My first job of close proximity was as secretary sitting across from the Chief. On the job, most considered his smile a rarity, but behind closed doors I learned that smiling was something he forcefully hid from his staff. The work was one of listening without emotion or judgment, that I might rewrite and relay his thoughts as succinctly as possible. The job wasn’t executed as well as it could have been because I had a knack for turning a one paragraph memo into a novel, but it was from a position of listening to his thoughts that I discovered how much I loved the role of confidant and of being a caretaker for words.
The Chief trusted me and I didn’t know then that years later I’d be put in a role of trusting him with my life. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t scared, but at the same time I also knew everything would be okay, and it was.
I like this song particularly because it was one he often played in the background of our transcription sessions and because he didn’t know I was aware of the decades being prayed with the rosary in his hand on the other side of his desk. I used to wonder if the prayers helped him formulate his thoughts but never asked nor ever let on that I knew.
Before he’s buried, those who’ve known and loved him will spend an entire day with the rosary in prayer and on my birthday I will be part of that group praying in gratitude for knowing him briefly yet being forever inspired with the idea that “whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say it is well, it is well, with my soul”.