Memorial Service for Ronald Anthony Scholer

Memorial Service for Ronald Anthony Scholer
November 23rd, 2011

We gather here to remember Ronald Anthony Scholer’s life. And what a life it was. I enjoyed his son Frank’s remark that “One picture, and you would know my dad.” So what would those pictures be?

Picture one would be a wedding photo with Dorothy. They met in a rather unique fashion. Dorothy was a witness to an accident and that is how they met. Not quite sure how he pulled it off – but in less than 3 months they were married. Speaking to Ron’s power of persuasion – I can only imagine what Dorothy’s conversation with her parents was like on that matter! Marriage was important. They created a marriage of 40 years reflective of what marriage should be like – simple things – dinner, little walks, holding hands, with love at the core. Friends shared in that love through games of cards and double dates.

Picture two would be a photograph of him with Frank, Brian, and Jaclyn. Each of the three felt he loved them no matter what and held a strong desire for them to be happy, even to the point of worry, at times worrying too much. Being a parent is an incredible gift but when children grow to be adult friends – real friends, deep friends – the gift is ever wider. That connection in itself was built one snapshot at a time – from a Phillies game, another fishing, a third a stroll, a fourth around a campfire. In speaking to his kids it is striking how each very special and very loved each felt in their dad’s eyes. A best friend. A cheerleader. A confidant. A dad.

Picture three would be the grandkids. Keith and Brittany. Riley and Cole. Abby. It is may be the hardest part for me to speak of because again and again people spoke of how much he truly loved them with all his heart. Your poppop loved each of you deeply. His greatest pride and interest in many ways was you. His passing does not change that.

And what would picture four be? It can only be one thing – dinner with all of you. It was interesting hearing again and again about food. It was not about an organic dish from Whole Foods but about FOOD – German, Comfort Food, Vegetables (not so much).

The math appears rather simple. As far as I can figure Ron held a 4 fold multiplier in his head. If four people were coming over, that meant cooking for 16. If six were coming, that would have meant 24. Following that rule, I shudder to think of how much food he would have prepared for this group!

And what do these four snapshots create? They create a mosaic of life well lived –a wonderful banquet, an incredible picnic, grill and all.

There is this wonderful story of gathering for a meal in the New Testament where Christ gathers his followers, His disciples, for a last meal before His passing – a very human mosaic of sorts. He begins by telling the 12 how much joy it brings Him to gather with them – to share a meal. He then gives thanks for life, breaks bread, shares wine. That is the Eucharist.

The word Eucharist means to “give thanks.” It is wrapped around a root word that means “Joy” and “Grace.” It is a giving thanks and a call. A well-lived life like Ron’s is the same. His life – all life –  is something to be deeply grateful for and to hear as a call. Granted it is hard to hold it that way when the pain of passing is absolutely real and crushingly present. And maybe, just maybe, we can pause in that journey through grief to smile at the little piece of light that we can hold.

And the call I think, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, is this – be all eye and see slowly. Be all eye – yes see the grief, feel the loss. And see what else is there – a man who did it really well, who may not have cured cancer or made millions but who mattered. A man who took great care – care of his family and friends – a man who relished that role. And see slowly – take time to move away from living as an emergency and see slowly enough to witness the grace around you. To see his life and imagine his legacy inspiring yours. The breakings in life are loud and demanding of attention. The blessings are most often quiet and almost hidden in plain sight. We have to them see slowly.

And if we can do those two – being all eye and seeing slowly – we can learn to break ourselves open and pour ourselves out in the lives where we find ourselves – the very core of Eucharist, of giving thanks, of the call of a life well lived, of joining together in a meal of gratitude. People who are able to do that, like Ron, show up as Husbands, Fathers, Grandfathers, and Friends. (with a lot of food and a smile)

Ron right now is waking to a new life. The snapshots of this life remain strongly with him. The life he is moving into is one in which the best parts of him will grow stronger and stronger, and the weaker parts like stubbornness move more and more into the background. He will not – cannot – forget you because all of you are engraved by love on his life. In heaven, as in all places where we are joyously engaged, time is of no import. In a blink, you will see him again.

And how will you see him? Probably pulling up in a Ford. Checking in. Inviting you over. And when you arrive, way too much food and a look from your husband, your dad, your grandfather, your brother, your friend that says very simply how much he loves you and how joyous he is to have you home. And in that moment, you see Ron – all – in one picture.

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