Saturday, December 02, 2006

In memoriam - Theodore (Ted) Wesley Pstrak - February 8, 1927 to December 2, 2006

At 5:15 AM my partner's mother, Helen, called to say that Ted had fallen out of bed, she didn't think he was breathing, and she needed help. At 5:35 AM we arrived at their house and wove our way through two fire trucks, two police cars, and two ambulances. Ted was taken to East Cooper Regional Medical Center shortly after we arrived and was pronounced dead at about 6:15 AM. The cause of death was a heart attack.

Ted's health had been declining for a few weeks. He recently spent 13 days in the hospital, returning home on Friday, November 24th. Ted is survived by his wife, Helen Tyriw Pstrak, five children, and eight grandchildren. Ted was a former Navy Captain, having served for 10 commands with that rank. He joined the Navy in 1944 and was in active duty during World War II, Korea and Vietnam. He retired as Commander of the Charleston Naval Base in 1977, having been awarded numerous citations including a Bronze Star. A frugal man who grew up during the Great Depression, Ted was generous to a fault. He contributed to numerous charities and took great joy in leading the congregation at Christ Our King in Mount Pleasant, SC, in hymns.

This has been an extremely surreal day. I helped my partner and his family plan the funeral of their patriarch this morning, then this evening attended a wedding for the daughter of my partner's boss, whom he has known for 23 years (since she was 3). It struck me during the service that I heard The Lord's Prayer twice today: at shortly after 6:00 AM and again at shortly after 6:00 PM. I'm not a Catholic or even a Christian, and I'm having a hard time understanding the dichotomy of how this one piece can be used in two vastly different circumstances.

Ted, wherever you are, know that you are loved and will be missed tremendously.

1 comment:

  1. First, let me offer my condolences. I've been a reader for a while. I was moved to comment by your honesty in understanding how this prayer can be used in both places.

    The Lord's Prayer was first offered by Jesus in Matthew 6 as an example of HOW to pray. After saying the people should not pray to show off for others, or offer wordy prayers thinking they would mean more, He literally says "This, then, is how you should pray". (Note that it isn't 'what' but 'how' was supposed to be a template, but we have used it as a hard copy.)

    The Lord's prayer, in only a few lines, covers all the bases: offering praise, asking that God's will be done, asking that our daily needs be met, asking for forgiveness, reminding us to forgive others, asking for resistance to temptation, and requesting deliverance from evil.

    So, it is often used when people aren't sure what to say, or don't wish to offer a long or personalized or show-offy prayer. Also, since most churches teach it, it is a good choice if you want to have many people pray aloud together.

    I would add that, for many believers, this prayer is comforting. It is often something they memorized in childhood and repeated weekly and at special occasions. So to them, rather than displaying a dichotomy, reciting this prayer in all circumstances presents life/death/marriage as part of a continuum in which God is always present in the same way.

    I hope I did a good job of explaining that, and I hope it helped you understand why the Lord's Prayer would be appropriate to use in both these situations.