E is for Ed

From Ghost Ranch’s Facebook page:

We are deeply saddened by the sudden passing of our director of education & program yesterday morning, Ed DeLair. Thank you all, for your kind words and sentiments.

Services will be held Monday, February 6, at 10:30 a.m. at the Agape Center at Ghost Ranch. A gathering for lunch will follow in the dining hall.

Please keep his wife Becky and their four children, Eddie, Tom, Will and Eva in your prayers.

Son Eric, who worked at Ghost Ranch this past summer and knew Ed, shared the news with me via a text. Not wanting to believe, I fired a text of denial back to Eric. After some searching, it became clear that I should not have doubted. And then the news from the ranch itself.

Through tears that clouded my heart, an image emerged: a bright July morning, Ed standing outside the Dining Hall, Kitchen Mesa bursting with sun, steam rising from the coffee cup held in his hand, a big smile on his face.

Ed and I met in Israel. He took part in a travel-study seminar to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories organized by the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program. The picture shows him with his presbytery team on that trip. That’s pretty much the same smile he had on the July morning in New Mexico. Actually, that’s pretty much the same smile he always had on his face.

Over the years we bumped into each other at various places around the denomination. Most recently, we had several conversations at Ghost Ranch this past July. Clearly Ed was where he wanted to be, where he was supposed to be. And now, for reasons I cannot explain, he is not.

Many words come to mind to describe Ed – you can see a lot of them on his Facebook pageon the Ghost Ranch Facebook page:

Solid (mutual friend Bob Brashear uses that one; it fits)

I grieve for Ed’s family and friends.

I grieve for the Ghost Ranch staff and the extended Ghost Ranch community.

I grieve for all who have been torn by Ed’s death – all who mourn.

I pray that they have already experienced the grace of God sustaining them and the love of family and friends supporting them as they walk this shadowed valley. I pray they continue to do so.

And I give thanks for the life and love and witness of Ed DeLair who lived – lived well and lived fully.

To paraphrase the Presbyterian service of Witness to the Resurrection: “Even in the face of death – death that comes too soon – we make our song: alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!”

See you along the Trail.

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