Monday, April 30, 2012

A Friend Named Fox

           I have struggled with doubts that the individual soul survives tragedy and death in an integral state, and that it can know and be reunited with loved ones. Through a powerful experience of synchronicity over a decade ago, these doubts were diminished. This experience involved a dream shortly after the death of a friend named Fox.
Fox was a 45 year old homeless man who lived for nine years at the George Washington Bridge Bus Terminal in New York City. Years earlier he had lost a leg and survived day to day by wheeling his chair in and out of traffic, and up and down subway ramps begging. Over the years, Fox had become a dear friend of mine. I first met him early one Sunday morning when I was bringing coffee and sandwiches to the homeless people who lived alongside the bus terminal. It was winter and I knocked on a large cardboard box and woke him up. I offered him coffee and asked his name. Two weeks later I returned to the terminal. Seeing the same cardboard box with Fox asleep I gently called his name with coffee in hand. He woke up and smiled at me and said, “You remembered my name.” My family, as well as many people from our parish, came to know Fox from outreach trips to the bus terminal with food and clothing.
I would see Fox almost every morning as I went to work, and often brought him sandwiches from home. Occasionally after a stressful day at work, I would drag myself up the subway ramp past his wheelchair. Fox would tell me that he was worried about me because I looked so tired. This man who had nothing was worried about me who had so much.
One day I learned that Fox had died in the streets near the terminal of an apparent drug overdose. With the help of the New York City police detectives I was able to locate Fox’s body at the City Morgue, where it had been for a month — an unidentified casualty of the streets. His body had been scheduled for cremation on the day prior to my arrival at the morgue, and the coroner was baffled as to why it was still there, as if it were waiting for something or someone.
           With the help of our local funeral parlor, I was able to bring Fox’s body back to the town in New Jersey where I lived, so that he could be buried with dignity in our parish cemetery. A memorial Mass was celebrated and several people, young and old, who knew him from our outreach team, were present.
          An Episcopal Church near the Bus Terminal permitted me to hold a  special  memorial  service  for  Fox  and to  invite all the homeless men and women who knew him. At the service one of Fox’s friends shared an emotional eulogy: he told us how ‘Brother Fox’ had given his friends courage and inspiration to take responsibility for building a better life for themselves; how he had been a loving, caring friend; and how much his friends had loved and now missed him.
Several months after Fox’s death I had an incredible dream: I was walking in a sunlit meadow filled with beautiful flowers of every color. I heard someone calling my name and in the distance I saw Fox waving to me from his wheelchair. He had a blanket over his lap. As I got closer I heard him shouting, “Lex, Lex, come here, I got something I want to show you!” Fox pulled the blanket off his lap, stood up and danced around with joy. He had two legs and he was whole. I woke from that dream with the most wonderful, peaceful, joyful feeling I have ever experienced.
I believe Fox really came to me in that dream to thank me and give me a gift. It was the gift of showing me that his soul lived on and how much he was loved by God; that despite the circumstances of his death, God had healed Fox, made him whole and welcomed him home. It was Fox’s way of telling me through the synchronicity of the dream that everything I believe in is really true: that in the end God finds a way, despite the circumstances of our death, to heal us and make us whole.