Early yesterday morning we got word that a very large presence on the Island of Kaua’i had made his transition. His name was John Lydgate. He was one of the first people I met upon arriving on this Island. He was always everywhere, especially at Lydgate Park, where he swam every night. If we went there, we saw him and received a big bear hug and a word of encouragement.
He came to our Sunday Service almost every Sunday, and always had something positive to say and then, yes, that great big bear hug. When I think of John Lydgate, the word “giant” is the first word from my lips. Not only was he a giant in stature, but he was and always will be a giant in Spirit. What we are in form emanates from the Spirit. It makes sense that he stood well over 6 feet tall.
I didn’t know him well, personally, but I knew enough from our brief conversations to feel his great love for Kaua’i and the land. He didn’t just talk about it either. He was at Lydgate Park every Saturday morning nurturing the land there with his band of volunteers. I think he would have been there, no matter who joined him. He just did what he did.
I wondered for a moment why he kept his transition so private. I thought, why didn’t you let us say good-bye to you? The answer came very quickly. “If I had, what would everyone have done? Asked me a bunch of questions I didn’t want to answer. I just wanted to be. I just wanted to make the journey in my own way.” It was my own mind speaking and I get it. We each walk the path in our own way and I respect everyone’s path. Someone’s transition isn’t about me and making me feel okay.
John’s passing brings one thing home clearly, just like all transitions. Live life now. Say “I love you”in every moment. Let go of the small things that we’ve made so large, that separate us from each other. Let people be who they are and love them. Just because someone isn’t living life they way we would, doesn’t make it wrong. Judgement begone! Forgiveness is a daily practice. Loving is a way of being.
I am grateful for John Lydgate and the many ways he touched my life. As I said, I did not know him well, but I knew him well enough to know that he was living life to the fullest. He was a giver. He was a receiver. He was a caretaker. He loved a good party. He was a lover of people, of life. He will always be the Giant Heart of Kaua’i to me. I am knowing his continued large and amazing journey…and I look forward to receiving a giant bear hug again.