I was with Dr. B. I started to tell him that I loved him, I was grateful to him, and I had deep respect for him, but he stopped me short. He told me he was preoccupied with his own difficulties and I then noticed that he had been cut off at the knees (as in his lower legs were missing) and was struggling to move himself with only his arms. I went inside a small, messy office trailer. On one table off to the side there was a statue, about 18” tall, brown with yellow spikes on top, like a stylized tanned troll doll with blond crystals for hair. Dr. B. came in.
The office was on a huge mound of dark, fertile earth. There was an industrialist/capitalist outfit that was mining the fertile earth, looking for valuable treasure. A man came in. He wanted Dr. B. to direct him to the buried valuable treasure. Dr. B. gave him some instructions and sent him back out to his mining. The capitalist/industrialist had already found many valuable treasures in the fertile earth and Dr. B. directed him to other small pieces. Dr. B. and I looked at each other and somehow I understood that the statue on the table was the really valuable treasure and Dr. B. had uncovered it and set it aside for me. It would not be given to the capitalist/industrialist.
I woke up around 7AM and had the thought, “Dr. B. has died.” I prepared myself for Greg Foraker’s ordination ceremony at Saint Philip’s. The ceremony started at 10AM and I was the thurifer, so I was robbed in a cassock and processed with the alter party. It was a beautiful service and I was terribly moved by the symbolism. At one point, Greg lay prostrate on the ground while the congregation chanted in Latin Veni, creator spiritus. I remember thinking that the creator spiritus is also the eversor spiritus.
Midway through the ceremony, during the Peace, I went to greet a deacon and he told me that Dr. B. had died at 10:10AM.
So Dr. B. was still alive between 6:30 and 7AM when I was dreaming, but he was preoccupied with his own difficulties, cut off at the knees as it were.
I have not yet grieved Dr. B's death. I need a bit of distance and I need to be able to go "off-line" for a few days.
A little bio on Dr. B. that St. Philip's published today:
The Rev. Dr. Dan Behling died on Saturday, June 25, after a lengthy battle with cancer. He served as an Affiliated Clergy at St. Philip's since his ordination in 2006. Throughout his illness, he maintained his optimism, faith, and good humor.
Dan was born in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and attended the University of Wisconsin. When the Korean War began, he joined the Navy as an enlisted medical corpsman. He attended officer-training courses and received his commission. He rose to become a hospital administrator and was stationed in such faraway places as Morocco and Alaska. He also worked for a time at the Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, D.C. Through all of this, Dan studied psychology and counseling.
When he retired from the Navy in the late 1970s, he became a psychotherapist. He moved to Laguna Beach, California, and took over the counseling practice established by Bob and Jeanette Renouf when they went to Nicaragua. His work there was especially with recovering alcoholics. During the summers, Dan often studied at the Jung Institute in Zurich, stopping to visit with Bob and Jeanette now in London. When the Renoufs moved to Tucson in 1992, Dan came also. They worked at La Casita and built a counseling practice together.
As a young man, before going into the Navy, Dan had considered becoming a Roman Catholic priest. He attended high school at the Carmelite Seminary in Oklahoma, but ultimately decided that particular life was not for him. Around 1980, Dan became an Episcopalian and was very active in his congregation of St. Wilfred's in Huntington Beach, California. He knew he was not called to be a priest, but still felt the ordained ministry was calling to him. The Diaconate seemed to fit the bill, and eventually he moved forward on that lifelong call. He was sponsored by St. Philip's, and was ordained as a deacon five years ago.
As a therapist, Dan's focus had been on emotional healing. As a deacon, it was a natural step to focus on ministry to the substance abuse community both at St. Philip's and in the wider Tucson community. As such, he led many workshops and wrote articles in various professional journals. He spearheaded a Twelve-Step Eucharist for the Tucson community at St. Philip's.
A memorial service will be held on Thursday, July 21, at 11 a.m. at St. Philip's. A reception will follow in the Murphey Gallery.