by Robin Benedict, assistant
“Human life is a journey home, a journey towards becoming we really are, towards finding our deepest identity and gradually opening ourselves to others. It is a question of being, and being open.” - Jean Vanier
Living well with Rodney has always been centered around honoring his presence as a unique individual. Rodney would never allow himself to be ‘lost in the crowd’. With joy, rage, and everything in between, he would make sure that his thoughts and feelings were sufficiently acknowledged as his thoughts and feelings. For me, the best images I carry with me of Rodney’s desire to be known and honored as a unique individual are the paintings that he has created and freely given (or made available for a small fee) to hundreds, maybe thousands of people over the years.
In the last year of his time at Neahkahnie, Rodney’s mobility and awareness declined significantly, but he was still painting. He is still painting. Rodney remains on a journey to be understood on his own terms and still shares the representations of that journey freely with others (or for a small fee). Our community’s 25-year pilgramage with Rodney continues with daily visits to Redwood, which some- times feature lively conversation but increasing don’t involve many words at all. Whether words are exchanged or not, affirming his presence and bearing witness to his gifts is a sacred privilege.
On behalf of those of us who love Rodney, thank you for your visits, prayers, and support!