Homily in Memory of Dorothy B. Kavar
October 12, 1927 – May 19, 2012
Delivered at her funeral, May 23, 2012, by Dr. Lou Kavar
In the gospels, Jesus uses many metaphors to describe the realm of God – that dimension where we encounter the Divine. When we consider those metaphors as a whole, we come to understand that the realm of God is here in the present – both in us and around us – as well as in the future, in some dimension to come.
Of all the metaphors Jesus used to describe the realm of God, including the prodigal son and forgiving father, the lost sheep and the good shepherd, and the woman who lost a coin and tore her home apart looking for it, one metaphor in particular reminds me of my mother, Dorothy. That’s the image of the baker woman. Jesus said that the realm of God is like a woman who took a bit of yeast and kneaded into three cups of flour. The result was that the little bit of yeast leavened the flour enabling the dough to rise and become fresh nourishing bread.
Dorothy was a simple woman with a humble background. She didn’t have lofty dreams and ambitions. In her humility, she never realized what a warm and delightful person she was. She claimed to be very shy. Yet, I can’t think of a time when she failed to chat with gentleness and good humor with people who came into her life. Any time anyone visited her or treated her with kindness, she always wanted to return that favor with a gift.
As my family will attest, her generosity was both legendary as well as comical. When visiting her, you’d think that everything had been packed and that there was nothing else that you could get into the car or suit case. Then she would appear with one more thing to be taken. I remember many times when she’d stop me from leaving the driveway with some parcel to give to a friend of mine. Many times these were friends she never met.
Often, we would want her to have nicer things for herself. All three of her children would bring her things from their travels only to find that in a short time she had given them to someone else or was saving them because they were too good to use. When I was younger, I would ask why she had given a gift away to someone else. Her response was always the same: “I thought it would make them happy” or “I thought they needed cheering up.”
In living with such a generous spirit, Dorothy touched other’s lives with kindness. Even when she didn’t have much to share, she would give what she had: a bag of tomatoes from her garden, flowers sent to her for an occasion, or mementos family members wanted her to save as keep sakes.
Dorothy’s generosity and kindness brought the realm of God into the lives of others. Yes, she was like that baker-woman who took a little yeast and transformed that plain, dry flour into something delicious.
© 2012, emerging by Lou Kavar, Ph.D.. All rights reserved.