My last blog entry was “A community of believers.” You’re blessed belonging to one.
Patricia Tryon died April 14 on the Saturday within the Octave of Easter. She was part of the believing community I’ve belonged to these past years. May God bring her a believer’s reward..
“That should be on the internet,” Patricia said on the phone the first time I spoke to her, as she inquired about a book almost 17 year ago.
“I don’t know anything about the internet,” I replied.
“I’ll do it for you and tell you about it, ” she said.
And so began “Bread on the Waters,” (www.cptryon.org) a website “to feed the web-surfer’s spirit” launched in November, 1996, that’s attracted millions since. She opened new worlds for many of us. My own work in the new media began with her.
The phone-call was the start of a long collaboration between this brilliant, faith-filled woman and me and others. We enjoyed her friendship and were welcomed into her world of family and friends, first in Portland, Oregon, and then in Longmont, Colorado.
Patricia’s “community of believers”– not bound in the usual way to one place– stretched over continents. It was connected by phone calls, email, Facebook, and occasional visits. It involved websites and splendid visual art and book lists and sparkling intellectual discussions and an abundance of human kindnesses. Patricia was an enlightening presence in it. “Ask Patricia,” we would say, about all kinds of things, and she usually had an answer. Like all communities of believers, this one was held together by faith.
Her wisdom, advice and achievements we’ll remember, but I’ll remember something else about Patricia– her deep longing for God.
What does “longing for God” mean? We sense it more than describe it, I think, but the psalms give it a voice. “Like the deer that yearns for running streams, so my soul is yearning for you, O God.” It’s a longing for that tremendous Mystery that gave us the sun and the other stars. It’s expressed in a longing for beauty, for truth, for things that matter, and no darkness or suffering can stop it.
“Why are you cast down, my soul, why groan within me. Hope in God. I will praise him still, my Savior and my God.” That longing is tested, and Patricia surely experienced the testing in a soul cast down, groaning. Still, she hoped in God, her Savior, praising him still.
Writing in her blog at the start of this year, Patricia said, “ I have decided my word will be “hope”.
St Paul writes about hope in his letter to the Romans (ch 5):
‘Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.
And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.
Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.’
And again, in chapter 15 he writes:
‘May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.’”
On the Saturday after Easter, her Savior called; her longing ended and her hope was to be fulfilled. I’m unable to get to her funeral, but like many of her Passionist friends throughout the world I celebrated Mass for her. We extend our condolences to her husband Chuck and daughter Alys on their loss.
I’ll also be listening these days to some of the great Baptist hymns she loved so much.
“So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
and exchange it some day for a crown.”
Hope does not disappoint, Patricia.