Dad, Hicey Ross, Jr., who many of you know as a living prayer, went home. Spiritmuv shut down for awhile in the midst of his transition. He was the father of Spiritmuv. Marlon and I went back and forth to Michigan to be with Dad and Mom until finally he decided that we were ready for him to transcend the physical realm and go home.
He was 95 years old when he passed away on August 17, 2016. We celebrated his life at O.H.Pye III Funeral Home in Detroit, Michigan. We never met a warmer, more loving considerate staff than the people who helped us at O.H.Pye. We’ve never felt as much love before as the outpouring of love that keeps flowing from all of you. Thank you for your words of strength, your cards, your flowers, text messages, your email, your plants, and also for those of you who stopped by to offer the warmth of hugs and kisses and love.
My niece Christa gave an eloquent heart-moving reflection on dad that touched all of our hearts. Mom presented a powerful eulogy, reflecting on some spiritual writings she discovered after Dad became ill. She did not write down her eulogy, but she did promise us a short book of memoirs of Dad’s writings.
The following is the eulogy that I shared.
Hicey Ross, Jr. was only known to me as “Dad.”
Like any Dad, he was there at all of the pivotal points of my life – my high school/ law school graduations, by my hospital bedside, walking me down the aisle when I got married, at my seminary graduation and ordination, and even at my first God is a Brown Girl Too weekend Retreat.
Even though he was usually silent, if you really listened carefully, you could always hear the voice of prayer emanating from him in the background – that bold and courageous energy that prays without ceasing.
I asked Dad on several occasions what his favorite scripture was, and he always replied the same: Matthew 5:19-21. “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
I kept asking him about his favorite scripture because I wanted to see if he would say something different. But every time I asked him, Dad would have a smile in his eyes and repeat the same scripture again, as though he knew I was testing him.
Deepak Chopra calls this scripture one of Jesus’s most astute commentaries because he is teaching us the difference between physical and material things, such as those earthly, fleshly treasures that we crave in our lifetime, and those spiritual unseen treasures that are in heaven. The scripture teaches us the importance of which treasures we must value the most.
As the scripture says “where your treasure is, there will be your heart also.” In the Gnostic Bible, ancient text that was more recently discovered, the Book of Thomas, calls this treasure the Kingdom of Heaven. . . .Dad knew that Jesus was using the language of commerce to describe spiritual growth.
And so now, when I think about this scripture, I realize that it imparts the most important of Dad’s life lessons to us – three major principles that we must realize to live the most fulfilling life possible.
THE FIRST SPIRITUAL PRINCIPLE THAT DAD LEAVES US WITH THROUGH HIS FAVORITE SCRIPTURE IS THAT “MONEY CAN’T BUY HAPPINESS.”
As 2 Corinthians 5:1 says, “For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.”
Things can pass, change and even diminish, but God always provides the living sustenance out of which God is made, the sustenance that shapes us in its image and likeness, the unlimited supply that blesses us without ceasing.
This is called divine supply. How do we access divine supply, you might ask – not by asking for things but by changing our consciousness to know that jobs, people, the lottery, nothing in the world provides our good. The infinite stream of God’s good is unlimited, is inexhaustible, and blesses us and blesses us without ceasing.
That is the unlimited flow of absolute good that Dad used to heal his vision. He wore glasses and in his 70’s decided that he wanted to be able to see without assistance. So he meditated and that divine flow of grace that is always blessing us improved his vision.
That is the same unlimited flow that gives without ceasing when Dad bought a house and found suddenly that it was paid off, or when he made repairs and someone showed up who would do the jobs for far less than they would cost, and when many of you came by to shovel or cut his hair or shave him or tailor his clothes or buy him boots – not even realizing that we are all part of the divine flow of infinite good.
THE SECOND SPIRITUAL PRINCIPLE THAT DAD LEAVES US WITH THROUGH HIS FAVORITE SCRIPTURE IS THAT “THE UNIVERSE BLESSES US WITHOUT CEASING.”
In John 6:31, the ancient text says “Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: “‘He gave them bread
from heaven to eat.'” (You know that in the wilderness, the Israelites were fed manna everyday – and they could not store it because it could not be maintained in the flesh but was a spiritual treasure.)
John 6:51 says “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
Dad was never a hoarder. He gave things away. He knew that his good was everywhere present and that he could rely on the universe blessing him and so he was always giving – of his time, of his ear, of his transportation, of his love, of whatever he had, of his jazz – and even at the end I said Dad let me sell, let me put those jazz albums on E-Bay, no he gave them away.
He realized that we are the manna that gives daily. I received a lot of my spiritual growth because he was always bringing boxes of spiritual books into the house, and I would spend hours pouring over them.
Even in the end, Dad was taking off his clothes – as though to give them away, consistent with the scripture 2 Corinthians 5:4 – which says “For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed,” you see in the end he knew that he was clothed instead with a “heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life” and he could wear that which would not be destroyed by “moths and vermin” or stolen by thieves but the inexhaustible blessings of God.
THE THIRD SPIRITUAL PRINCIPLE THAT DAD LEFT US WITH THROUGH HIS FAVORITE SCRIPTURE IS THAT “NOTHING AND NO ONE CAN KEEP OUR GOOD FROM US, BUT US.”
In John 6:38, Jesus says “For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.”
You see, when we do the will of God, when we are obedient and true to our calling, it doesn’t matter how long we live this earthly fleshly existence because we are passing through this existence called life – not for our own good but for the absolute goodness of God. Dad didn’t worry about whether he was missing something from life, no he was obedient to his calling to take us under his wings and to pour out nurturing and love and support – whether he was taking us to school or looking for us in the streets or sitting with us at the hospital or being there when there was some infraction in the world where he needed to provide us with his wisdom, and his love, and his support. Dad was the one that I could call from law school when I needed to make ends meet. Dad was the one that I could count on to support my church.
But he never once said, what do I get out of it God? Because he knew that nothing in this world – nothing that can be
destroyed by moths or vermin could ever prevent him from running the race or staying the course or receiving what Philippians 3:14 calls the goal to win the prize for which God called him “heavenward in Christ Jesus.” It doesn’t matter what people say or think about us, that is none of our business. It doesn’t matter how many enemies appear or what shapes or sizes they take.
Dad showed us that with the stroke that tried to overtake his body. Mom just put him in a cab and he did not suffer any of the consequences.
Dad showed us that with cancer. I asked the nurse how long he had to live before they put him in hospice and watched as mom looked him in the eye and said I’m bringing you home, and we said the devil is a liar, and within a matter of months Dad was out of hospice and even before then, if you look at the back of your program, there Dad’s head is driving off.
I know ‘cause I was in the back of the car, screaming “Dad! Let Marlon drive!”
1 Peter 1:1-9 says “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last
time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.
These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
Thank you Dad, from all of us – for giving us more than the pure jazz of who you are and the harmonious beats of you dazzling in all of your finery and being in all of your alligator-skinned boots and Stetson hat smiles, midnight rider in a Cadillac of unlimited good, always sheltering mom from the storm, Mr. Ross, Hicey, Dad:
Us all souls rising as one, us all rhythms beating life’s drum, us disconnections now connected, us harmony now expected, realizing that:
MONEY CAN’T BUY HAPPINESS.
THE UNIVERSE BLESSES US WITHOUT CEASING.
NOTHING AND NO ONE CAN KEEP OUR GOOD FROM US, BUT US.
We are one with the drums, amazing beats giving birth to neo-souls, tapping new rhythms without limitations. We are one with piano keys popping, twisting and molding, caressing and creating, shaping and leading. We are one with the saxophone shifting, sighing, and realizing; we are here – awesome and
provocative ’cause no one else can do it like we do it. We are one with the bass digging deep in defiance of all odds, all appearances, all doubt, saying Hicey Ross Jr., papa of wisdom, husband of love, father of style, innovator, builder and up-lifter – we celebrate the treasures that bless your soul beyond the earthly realm and radiate God’s love through JAZZ NOTES of each heavenly helm.
We praise, honor, thank, and cherish each RHYTHM THAT BEAT AS YOU and the pure possibilities you led us through.
Thank you for every synchronized. syncopated bass swinging to Spirit’s might,always teaching us how to live right, helping us defeat anything in our way, lifting us to rise and seize the day.
As your family, we resolve to love.
As your co-creators, we bless beyond excess.
As your children, we evolve without stress as the Kingdom of all that jazz you express.
As your friends, we receive the best as the unlimited favor of God your life attests, knowing we are worthy of nothing less.
As your prayers living as you, we find the kingdom everywhere present. We know the way home, and we rise in eternal faith.