Archive for family

2014 Lent 37

Posted in Lent 2014, Reflection with tags , , , , on April 16, 2014 by timtrue

Fortress_of_Guaita_2013-09-19

Mark 12:1-11

Today is my birthday.  Yep, today, this Wednesday of Holy Week, which means that my birthday falls during Lent this year.

My wife’s birthday is in May.  Her birthday never falls in Lent.  Lucky!

But my little brother’s is March 16.  That means that, regardless of where Easter falls in any given year, his birthday will always fall in Lent.  Poor wretch!

But my birthday, April 16, sometimes falls during Lent and sometimes not.  Most of the time not, in fact.  And for that I’m grateful.

But because my birthday happens to fall on Holy Wednesday this year, Mark 12:1-11 is a reading in the lectionary–today, on my birthday.  And it has all the great makings for a birthday reading.

There’s a wealthy man, a father, as we soon learn.  And this wealthy man purchases a vineyard and starts to develop it.  He builds a winepress, puts up a fence, and even builds a watchtower.

So my mind is beginning to race.  My oldest daughter is living the dream right now.  She’s studying for a semester in Florence, Italy: right in the heart of Tuscany, excellent wine country.  Add to this that my dad and stepmom are on their way over there right now.  They’re going to stay for a few days in a villa with my daughter.

So, being my birthday and all, and being a fairly creative guy, my mind begins to construct a complete and utter fantasy.  It’s going furiously; I can’t seem to stop it.  But it’s my birthday, so what the hey.

So here it is: my dad is that (sort of) wealthy guy from the parable.  He’s so smitten with his visit to Tuscany, that he buys a villa complete with a vineyard today, on my birthday, with the idea that it will be a family vacation house for now; but, who knows, he may decide to will it to me someday as an inheritance.

But the particular villa he buys (it was a really good deal, after all, for he is also a frugal man) is in need of some repair.  So he puts up a fence, rebuilds the dilapidated winepress, and, more for added room for guests than for any other reason, builds a tower (with a furnished apartment and incredible view clear down to the sea).

So far, so good.

But then I continue reading the Gospel.

Of course, Dad lives in America, as do I, and my daughter (despite her present Italian escapade), and all family members, extended and immediate.  So, of course, Dad has to hire a manager to take care of the place while we’re all making ends meet over here in our present American lives.

But then my fantasy is suddenly confronted by an offensive intrusion.  For a friend who was travelling over there decided to stop by, you know, to help Dad out by checking in on the place.  And he wound up mysteriously dead!

The Italian police weren’t much of a help either.

So I probably wouldn’t have thought much of it, freak coincidence or something, until a month or so passes and another friend who owed my dad a favor decides to stop by; and, same thing!  Dead!  Those unhelpful Italian police said they found his body floating face-down in the Arno River; but was surely unconnected to the villa.

Well, that got me thinking!

And now–in my fantasy, of course–Dad wants to send me over!

Don’t get me wrong, a couple of months ago I would have loved to go over and live the carefree life of a vineyard owner in my villa-to-be.  But now, what with those two deaths and what with the unhelpful Polizia, I’m a little worried.

That’s when I read on and discover in the parable that the brazen manager is indeed responsible for the first two deaths and is even heedless enough to kill the owner’s own son.

Gulp!

But, hang on a minute!  I remind myself, this is my own daydream.  I need to come back to reality.

Yeah, that’s right.  It’s my birthday, sure.  But beyond and above that, it’s still Lent.

And this is a parable Jesus is teaching.  It’s not really about my birthday at all, but about Christ, and about how people refused to see the gift of God–the man Jesus–right in their midst.

So, okay, I’ve talked myself down from my fantastic cliff.  Still, is there something I can take away from today’s Lenten experience, something in this reading that is of value for me on my birthday?

And then I see it: the people of Christ’s day largely didn’t see the gift of God in their midst; perhaps I’m not seeing enough of God’s gifts in my midst.

On this day then, this Holy Wednesday at the end of Lent, my birthday, I am extremely grateful for my family–both those with me and those abroad; my friends; and the work God has given me to do.  Can’t wait for the softball game and Tex Mex tonight!

2014 Lent 18

Posted in Lent 2014, Reflection with tags , , , on March 25, 2014 by timtrue

family

I Corinthians 7:32-40

“I want you to be free from anxieties.”

This seems to be the core motivation behind Paul’s counsel on marriage.  A man or woman who is unmarried only has to be concerned with how to please the Lord.  A married person is concerned about this too; but with the added concern of how to please a spouse.  And then, one could add, when someone has kids, well, then it’s the Lord, the spouse, and the kids!  And in our day of blended families–quite similar to households in Paul’s day, I might add–there could be stepchildren, adopted children, live-in parents in need of continuous care, etc., etc.  In short, according to Paul, family life sure can be a headache!

I get Paul’s point.  To be as free from anxiety as possible is noble.  Who wouldn’t want to have a stress-free life?

Yesterday I mentioned the Stoic virtue apatheia.  This has to do with how your passions affect you; to remain detached from your emotions, regardless of how big the amplitude becomes, is the goal.  Today, however, what Paul suggests is more active; you actively maintain a mindset that frees you from anxiety ahead of time.  Today falls in line more with an Epicurean virtue, ataraxia.

Google these terms if you like, to find out more.  Heck, Google Stoicism and Epicureanism to learn more about these two competing philosophical schools of thought floating in the empire’s drinking water during Paul’s day.  But that Paul draws from one of these and then another only a few verses later is interesting, a question worthy of study.  Contemporaneous philosophers certainly wouldn’t have done the same.  At the very least, it suggests that Paul was human, that he was like you and I, that he mixed some things up, that (even) he was inconsistent in his letter to the Corinthians.  But this is a bit of a rabbit trail.

The point I want to make here is that Paul’s letter to the Corinthians is not very family-friendly, a point that I think has been made well enough over the past few days.

So, what do we do with this point?

Well (gulp!), let me propose, if nothing else, that Paul’s writings here, in the Bible, cause me to rethink some of my own prejudices, biases, and values concerning family.

I prize my family.  Marriage, I am firmly convinced, is the stuff that makes up the building blocks of society.  Children are a blessing of the Lord, a heritage.  Divorce is ugly, as it breaks up a sacramental relationship–a relationship that demonstrates outwardly the inward love of God in us.  And now, in mid-life, I’m starting to find a lot of joy in the likelihood of my never becoming a lonely old man: I’m looking forward to grandkids and great-grandkids, and the more the better.  And so it bugs me to the core when I hear mantras like “Faction before blood” (from Divergent).

But where have all my prejudices, biases, and values come from?  I’d like to say from the Bible.  And there are some, sure, like that psalm I alluded to about children being a blessing from the Lord.  But there are also an awful lot of passages like this one from Paul.  And didn’t Jesus himself say that unless you hate father and mother (and so on) you cannot be my disciple?  On a scale, I don’t know which would outweigh the other: pro-family statements from the Bible or anti-.

More than from the Bible–far more–is what we call the Judeo-Christian ethic.  And this ethic, and thus my biases and values, comes more from tradition, from cultural norms over time, I’m afraid.

So this point more than anything else reminds me that not everyone sees it my way.  Not everyone else values family the way I do.

And that’s okay.

In fact, that’s as it should be.

2014 Lent 16

Posted in Lent 2014, Reflection with tags , , , on March 22, 2014 by timtrue

I Corinthians 7:10-24

On marriage, St. Paul seems to be all over the place.  “It’s good if you’re not married,” he says; “stay that way if you can.  But if your desire for sex is too strong, then get married.”  That was yesterday’s reading.  Today he seems to be saying that if you Corinthians were married before you believed in Christ, stay that way now that you do believe.  In other words, a couple shouldn’t divorce over religious leanings.  But if the non-believer leaves a believer over religious differences, well, then that’s a different matter: let her go.

And so I am transported back to my adolescence, to when the Bible first started to make a lot of sense to me, to when I first saw some relevance in it.  In particular I remember a youth group gathering where we discussed this passage.  Actually, we were discussing the topics of marriage, dating, and sexuality—subjects always of interest to youth groups, at least to youth groups in the mid-1980s—and the youth group leader pointed to these verses as a proof-text to an argument she had been making.  “It reminds me of a bumper sticker,” she said; “have you seen it?  ‘If you love something, let it go.  If it comes back to you, it’s yours; but if it does not, then it never was.’  That’s exactly what Paul’s getting at here.”

Really?  Even then, as a tender, confused adolescent, something at the core of this message smelled of manipulation.  I’m not so sure that’s what Paul is getting at here.

Youth group theologizing aside, there is a church dogma that has come from these verses.  But did I say dogma?  We Episcopalians generally run away when we sense that word drawing near.  Yet, in fact, yes, I did say dogma.  And I also said church, meaning not just the Episcopal Church, or even the larger and longer Anglican tradition; but the entire church throughout her history.

The dogma of which I speak comes from v. 14 (and elsewhere in the Bible, as discussed below), which states, “For the unbelieving husband is made holy through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy through her husband.  Otherwise, your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.”

Paul was a devout Jew.  As such, he knew from childhood that a sign set him apart from the non-Jewish part of the world, that a sign demonstrated that he was one of God’s people.  This sign, of course, was circumcision.

He was given this sign as a baby.  That means he had no say in the matter, no personal decision.  It was his parents’ decision; and above this a people’s decision.  He wasn’t alive when God saved the Israelites from Pharaoh’s wrath through Moses; yet he was nevertheless personally saved from Pharaoh’s wrath, for he too was one of the Israelites, the chosen people through whom Father Abraham’s Messiah would come.  Paul was holy (or saved) as a newborn baby, in other words, because his parents (and their parents, and so on, back to Abraham) were holy.

This teaching rings true in other parts of the Old Testament too.  Such as when God told Noah to include his sons and their wives on the ark, one whom we know from a later episode to be anything but holy.  And such as when Lot—the only one of the, eh hem, lot who was ever declared righteous—was told to flee from Sodom and Gomorrah with his wife, his daughters, and his future sons-in-law.  We all know what happened to Lot’s salty wife.  But what about these future sons-in-law?  Were they a part of the group that tried to abuse the angels under Lot’s roof?  The Bible says all of the men of Sodom came out to abuse them—all, “to the last man” (Gen. 19:4).  Yet even these mob-rule abusers were allowed to escape God’s wrath vicariously through righteous Lot.

Anyway, now Paul brings this amazing truth—this dogma—into the church.  It seems, like with Lot, that the holiness of one family member suffices for the others.  When God saves one, God saves all—with respect to households anyway.  (But it begs a question. . . .)

Some years after the youth group gathering I described above, I revisited this passage with this newer understanding.  And it painted baptism in a new light for me—baptism, the sign (and seal) of the new covenant.  It didn’t really matter to me so much anymore whether my kids were capable mentally of grasping baptism’s significance, salvation’s intricacies, and the church’s importance.  Because I was a person of the new covenant, they too were God’s people of the new covenant.  That was enough.

So, at the next opportunity, on the Day of Pentecost in 2003 in fact, my four kids were baptized together.

Paul’s kind of all over the place on marriage.  But this much is certain: there’s something holy in it.

Monthly Reflection: August, 2013

Posted in Doing Church, Reflection with tags , , on September 1, 2013 by timtrue

In last month’s reflection I mentioned a sort of calm before the storm, feeling like I had some down time and not really knowing how to handle it yet at the same time not wanting to start something new for fear of what was about to come: the school year.  What if I were to have begun a noon Bible study, for instance, only to have to cancel it a month later for lack of time?

But now the school year is under way; the storm has made landfall.

My own kids have begun their routines of waking up to alarm clocks, eating a hasty breakfast and otherwise getting their things together for the day, going through a regimen of classes, lunch, and sports practices, tackling the evening homework load, connecting (sometimes not too) briefly with their extra-household worlds on Facebook, and sleeping in on weekends; and somehow Holly and I, between our own busy regimens of work, students, and chores, manage it all—getting the kids out the door in time for their days, juggling their sporting events, helping with homework, and cracking the figurative whip to motivate them to do their chores.

Additionally, the parish’s school year has begun, meaning a whole bunch of my day that was routinely open in the summer is now filled up if I so choose—chapel, pre-K chapel, visiting a classroom, lunch—or sometimes when I don’t choose, like when I’m on for a chapel talk.

And Sunday school is starting next Sunday, meaning I will be teaching a course, meaning prep.

Add this to my summer routine of weekly meetings, preaching roughly a sermon a week, the occasional other services like Thursday 7am Eucharist and funerals (I presided at one in August) and weddings (one over which I have yet to preside), the continuous stream of visitations, and other various meetings such as lunch with a parishioner or local priests and the monthly vestry meeting—add the new school year routine to the summer routine and, yes, my days are now quite full.

So I didn’t start that noon Bible study, fortunately.

But I did decide to audit a course at a nearby university, a Latin course on Apuleius’s Metamorphoses, also known as The Golden Ass, a title given to the story by St. Augustine.  It is the only complete piece of fiction from the classical world; but it also bridges the classical world of Jesus to the early medieval world of Augustine, a very valuable bridge for someone whose calling is concerned with these matters.  I’ve also joined the St. Luke’s choir ex officio; by which I mean I don’t sing with them on Sundays, because I’m not a ventriloquist, but I do rehearse with them on Wednesdays and hope to join them in some special services this year—Evensongs perhaps, and Lessons and Carols.  Oh, and they’re planning a trip to England next summer: perhaps they’ll need a chaplain. . . .

IMG_6819

Other highlights of the month include my first baptism as a priest, pictured here; and the opportunity to give away some money from my discretionary fund to worthy souls.  Both of these acts brought me a high degree of gladness.

Anyway, now a Saturday comes, or a night off, or my assigned day off, Monday, and it seems I now have enough to do.  “Today I think I’ll fix my motorcycle and then translate Latin all day,” I told my wife when I woke up yesterday.  She laughed and asked, “Can I quote you on that?”  I guess maybe I am a little eclectic.  But that’s one of the cool things about the priesthood: it’s a calling that allows eclecticism.

Background: Adolescent Angst

Posted in Background with tags , , , , , , on June 30, 2013 by timtrue

ad ang 2

What this contrast really confronted me with, now as I look back on it all, is something normal for most adolescents.  I was growing up, establishing my own identity, developing my own convictions; or, to put it another way, breaking away from my family.  Recent events may have hastened the process some.  But it was inevitable.

So I entered that time of limbo in human development.  Childhood was over.  Visions of the New Era of Adulthood, that Promised Land of freedom and (like it or not) responsibility, tantalized.  Here in the meantime was purgation, a. k. a. high school.

For me, part of figuring out who I was as an individual person, independent of my family, meant distancing myself.  I didn’t need anyone else’s help, counsel, feedback, authority.  Lame, I know, but that’s where my teenage mind led.  Anything I could do on my own with my own identifying signature attached to it was of interest to me; and the bolder the signature the better.

So team sports were out, for instance.  Well, they were out except for AYSO soccer.  High school soccer wasn’t for me, since it was attached to that institution where I was sentenced to spend most of my limbo incarceration.  But the AYSO soccer league allowed a distraction I guess, time with friends who shared similar feelings about high school as a place of limbo and as a way to stay in shape, or to get in better shape for the approaching winter.  Yes, winter, because in southern California winter was no excuse for staying indoors, and, more importantly, it brought snow to the local mountains, which inevitably meant snow skiing.

Now this was a sport that resonated.  I could purchase my lift ticket and be gone, all day if I wanted, enjoying speed, cold wind in my face, more speed, adrenaline rushes, airtime, and a catalog of glory-laden and emboldened signature stories at the end of the day, sitting in a hot tub or in front of a fire.  Heck, I thought, this is so great I might just have to move to Mammoth Mountain after high graduation.  Who needs college?

I also grew to love motorcycling, hiking, and bicycling; and toyed with surfing, but it never really took, though it beat team sports any day of the week.

Homework was another area I put as much of my own signature on as I could.  Dad was a brilliant engineer, as has already been mentioned.  So I had this great resource at my disposal for any class math- or science-related.  But do you think I used this resource?  I should have, yeah; but fool that I was I did not, unless the gig was up, usually about report card time, choosing instead to take a C on an exam rather than the A I could have earned with a little tutorial help.  Well did Mark Twain say, “When I was fourteen I was surprised at how little my dad actually knew; when I was twenty-one I was amazed at how much he had learned in seven years.”  But I could say they were my grades.

My inherent creativity continued into adolescence.  It just started manifesting itself in ways that were more personal to me.  I wasn’t taking piano lessons anymore.  On my own, without a teacher, I was drawn both to Mozart and Chopin: Mozart appealed to the sanguine side of me; Chopin to the melancholy.  Sanguine and melancholy in the same personality?  A good case study for any psychologist!

A story comes to mind to illustrate this curious personality cocktail.  One Saturday afternoon during this limbo period of life I sat in a living room with my brother and a couple neighbor boys.  Halloween was approaching.  We all felt too old to put on costumes and trick-or-treat; but we all felt too young to stay home and open the door for little ones.  What to do?

My sanguine-melancholy self took charge.  “What if,” I suggested, “we all dressed up as thugs?  We can put on ski masks and grab baseball bats.  Then, let’s make a dummy and go down to the beginning of the street.”  (We lived in a rural setting and the beginning of the street, where it branched off from the more traveled East Loop, promised more traffic.)  “And whenever we see the glare of headlights nearing, we start beating the dummy until we’re sure we’re seen.  Then we run off in every direction and hide.”

They loved it.  And so I, a little brother and nearly the youngest of the group, found myself in uncharacteristic charge of a peer activity–which would bear my signature.

Trouble is, I discovered (as I have seen many times since) that no one really wanted to volunteer their time, talents, or stuff to the cause.  In this case it meant that I made the dummy, using a pair of blue jeans and a long-sleeved shirt and a pair of pantyhose I pilfered from my stepmom’s stash for the head; and stuffing it all with nearly every spare piece of clothing I had.  Shorts, socks, t-shirts, underwear–except for a few changes of clothes, everything went in.

So the night came: Halloween.  Dark set in.  The first trick-or-treaters appeared.  The time had come to execute our plan.  I grabbed my dummy, so lovingly put together, and my ski mask and baseball bat.  Outside my brother and three friends greeted me.  We giggled in anticipation.

Fifteen minutes later we were there, at the corner of East Loop and our street, with the anticipated glare of headlights drawing near.  We threw the dummy down in the middle of the street, straddling the double yellow, and started beating it.  I laughed so hard with each blow that my stomach hurt.  Then the headlights caught us full in the face.  And like a perfectly rehearsed play, we ran off in five different directions, into the avocado orchards and shrubbery of five different neighbors, leaving the dummy in the middle of the road.

That, by the way, was my mistake.  Not that it didn’t work!  Cars would screech to a halt, the driver would get out, poke and prod the dummy, then usually laugh or shake a head before getting back in the car and driving off.  Believe it or not, even a cop did this!  But long about the time our fun was winding down and we were talking about packing up and heading home, wouldn’t you know it, one last car came along.  We threw the dummy down and beat it until the headlights caught us then ran off, each to his own.  But this car’s driver, instead of giving the predictable head shake, kidnapped the dummy and drove off.

I never saw my clothes again.

And being so independent now, I never explained what happened to my parents.  Instead, until Christmas I lived with those three pairs of clothes (and surmise, though I can’t prove it, that thereby I started the grunge style).

I had relished the opportunity to be in charge, showing my sanguine colors to my impressed older brother and his and my friends.  But I moped around for two months–till Christmas when seemingly all my relatives gave me new clothes as gifts–languishing in a melancholy slump over my lost clothes.

So my adolescent angst was fairly typical.  But, on the other hand, I was asking questions none of my friends were.  So many of my friends would gaze at themselves overly long in the mirror, admiring their own growing muscles or gauging the emergence of facial hair, wondering how often to shave or how to catch a girl’s attention.  Or some of my jock friends would preoccupy their time with workouts and football strategies, contemplating and practicing ways to become that much better, faster, or more agile than the next guy.  But I wrestled with questions ontological, epistemological, and metaphysical.  What was the meaning of my existence?  How did I know whether I was awake or in a dream, whether the life I knew each day was actually the dream and my dreams were reality?  Was God real, and if so, how did an immanent God factor into my small world?

It was here, by the way, that the thought first occurred to me that I might be seeing the world too simply.  It was one way or the other to my adolescent mind, without much room for middle ground.  In my mind something was either right or wrong, good or bad, worthwhile or not.  Like snow skiing and high school.  Recognizing this tendency, then, I asked myself if I might perceive the good things I remembered from my childhood as better than they actually were.  I asked too whether the bad things might not be nearly as bad as I recalled.

The contrast I mentioned in my last post then, the one that confronted me abruptly?  Like Hermes, the messenger of the gods, it brought this most excellent question to me for the first time.

Anyway, my adolescent friends thought my questions were far out.  Too far out, in fact.  So I stopped asking them–out loud at least.

Still an Enthusiast

Posted in Motorcycle with tags , , on June 21, 2013 by timtrue

I crashed my motorcycle for the first time today.  Check out this road rash.  DSCF2780  Pretty, eh?  There are other damaged areas on the bike–the left hand guard, the kickstand, and the left passenger footpeg–but this, the tank guard, is the worst.  Fortunately, it’s nothing a few bucks and wrenches can’t replace.  Smart bike makers, those KTM engineers.

Now check out the road.  DSCF2788  See those gouges across the pavement?  They’re from the passenger peg and kickstand, a memorial of sorts, to remind me every time I leave the church parking lot of that time I wrecked.

So what about me?  I’ll spare you the pictures, but . . .

I was leaving the church parking lot, heading home to let the piano movers in.  They had arrived.  I was excited.  Maybe a little too excited.  Hey, I hadn’t tickled the ivories in almost two months.  So on the second turn out of the lot I leaned into a leftward turn.  Routine, for the most part, but no one was around, so I may have leaned too far, and maybe I was going a little faster than prudent.  It was like I hit a patch of black ice.  Only it was ninety degrees, so whahuh?

A thousand questions passed through my head in a split second: Why does it feel like my front tire is not grabbing the pavement?  Crap, I must be going down.  Why here, in front of the church?  Why now, during my first week on the job?  I wonder how much this will hurt.  I wonder if the VBS kids are watching.  What’s my new boss going to think?  Should I call in sick this afternoon?  What am I going to tell my wife?  Et cetera.

The impact wasn’t as bad as I’d anticipated.  In fact, I hardly felt anything.  I just remember stopping short while the bike kept going, sliding, nearly horizontal, across the pavement.  I wonder how much that’ll decrease its value, I thought.  Thus it slid, very slowly it seemed, into a curb when the tire, still spinning as the engine idled, gripped the pavement and the engine stalled.  At least I didn’t need to flip the kill switch.

So I got to my feet.  Still no noticeable pain.  Really?  Next, I didn’t go to the bike.  Whatever damage had been done was there now and wouldn’t go away.  And no more would be done for the time being.  Instead, then, I walked to the point in the road where I figured the tire slid.  I don’t really know why I did this, unless it was my disbelief.  I crashed.  I actually crashed.  Anyway, no sand, no gravel, nothing discernible.  Huh.  Like it or not, I concluded humbly, this crash was due to my own stupidity.

The next task was to pick the bike up.  It weighs about 500 pounds, a fact I’d known in my mind since purchasing it, but not in my flesh.  In a word, it’s heavy.  After some trial and error–stress error–turning my back to the bike and grabbing strategically then using my legs for leverage, and grateful I don’t own an 800-pound Harley, I managed somehow to succeed.

That’s when I first noticed my elbow.  It cried foul, stinging as if I hadn’t been wearing my armor-embedded mesh coat over my short-sleeved clericals.  Good thing I had been.

By the time I arrived home, ahead of the piano movers incidentally, both knees were hurting too.  Was that a bloodstain on my right pant leg?  Yes.  Yes, it was.

By the time the piano movers did arrive, some minutes later, I had been able to tend to my elbow and knees.  Not much damage, really: a few strawberries, one stanched by a bandaid, the right knee.  But by now some more pain had surfaced.  A Charlie horse.  A sore left shoulder.  And, worst of all, a sore ribcage, the left side, hurting every time I take a deep breath (still).  But I don’t think anything’s broken.

Now, with the piano movers here, the bride and kids get home from VBS.  Time to face the music, I think, still jittery from an overdose of adrenaline.  Long story short, the kids see my strawberries and guess what happened; the bride, whom I thought was preoccupied fixing lunch in the kitchen, exclaims, “What!”; and the piano movers tacitly snigger.  The bride then asks, “Are you done now with your midlife crisis?  Aren’t you ready to sell your motorcycle?”

I decide not to call in sick after all.

Besides, I’ve had worse bicycle accidents.

For the record, then, I remain a resolute motorcycle enthusiast.

In any event, there are many parallels here, yeah?  I’m on a journey.  We all are.  Most of the time it’s an enjoyable ride, things are more or less predictable, even when the road ahead is unfamiliar.  But occasionally something unpredictable happens.  Maybe we’re victimized; maybe it’s due to our own stupidity.  Maybe we come away feeling fortunate or even lucky, with only a few scrapes and bruises.  Maybe it’s actually worse than we realize initially, with aches and pains and other trials fully realized only in time.  Whatever the case, it’s time to work through what has come to pass.

The purpose of my blog is to chronicle my priestly pilgrimage ahead–something like a twenty-five year project (I’ll be seventy in twenty-five years).  No doubt I will encounter many such scrapes and bruises along the way.  Or worse.  I hope I can handle them with similar aplomb as this motorcycle crash.

Whatever the case, I intend to remain an enthusiast of the priesthood.