Father Patrick Douthitt, This man, this man of God

How do you express the impact one individual has had on your life? I grew up in the Baptist church, basically born in it, raised in it, baptized in it. Later, I realized the hypocrisy that was going on around me, and that was enough to, shall we say, burn me out on the Baptist religion. Later in life, I met my beautiful wife and she was an Episcopalian. We married in the Episcopal church and attended on occasion. In all honesty, my faith, as it related to religion, had not been restored. Again, some time later, a new Priest adorned the pulpit of the church. This man, this man of God, spoke to me when I sat in the pew. I started going to services more often, and it always seemed that he spoke directly to me more often than not.

Well, I started attending services on a weekly basis, for a while. Then one day, Father Pat came to me and said, why don’t you go through confirmation? I thought about it, not taking it lightly, and decided to go through the process of being confirmed in the Episcopal church. One thing lead to another, then the next thing I know I’m sitting on vestry. The next step was being appointed Senior Warden of the church. I never imagined becoming part of the church, let alone being a leader in the church. Patrick and I got along well, we had very similar conservative viewpoints.

One day, he and I were talking and I told him, “Patrick, I sit in this pew every Sunday because of you.” His response to me was, “No Michael, you sit in the pew because you want to be closer to God.” This man, this man of God, had profound impact on how I view and react to life. His presence in my life taught me to be more tolerant of man in some ways, and less tolerant in other ways. This man, this man of God, was one of the few men I’ve known that was truly devout, in his religion, his compassion and his life. This man, this man of God, touched so many people in so many ways.

Patrick retired in 2008 and went to work with hospice. Anyone that knew Patrick, also knew this was a calling for him. Shortly afterward he was diagnosed with inoperable cancer, but his steadfast nature made him continue his work in hospice.

Patrick passed last Sunday on April 4th and tomorrow we pay homage to this man, this man of God.

This service will not be easy. It will be difficult to say goodbye. Patrick, I’m hoping your spirit will be there to tell me, “It’s going to be okay.”


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