Sidenote: I originally wanted to title this blog post “Reflections on a Gift of Jitterbug Perfume” — a story I will hopefully some day get to telling.
My relationship with hyperbole is not unfamiliar. Increasingly, I’m starting to see which of the next generation have a similar relationship with hyperbole. I preface with this because I had a pretty amazing interaction with God last night and it turned in to one of the best Christmas’ of my life.
Strangely, my dad missing didn’t feel at all like a point of sadness. In fact, we even made a few jokes in his memory.
When Andy asked a question, I pointed and coughed “DAH!” (one example).
And I believe now more than ever it is because he is still with me and my family in the most benevolent, angelic, and heavenly way.
I don’t think it’s possible for the best of someone to be with us until they have truly moved closer to God and I know now that PSK has. Meaningfully. And myself and my family are the benefactor. I’ve spent about 10 weeks avoiding posting more about the “infinity” I’ve talked about in earliest post and I’m going to avoid it for another night.
What I will say is this: last night, I happened to catch the Vatican Mass on TV live. The same dude with the hot soothing voice was translating and I felt myself called…truly called…to watch it in its entirety. This isn’t all that unusual a thing for me to watch, but despite being tired, I didn’t just record it – I watched it.
The homily was spectacular, calling and reminding us to live more simply, take less, give more, but more importantly, he continued to explain the word of God in a way that will make sense to many –
Francis said Jesus “calls us to act soberly, in other words, in a way that is simple, balanced, consistent, capable of seeing and doing what is essential” and to balance a society that can persecute and bully, “In a world which all too often is merciless to the sinner and lenient to the sin, we need to cultivate a strong sense of justice.”
After the homily, the congregation, as I’ve done many times, recites the Nicene Creed which I always call the “Profession of Faith.”
I fell to my knees. Like, uncontrollably. On my cement floors. I bowed my head, eyes open and prayed. It felt like I was being ripped open and put back together at the same time.
I’m not even sure I qualify as a good person, but I believe I’m starting to understand God. A lot.
And I still think that most of what gets thought of as “God” is fucked up, an indicator of man’s imperfection not the simplicity of infinity.
Today was calm, a great day with my family. There were a few opportunities I could have been less a victim to the sensitivities of some like my niece Lydia when I let a joke go too far and made her feel excluded. She was actually worried I had a woman named Alexa locked in my house who I never let leave and would yell commands to. It wasn’t her being naive, it was the deadpan delivery. I’m sorry for that.
I could have remembered the amazing gift my mother gave me which I never asked for and shows her understanding of me even when I don’t always believe she does. (Mom, for the record, you did amazing! Best gift of my life. And I’m sorry I snapped at you.)
Both my sisters and their families gave me a gift that showed they get me…in very different ways expressing the ways that they themselves are very different.
And I tried my best to step in to the role of my father and carry his tradition forward, and this is the last time I’ll duplicate them so closely and the start of me leading with my own. My grandmother used to send Harry & David pears to my father each year – and then he began to send them to each of his kids. This year, I sent them to those I love. I’ll probably keep that.
My father used to give cards with cash in them, mostly out of laziness. I did that this year, but only because I haven’t ramped in to my tradition which will be to give something handmade and also, to deliver a “gift of a lifetime” sometime during their life.
I’m much less about momentary splash these days, a lot more about enduring memories.
I’m so in love with my family.
I want to show that love more.
And I want us to, as a family, commit to more simplicity in this coming year, the year of mercy. So my challenge to my family, and to anyone reading this: let’s do something of service next year, and give to each other in incredibly simple ways.
We have all that we need, which is each other.