from another time and place
Once every lifetime you met a man like Tom Ahlburn.
And you ended up understanding more about our world and our place in it than you ever learned from any other single individual. Tom was the Senior Minister at the Unitarian Church in Providence, R.I., who influenced--and improved--the lives of many individuals like myself.
We first met him in 1980 and thought he was one of the most brilliant, perceptive and caring people we'd ever met. That day he delivered a sermon on the meaning of life and it was obvious then he knew and understood things that were beyond my own comprehension and that of 98% of the other people in the building. Over the years that perception never changed.
It's sad that he never got to enjoy the retirement that he looked forward to and talked about and that he had earned many times over, ministering to other people's misfortunes throughout most of his life. Yet, we remember him now and hope that wherever he is he knows how much we cared about him.
Tom Ahlburn--poet, sage, minister extraordinaire, friend, advisor--passed away in 2002, largely unappreciated, I suspect.
But his words, what few of them are scattered around, remain with us.