by Allen Flemming
Light and love.
Anyone who knew Danny knew Danny loved the sun. Today as you sat in this chapel you have heard many of Danny’s favorite songs: Almost all of them celebrate sunshine, light and the end of darkness. A week ago today Danny said goodbye to the shadow lands that had haunted him for so many years. Now, today, this day when we press our face into our hands, and seek out a dark corner to howl and wail, Danny is in a place where “there is no more night (and) no need for the light of a lamp or even the light of the sun, because the Lord God is Danny’s light.” (Rev 22:5) In the Bible it also say that the followers of Jesus are the “Light of the world.” Danny Ray Croidhe shined brightly on all of our lives.
In 1984 everyone at church kept telling me about this guy “Danny” that I just had to meet. How cool he was, his wild hair, and his wicked clothes. Well everyone is usually wrong about these sorts of things, so I never made much of effort to meet Danny. Then one day while I was driving out of the church parking lot playing the Ramones at full volume, and I saw this big haired, tall booted dude getting into a VW Bug with two Clash stickers in the windows. I pulled over, and we said hey to each other and then something about how punk rock Jesus was. Then Danny noticed the power booster in my back seat that was still in the box. Before I knew it, Danny was hooking up the booster to my stereo system, and soon we were driving around, and hanging out together everyday. This was the beginning of a thousand different ways Danny did things to help me. Over the years he fixed my cars, gave me money, records, food and the boots he was wearing on the day we met.
One Sunday morning (after hand cuffing ourselves to the cross on our church lawn to protest the visit by a world famous minister who seemed to support the apartheid system in South Africa) Danny and I decided to start our own church. We had read in the Bible where God called us Holy Priesthood, so instead of protesting and complaining about the church we were attending, we set out to start our own church. Because we were priests—(but priests who could have girlfriends!)—we felt confident to step out on our own. We called our Church the The Church Not Made With Hands. The next Sunday Danny and I met for church under a bridge in Campbell. I jumped from rock to rock to get across the creek but Danny just walked right through the water. Danny was a giant who could not be bothered by creeks and rivers. We knelt down on the riverbank to pray. Danny prayed aloud first and I was blown away. The passion and the poetry that came out of Danny’s mouth I had only read about in the Psalms and the Gospels. I am not making this up. Several of you here today have heard Danny pray, and you know what I mean. I just whispered “amen” and waited for the sky to rip open and Gabriel to blow his horn.
Danny was funny and crazy and full of passion. One time after seeing the film Dead Poets Society he climbed to the top of a flag pole—no easy feet—and recited Walt Whitman’s poem “O Captain! My Captain! writtenP271 Leaves of Grass. After that night we started our own Dead Poets Society. A couple of the members are here today—Ben and my nephew Chris. Chris who confessed to being deathly afraid of Danny the first time he met him. I told you Danny was a giant. In our Poets Society we sat around smoking corncob pipes, drinking Squirts cocktails and reading poetry—mostly the romantic.
Who could think of Danny without thinking about his guitars? Several of his band mates are here today: The Lawsons (named after one of Danny’s heroes: Floyd the barber on the Andy Griffith Show) The Belhavens, and The Bindle Stiffs. Read from Danny’s letter. Thank you to everyone who played in Danny’s bands or was a fan of Danny’s music for helping Danny to follow his dream. Danny has a new band now with a couple of lads named John and George.
And a special thank you to Danny’s mom, as you can see on the picture on the flyer program Danny was introduced to the guitar by his mother, Linda. Danny loved his mother so much. The last conversation I had with Danny, a week ago Friday, he said how much loved his mom and how amazing she was to be able to buy them a house in Cupertino. Whenever Danny needed her, his mother was always there. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Linda, for taking such good care of our dear friend.
Danny always had his heart set on the light of the unseen world. All those hours he spent alone in his room, Danny was ascending to heaven in prayer and then descending to hell in depression: Over and over and over. Now listen. This was written by King David, a man that God said “was after His own heart.” (read PS 42: 2-5) Both King David and Danny rode the waves of exaltation only to crash on the shores of depression. In these last few years Danny and I met for church mostly over the phone. We talked and prayed together for hours on the phone during the last several years. You know the waves of grief you have felt wash over you since Danny left us? When the littlest remembrances suddenly break you down, you can’t catch your breath, and you hear yourself sobbing and can’t believe that sound is coming from you? This is only a taste of what Danny had experienced everyday for the last six years. But wait. Danny’s dark days are over. This is what Danny is experiencing now: (Read Rev 22:22).
Bye bye shadow lands the term is over and all holidays have begun.