The world is a little less sparkly today.
I found out recently that Dick Cobbs has died. Dick had served as rector of Church of the Ascension when my marriage was young and my children were babies and toddlers. He baptized all three, plus my recovering-Catholic husband. He turned our family into a spiritual unit. He made church into life for me, for us.
Dick was kind of larger than life. Originally from Alabama, he never lost that accent, thank God, or the big, loud, friendly, familiar demeanor you associate with a good ole boy. He was a back-slapper who moved comfortably between the high-dollar country club parishioners and the widows with their mites. He was charming. He could get angry at injustice. He was a confidante and counselor who held your secrets close. He could party. He was someone who would simultaneously drive half the room crazy with frustration, while the other half wept with inspiration. He was the first adult I ever knew who I could tell was ADD.
Dick had a strange confidence in me that changed my life. He saw and encouraged leadership in me when I was in my mid-30s and had very little experience with anything, really. He brought me to Christ in a more meaningful way than I had ever known. He demonstrated that you could be a faithful Christian and a flawed human being at the same time, and that that was normal and okay. He didn’t require the spotlight.
His story about tithing changed the way I looked at God’s provision forever.
I haven’t seen Dick in about six years, but I have thought of him frequently. I do quite a bit of work near where he and Sue were living the last time I saw them. I remember when he retired and told us where they were going. The way he described Pine Island made me think it was almost inaccessible. It was exciting for us as a family to wind up moving to the same county and we vowed to get in touch, which we did. But Dick was never sitting still. We didn’t keep up, and I didn’t even know he had relocated back to Alabama, or that he had been sick.
Just knowing that Dick was in the world was a comfort to me. I will miss him tremendously, but when I get to Heaven, we will listen to Dixieland jazz, drink wine and eat some shrimp.