Sunday, 10 December 2017

(No one knows me) like the piano. . .

And you know I'll be back home. . . 
A tribute blog post to Lole Lafoai. . . 

When news broke that you had passed away, it came just after I had said goodbye to another important member of our church community.  You were a lay preacher for over 50 years and a Sunday School teacher for one of my older brothers.  Back when church services ran in both the morning and the evening, you often lead the evening services if the main minister at the time was not feeling well.  It was a way for you to cut your teeth on the cloth and to preach to us about the word of God in a succinct and matter of fact way.  We would only see glimmers of your sense of humour in one to one conversations rather than from the pulpit.  This was a testament to how you took your role seriously in the church.  A work ethic that I admired and continue to admire as I think about you.

No one knows me like the piano in my mother's home
You would show me I have something, some people call a soul
And you drop-topped the sky, oh you arrived when I was three years old
No one knows me like the piano in my mother's home

I taught your granddaughter Siobhan in Sunday School when she was quite young.  A shy and introverted young child who seemed lost in her own quiet spaces, away from the other demanding children in her class.  I often wondered about what she thought about in class.  She would respond when she was asked questions, but wouldn't initiate asking any questions or contribute to classroom discussions.  She took a couple of years to warm into the expectations of being at Sunday School but seeing her with you showed me how dedicated you were to her understanding how great a place faith played in your life.  This was the legacy you wanted to pass on to her.

You know I left, I flew the nest
And you know I won't be long
And in my chest you know me best
And you know I'll be back home

I spoke to your son after the family service and he was happy I had come to play for the service.
He knew that I had taken time away from playing for any services because of my studies.  He had mentioned that he had said to his family while I was playing, wow, she came to play for Dad even though she's taken leave.  I told him that there was no doubt in my mind that I would miss paying tribute to his father for the world.  He was happy to hear how my studies are going and that I would be returning to church soon enough.  My father said his eulogy on behalf of the other lay preachers.  We sang a couple of songs that I hope you liked.  He struggled to say much about you, only because your works speak for themselves - there's really no need to say what you've done in your lifetime.  It just feels like they will be things that will always be remembered by those who love you and know you best.

An angel by her side, oh, all the times I knew we couldn't cope
They said that it's her time, no tears in sight, I kept the feelings close
And you took hold of me and never, never. never let me go
'Cause no one knows me like the piano in my mother's home
In my mother's home

I hope that your life will continue to serve as a reminder for us all to continue to think about what we need to do.  I would like to think that we would all be able to remember you in the best ways that help us to reach our goals.  I hope that your wishes will be honoured and all of your very own hopes and dreams that you held for your family.  Thank you for your service and thank you for being an inspiration to serve.  Often it is easy to get distracted by things or people that serve no purpose in your life.  Thank you for your teachings and your humble spirit.  Manuia lou malaga Lole.  It won't be long before I'll be back in my mother's home . . .