Rachel Bissex

Rachel’s funeral was yesterday, up in Vermont. As I moved through the day yesterday, I
thought more and more about her. I swapped emails with Annie Wenz this week. Annie was a very good friend of Rachel’s, and in addition to being a fine singer-songwriter, she was a psych nurse for many years. I told Annie I could think of no one better to help Rachel and her family through those last days than her. I think she’ll probably post some of her own thoughts about Rachel’s life and death as the days pass.

For my part, I found myself listening to a lot of Rachel’s music yesterday. It was sort of a way to be in spiritual solidarity with all those who were gathered, during those same moments, in Vermont to say goodbye. The first song that leapt immediately to mind is Rachel’s song, Royal Blue, which features the great chorus, “Do not be afraid.”

But the song that grabbed me, and brought tears to my eyes as I drove around yesterday, was “In White Light.” (click on the song title for a clip of it…) I thought about all those folks gathered to say goodbye to her. I don’t believe Rachel was saying goodbye to everyone through this song. But now, in retrospect, it’s easy, and hard, to hear it that way. Had to pull the car over when the last verse came on.

Any song about the moon is also going to remind me of song circles at Kerrville. I can remembersome of the circles, last year I think, at SingKerrnicity, which was a favorite camp of Rachel’s. The moon was so bright, that the SingKerrnicity folks moved their circle out into the meadow, and just let the light of the moon shine down on everyone. Out at the Ranch, it really does bathe everyone with an incredible white light….and on the fields and meadows…the tops of your heads. And you can see everyone, but not their faces…just the glowing outlines. So, as you sit around the circles, it’s as if the
music comes out of nowhere, out of these shapes across the circle from you. And the moon bathes and graces it all. I have a memory of Rachel there, singing in the moonlight.

I hope many of you will visit her website, and buy her music. I know that that is a way that her legacy can continue, and that you can help her help her children in the future.

In White Light
Words and music by Rachel Bissex

“The sun goes down
the moon comes up
lighting the earth
just enough
to see my face looking up
at her full size on the horizon.

Mama did her best, it’s true.
Papa too.

Now they’re gone
i’m on my own
the moon will see me safely home
as I drive this road alone
she will bathe me in white light.

In white light….

The sun come up
the moon dissapears
but she’ll be back later on my dear
tonight she’ll shine
with a little less light
with all her might.

I pushed a boy into the world
now he wears a uniform

I bore a son
my only one
the moon will see him safely home
as he walks his path alone
she will bathe him in white light

In white light….

It’s time to go
i hope you know
the moon will see you safely home
as you live your life alone
she will bathe you in white light

In white light….”

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Eric Folkerth is a minister, musician, author and blogger. He has been Senior Pastor of Northaven United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas since 2001. During his tenure, church membership has grown almost 30 percent, and a completely new church facility (sanctuary and education building) has been constructed. Northaven is a leading progressive Christian congregation in the Southwest. Northaven is an eclectic collection of gay and straight families, artists, musicians, theater folks, academic theologians, lawyers and judges (go figure), socially conscious community activists, people who don't "check their brain at the door," and a wide array of others who either see it as their "last chance" inside the "institutional church," or their first trip back in decades. Eric is an avid blogger and published author.  Eric is also an award-winning singer-songwriter, who performs throughout Texas and the Southwest. He's an engaging live performer whose first CD was released in 2000. His songs have won honorable mention in both the Billboard and Great American song contests; and he's been a finalist in the 5th Street Festival and South Florida Folk Festival songwriter competitions. Eric is also a leader of Connections, a unique band comprised of United Methodist clergy and layfolk from throughout North Texas. Connections performs "cover shows" of artists like Dan Fogelberg, Chicago, Eagles, Doobie Brothers, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, James Taylor and others. Their shows draw crowds of between 300 and 1,000 fans, and they have raised more than $240,000 dollars for worthy charities. Eric has led or co-led hundreds of persons on mission trips around the globe, to places such as Mexico, Haiti, Russia, and Nepal. He has worked with lay persons to build ten homes, and one Community Center, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Dallas. He's a popular preacher, and often tackles challenging issues of social justice in his writings and sermons. His wife, Judge Dennise Garcia, is a State District Judge for Dallas, County. As judge of the 303rd Family District Court, she consistently gets high ratings from area lawyers, and was named "best judge" by The Dallas Observer. First elected in 2004, she was the first Latina ever elected to a county-wide bench in Dallas County. She was re-elected for a third term in 2010. They have the world's best daughter, Maria, and an incredible dog, Daisy. (As always, if you like this post, then "like" this on Facebook by clicking the box below, so others can see too...)

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