Today friends and family gathered to celebrate the life of Catherine. Human meaning, being human, the richness of human interaction, to me is not about the grand gestures, but the small pieces. Acknowledging a familiar face elsewhere in the group. A shared laugh in recognition, a small story, shedding a tear in response to someone’s voice breaking up over a tiny anecdote. Catherine’s art displayed around the church, photos from her life being projected. Remembering the conversations we had out on their deck last June. It was very good to be part of it.

Except I wasn’t really. Because the celebration took place on Prince Edward Island, an ocean and five time zones away, and I was at home on my own couch.
Except I really was, and so were some three dozen others from across North-America, around Europe, and Indonesia, amongst which other dear friends of ours, visible to each other in the chat window.

Thanks to the live stream that Peter set-up he enabled us all to participate. Technology was our mediator this afternoon, as it was when I ‘joined’ Oliver’s birthday last year. It once more made true what I’ve held for years, that empathy can flow over copper wires and fiber optic cables. Beaming us into the presence of Peter and Oliver and all those around them, to be witness, to share, and to show and confirm ourselves to each other as being part of shared community. I am grateful it could be that way today.

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