Wednesday, June 5, 2019

The Requiem Mass for Jacque Stockman

Jacque Stockman

St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church
Fargo, North Dakota

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

It a true honor to officiate at this service for Jacque. As some of you know, I actually knew Jacque for many years. He was my father’s attorney for many years. And I remember well going with my father as a kid to Jacque’s office.

As I’ve heard from many people and as I knew myself: There was only one Jacque Stockman. And the world is just a bit different now that he is no longer in it.

What I admired most about Jacque is that he was truly an advocate to my father when my father needed an advocate in his life.  And because he was, not only my father admired him, but I did too. He made a difference in my father’s life. And, without a doubt, he made a difference in many other people’s lives as well. And that is the important thing to remember today as we remember Jacque.

Being an advocate is not just something one does. It is truly a vocation, in the best sense of that word. A vocation is a calling. It is more than just a job. It is more than what one does. It is something one is. And I believe being an advocate for others is often a journey down the road less traveled.

It is a hard job. It is often a very thankless job. It is very difficult at times. It is often a journey into uncharted territory at times. There are times when one wonders why one even did it. There are times when one wonders if what one is doing is really even making a difference.  There were no doubt times when one might even regret it (and that’s all right).

But the fact remains: advocating for others makes all the difference.  It may take years and years before anyone appreciates the difference a an advocate makes. But it does matter. And what they do outlives them.

Their legacy is justice and rightness! How incredible is that? And what a legacy!

 Just think for one moment about all the lives that were affected by Jacque Stockman.  I hope Jacque knew this in his life. I hope Jacque was able to appreciate it and be thankful for it.

As you may know, Jacque was a long time member of 1st Lutheran Church here in Fargo. Then, in March of 2017, he transferred his membership here to St. Stephen’s. He liked the feeling here—it reminded him, he said, of the little Lutheran he knew as a kid.

I knew well what it meant to be Jacque’s priest.  I knew, fairly well, his beliefs (or lack thereof)  I knew he was an atheist, which of course did not bother me in the least. In fact, I respected him for them, which I know he appreciated.

The last time I talked to Jacque (the second to the last time I saw him), he had just endured a particularly difficult bout of pneumonia. But there he was, sitting up in bed, and when I entered the room he smiled genuinely at me.  He was happy to see me And as we talked, he talked fondly of my father. And that meant so much to me.

If my father was there that day, or even here today, he would say to Jacque: Thank you. Thank you for all you did. And that is also what all those people for whom Jacque Stockman was an advocate will say.

Yes, it is a sad day today for those of us who knew and cared for Jacque. But we do have our consolations today. Our consolation today is that all that was good in him, all that was talented and charming and full of life in him—all of that is not lost today. It is here, with us, who remember him and cared for him and respected him. It is there in those for whom he was an advocate.

And, for those of who have faith in God and in a life that is beyond this life, we take consolation that all of that goodness now dwells in a place free from pain and hardship.  The consolation we can take away from today is that, all of the difficult things in Jacque’s life are over for him.   He is now, in this moment, fully and completely himself.  He is whole in this moment.

In his later years, Jacque came to greatly appreciate Judaism.  I have too.  So, in a few moments, we will pray the Kaddish, the traditional Jewish prayer of mourning, for Jacque and in honor of his interest in Judaism.  I think it very appropriate to do so in this service in which we do give thanks for Jacque and all he was to us.  

After all, Jacque chose the right path. Those of us who are gathered together today can attest to that fact.

So, let us be thankful that he did make the right choice in his life.  It did make all the difference.  Amen.

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