I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to speak yesterday at David's service, to hear the eloquent and heartfelt words of his friends, to honor his family, pray together, and celebrate his life. Here are my words:
For almost twenty five years now I have been trying to praise David Morgan, but unfailingly he forestalled my attempt. Now at last, he is not here to do so, but I would gladly trade singing his praises, were he here to deflect cheerfully once again my doing so.
I have loved David from the first moment we met, when we learned that we shared a love for music, literature ancient and modern, and God. In New York City, walking up and down and around the island of Manhattan and neighboring boroughs, we talked and laughed and dreamed: of hiking together through France and Spain on the trail of St. James, of making music together into our old age, of languages learned, of otium (leisure) spent together in retirement reading foreign languages together and, last but not least, of continuing our ongoing discussions, philosophical and theological, into old age.
I thank God that we were able to realize much of this, hiking together in France and Spain, making music together on countless occasions, and best of all carrying on our many conversations in mutual love and support. Wondrously, David became a beloved part of my family, loving Bernardine, my wife, and each of my children as if each were the only person on earth. David had more talents than we could possibly name – he was a genius, and if I had more time I could tell many humorous stories documenting that fact – but to my mind the best talent of them all was his saintly ability to devote his whole gracious attention and evident charity to each and every person he was with. I shall ever treasure my memories of David's walking around Greenville speaking Latin and French with Jack, of his teaching music composition to Tess, of his reading aloud to Peter, of his gracious charm praising Nia's Parisian French to locals in Southwestern France, and last but not least discussing literature with my Bernardine.
I must also praise here his parents and family, whom David spoke to me about constantly ever since I met him. It was indeed a great privilege and blessing to be with you all, Mr. and Mrs. Morgan and Dan, throughout last weekend; it was an especially great privilege and blessing to be able to pray with you and David. Know that you all and David will be ever in our prayers. It was also beautiful, when he reminded me last Saturday that it was through your prayers that he landed his dream job at Furman back in 1995, where he flourished in so many ways. He has never ceased marveling about the talents and goodness of his many colleagues and friends and students at Furman, and we shall always treasure the stories he shared with us about them.
St. Augustine, whom David and I read and loved together for decades, was surely right in saying that to die young is a great blessing. I understand that. Nevertheless, it is fitting to grieve the loss of such a beautiful man and such a dear friend.
Please excuse my addressing a few words in Latin to David directly:
Maturius aequo nos reliquisti, amice carissime. Mox tamen, ut credo, quia tempus ineluctabile fugit in aeternum, te iterum videre poterimus. Periucundum erit mihi meisque apud patris domum te revisere.