A Steadfast, Upright Woman: Lynn Bretz: Everyday Magic, Day 558

Last weekend was Memorial Day weekend, but for me, it’s really this weekend with Lynn Bretz’s memorial service having been held yesterday and Lou Frydman’s tomorrow. At Lynn’s service today, I was reminded of the importance of remembering a life in community as well as what it means to be steadfast, upright, graceful and courageous, perhaps best said in Beth Schultz’s moving poem:

This is For Lynn

She walked among us,
steadfast, upright.
Clear-eyed, clear-headed,
she considered the issues,
aesthetic, political, personal.
She got to the point,
neatly, exactly, gracefully.
She valued the integrity
of Precious Ramatsue,
the passion of Pina Bausch.
She took in the big picture,
observing the details.
She opened up to the sky,
cherishing the geese
passing across it. She valued
exuberance, naming
her cat Duke Ellington.
She was serious, giving
out gags: magical glasses,
bubble blowing solution,
sparkling, spinning tops.
She experienced severe
pain, seldom mentioning it.
She paddled a yellow kayak,
Janet perched on the bow,
out over the lake’s shining
water, beyond the drop-off.
Relishing life, she did
not relinquish it easily.
She modeled clarity of
mind, courage, integrity,
wit, passion, and devotion.
She walks among us,
steadfast, upright.

— Elizabeth Schultz

While I didn’t know Lynn well (I was longer acquainted with Janet, her partner of 25 years who died two years ago), what I did know of her testified to how she always walked among us “steadfast, upright.” I tend to fix my eyes on what it means to be creative, imaginative, intelligent and brave (qualities Lynn also had in abundance), but Lynn’s life shows me a wider view of the qualities we each need to cultivate. To be steadfast and upright is to live honestly with integrity, balance, and loyalty. Our hearts, minds and courage (the Tinman, Scarecrow and Cowardly Lion seeking qualities) don’t complete us without practicing day-to-day steadfastness and uprightness.

So here’s to growing our steadfast, upright selves, and here’s to all Lynn modeled for us and taught us. May she rest in peace, and may all those suffering in deep grieve from her passing find steadfast, upright peace and comfort.


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