Sunday, January 14, 2007


... the family of Tommy St. Charles and his friends...

I got a call from my mom early on Friday morning. "Jonathon, Tommy was out duck hunting and something happened and he was shot. He died at the hospital." I was stunned. I didn't know really what to think. It's not like Tommy was a real close friend of mine but he was very close to my cousin Jes and I really liked Tommy.

Mom hung up the phone, I could tell she was done talking about it. I wanted to know more. I was worried about my cousin Jes, I was worried about Tommy's family, I was worried about the community they both live in.

Last night I went to the funeral home to be with Jes. She was sitting with Tommy's mom when I got there. There were family and friends altogether. I listened to stories about Tommy from his sister. I thought of Jonas and Abby and hoped that their relationship will continue to be as funny and good as what Tommy and his sister's has been.

I listened to Jes talk about a guy that she cared deeply for and who cared deeply for her. He was stubborn and bullheaded, sarcastic and witty, a guy with big dreams, and a love for nature and the outdoors.

Hunting was a part of his life; a practice that was part of the community that he was raised in. Out of this practice he experienced a love for being outdoors, a respect for nature and yes, for animals. As I heard funny hunting stories about Tommy what I also heard were stories about a person who had a reverence and love for the land and for animals in a way that I can't understand because I have not grown up in a community the way he can. I can however, appreciate the stories and admire who he was.

A few years ago I remember Jes being real worried because Tommy simply decided at the drop of a hat to head to Alaska. He stayed for several months working on a large boat. Tommy was more than just a hunter or some guy from a small town in Tennessee. Tommy was a dreamer, a friend, a family member, and sometimes a restless wanderer.

It is tragic that he died. I sat in a room full of people that were mourning. Some didn't if there was a right way to mourn. Others were so expressive.

Here in Nashville our television news has turned this into something less tragic and almost humorous. That makes me a bit sad and a bit angry.

I read some very insensitive comments by people on a comment thread linked to one our local newspapers here in town. The newpaper columnist were silent in regulating a sense of dignity. That makes me pretty dissapointed with our media and how they report news.

Thomas St. Charles III was a person who grew up in a small loving community. In that small community people cared for him, passed on the traditions and way of life to him. He learned to embrace life, to love life and people, to value his faith in God, and to respect the land he lived on. I think Tommy did something right and I think his community did too. I know that he will be missed. I know that tomorrow will be tough for my cousin Jes.

I hope that anyone who ventures to my blog over this next week or so and reads this post will keep all these people in your prayers.
Divine Darkness, when the night of grief swallows our feeble light, help us to
feel you lovingly wrap us in that very darkness. Hidden God, we
are angry. Where are you? Show yourself. Explain yourself. Feel the heat of our
frustration and fear we share only with you. Burden-lifting
God, our grief weighs us down. It feels as if our backs will break along with
our hearts. We are smothered by the weight. When it feels as if we can bear no
more, Loving Shepherd, bear us forward. O, Answer to all
Mysteries, we have unanswerable questions. We struggle with "If only ..." and
"What if?" and "Why?" Give us grace to live the questions in the confidence that
we don't have to have all the answers. Our Beginning and Our
End, you have taught us about life; now teach us about death. Comforting Mother,
let us lay our wearied selves next to you, to sense your breath, to feel your
warmth, to hear you tenderly call our name. -
A Prayer of Grief, anonymous, adapted from the UM Book of Worship's prayer of grief.

Jonathon E. Norman


gavoweb said...

sorry to hear of your families tragic loss. i hope that you will call me if you need something.

St.Phransus said...

thanks bff.

DogBlogger said...

So sorry...

Prayers ascending.

the reverend mommy said...

Here too.

emily said...

ok, so i read those comments the people had to say to the newspaper article, holy freakin cow! i mean, what leads someone to want to make such remarks? hope the rest of your week is good.

St.Phransus said...

thanks emo, you too.

Jes said...

WOW! I don't know how to tell you how awesome you are! This was such a nice thing to's perfect. Thanks cuz!!!!!!!!! You're the best.