Wim Verhoeven’s funeral

So I had a week off blogging … last Wednesday was Wim Verhoeven’s funeral, perhaps that had something to do with it. Wim’s now having an eternity off everything (according to the majority view of the familiar faces at the funeral). It makes you think.

The funeral celebrant told us that now is a time for mourning Wim’s death, but it is also a time for celebrating Wim’s life. This is no mere euphemism. In the words of Kahlil Gibran (The Prophet)

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked. And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears. And how else can it be? The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain. Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven? And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives? When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy. When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight. Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.” But I say unto you, they are inseparable. Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed. Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy. Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced. When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.

This post is my small tribute to Wim. Some other tributes are here and here.

Was Wim’s life a success? Did he live a life worth celebrating? I think the answer is a resounding yes. Wim certainly ticked all his own boxes!

I didn’t know Wim particularly well but we conspired to overthrow the government at many, many Libz events and meetings. For a time, Wim hosted our regular meetings in his own home after we got kicked out of The Quiet Lady in Karori. I think it was fitting that after the funeral, half a dozen or so of the Libz members (past and present) who attended held an impromptu Libz meeting at a nearby coffee shop. Wim’s dead, but the cause of freedom, to which Wim contributed so much, is still very much alive. Onward Christian (and non-Christian) soldiers!

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