Everybody Loves Raymond … Dwyer
A personal tribute to Brother Raymond follows written by a staff member in Pres, Bray. Brother Ray is leaving his position as Chaplain in the school having been recently appointed Province Leader of the Presentation Brothers.
I begin this brief reflection with a reference to a popular (now somewhat dated) U.S. sitcom. For those unfamiliar, the protagonist is a slightly lazy, self-interested relatively popular sports journalist who seems to be loved by most in his sphere.
The obvious statement to follow such an introduction in the context of my reflection might revolve around the fact that everybody loves Brother Raymond Dwyer. Of course, I am not going to make such an assertion, in fact I am going to suggest quite a reversal! Stay with me.
I have always found it glib, to say the least, to speak generally about somebody in terms not specific to the lived connections between the author and that person – be they physical or metaphysical. For me to broadly state that Br. Ray is a fantastic person, a great teacher, a wonderful chaplain, a committed sports enthusiast would be entirely speculative. I argue that
nobody can make such broad statements and that such statements are inherently impersonal and even damaging to the recipient with their unreliable foundations. I have never sat in Br. Ray’s classes nor have I formally availed of his chaplaincy services and so how could I meaningfully appraise his skills without resorting to broad conjectures?
I am not writing a biography upon Br. Ray, nor am I qualified to do so. I am not writing a synopsis upon Br. Ray as I see no reason to do so. I am not writing to fulfill any obligation as I have not been asked to write upon Br. Ray. Instead, I am reflecting upon two individual moments in time; two connections directly forged between myself and Br. Ray. In doing so, I hope that my words will maintain authenticity and the deep respect which I hold for him; indeed which he deserves. I write not because I am compelled, but because I must.
Early one morning, a number of years ago, I noticed Ray busily working away at a board in our school corridor. It read ‘November we Remember’. I stopped and asked what it was for. He explained its use as a way to remember those who have passed who were important to us. Having very recently lost our dear dog, I hesitantly asked whether her name could be placed upon the board; desperately hoping to find a way to honour her memory. He enthusiastically affirmed my request and immediately went about making a sign for her. Never once did he jump to suggest that it might be disrespectful to the humans passed to place her name alongside (fears of which were whispering in my own head). Ray embraced my vulnerability and helped me to celebrate the memory of one very dear to me.
More recently, I was in school and received a phone call from my wife. Her dad was in the process of passing away. He was a deeply religious man and at that moment would have benefitted from somebody to pray with him. Again, I hesitantly asked Ray if he would be able to help me. His only question was “where is he?” before promptly heading out to his car. Ray generously gave of his own time to a man he had never met. He profoundly contributed to a grieving family and gave a moments’ strength in what was a very trying time. He then returned late at night after my father-in-law had passed away in a show of more solidarity and strength to a family who he had never asked anything of.
Br. Ray is leaving Pres Bray and moving to serve his community in new ways. I am personally deeply saddened to see him move on and if I am honest, I would selfishly like to keep him in Bray. I know Br. Ray is loved by all in Bray but I resist broad generalizations and speaking for masses of people whom I have no authority to do so. In fact, I dare suggest that whether or
not “Everybody loves Raymond” is quite immaterial. Instead what I would like to propose requires a generalization not of the views of the masses but of just one, and maybe I will be afforded that.
I propose that it is in fact Raymond that loves Everybody. Raymond has continued to embody love in his actions and his speech in my short relationship with him. What greater embodiment of the apostolic values could be said of anybody?!