Remembering Janet Jones

 

Remembering Janet B. Jones

“Beloved Follower of Christ”

I learned of Janet’s death yesterday. She was found deceased in her home on Van Ness Avenue yesterday morning. My heart was filled with sadness, and grief. 

On the surface one would see Janet as a prim and proper Episcopalian. She was white haired, slender, well educated, but her life was lived as a “Doer of the Word.” She was active in her church participating as a Lector, and in so many other ways, but where she shined was in her service to others. She missed our Good Friday Service last year because she was sitting with someone who was dying; she took the Eucharist to people regularly, she visited the sick, and fed the homeless. Janet was a “Doer of the Word”.

And to me she was a good friend.  Janet has edited our newsletter for years, she spent endless hours editing my dissertation, and when I became ill last week and my phone had been turned off, she emailed me to call her,  to let her know I was alright. I called, and told her I was sick and in bed. Next I knew she sent me an email saying she had paid for food for me for the week to pick up a cross the street; when I had surgery last year, she sat with me several days so I would not be alone; Janet celebrated communion with me several times when I could not do it myself or get out.

More importantly she was a pastor to me. Last year I became bitter after my surgery, it showed in my writing, and my attitude toward others, I was very, very lonely. One day Janet looked me in the eyes, with her all knowing and caring look,  and told me a story of how a young guy taught her that forgiveness was the most important thing in all relationships, and that judgment was useless, and to truly live you lived without judgment and you forgave. She said, “You are that young guy,” pray, and think, and go back to the One who is always with you, and you will find healing.”

That was the beginning of my healing, of coming back to being myself. She taught me that while others may turn, always forgive and we remain whole.

She gave me a poem to read, to reflect upon, and I now leave you  with this poem, and with the knowledge that Janet has now joined that Great Cloud of Witnesses, cheering me on in my ministry, and cheering all of us  in our respective ministries,  until we join her and all the saints.

Love After Love

The day will come the time will come when with elation you will greet yourself arriving at your own door and each will smile at each other’s welcome saying sit here, eat

you will love again the stranger who was yourself.

Give wine, give bread, give back your heart to yourself to the stranger who loved you all your life who ignored you for one another who knows you by heart.

Take down the love letters from the bookshelf, the photographs, the desperate notes, feel your own image in the mirror, see it.

Feast on your life.

Derek Walcot

Janet knew that when we feast on our own lives, seeing our own goodness, we can open ourselves to share that goodness with others. 

Janet:

“May the Lord bless you, and keep you. May the Lord make his face to shine up on you.  May the Lord be gracious to you.  And may the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and grant  you peace. Amen.”

If you would like to remember Janet and her ministry.

Please give gifts to St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 1755 Clay Street, San Francisco, CA. 94109

Fr. River Damien Sims, D.Min.

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

www.temenos.org

415-305-2124

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