote notes to her family and her meeting, and continued the work that we had started that week with her. She had asked us to support her since you were unable to be with her, and I think we did. She was an amazing woman and I am grateful to have spent some time with her. And I was so impressed with her energy - anyone who can teach yoga at 7am, facilitate a workshop at 9 and, I discovered, contra dance after 9pm is pretty awesome!