Shrouded: Remembering Ben Suddard, the Elder

I was beyond the reach of data and cell towers, so I didn’t find out until hours later. Yesterday, two weeks after his son died, Ben the Elder followed him into God’s embrace.

Ben and his wife were my family’s first neighbors in Wareham, 2002. Quiet, gentle, with the gift of repairing broken things, his skill and humor graced the world. He and his son built the cedar benches that offer rest in the library’s learning garden, a study in sturdiness and simple beauty. Like him, they have made life better without fanfare or flash.

Yesterday, I stood with my husband and younger son on the lower part of Mount Greylock. Flurry clouds obscured a distant mountain, offering only the barest glimpse of a dim and smoky outline. All three of us knew it was there, not one of us could discern its true form. Yet, the mountain, even shrouded, was as real and solid as anything on this earth.

I see Ben in that image, in that moment in time. Quiet. Solid. His life not lost, merely obscured by my limited vision and vantage point.

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Johnna

I am a Christian educator and writer.I have worked in churches, denominational offices, and seminaries. I have a PhD in Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, with a focus on Practical Theology and educating in faith. In 2010, my book, "How the Other Half Lives: the challenges facing clergy spouses and partners," was published by Pilgrim Press. I believe that words can build doorways that lead to encounters with God through the Spirit.

2 thoughts on “Shrouded: Remembering Ben Suddard, the Elder”

  1. Dear Johnna–I’m so sorry for the loss of your friends. May God enfold them in ever-lasting arms of love.

    1. Thanks, Bill. I am nothing but grateful for the gift of having both Bens in my life, and the life of my family, for the past eighteen years. peace, Johnna

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