Two in One: A small update & more musings on C.S. Lewis

First: Near the end of February, our friend Wade lost his battle with cancer. Wade was, and continues to be, an inspiration for his courageous battle. Wade’s battle lasted eight years. Some people might say that’s a long time, others that it wasn’t enough time. I’m a bit with the latter, but grateful that their children are all eight years older than they were at the beginning of this. They’ve had the opportunity to make some amazing memories together with their father. This won’t make the loss less painful and in all probability, the loss is now felt all the more. But the gratitude for the time they shared is there. Please pray for his wife and their young family.

Second: I’ve recently finished reading The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis. Personally, I think his books should be required reading for Roman Catholics. Even though Lewis himself did not convert to Catholicism, his books on faith and religion are very strong and they contain an amazing insight about why we need faith and how our faith must include reason and intellect (that is, if I can state “reason and intellect” and not be accused of an oxymoron. Perhaps discernment and intellect might have been better.).

The book talks about heaven and hell and purgatory. It delivers an interesting perspective on our lives that we fail to see for ourselves unless we first read about it somewhere else. Amazing that we should need to read about it elsewhere really. One would think that we would know ourselves better than anyone else possibly could, yet we deceive ourselves easier than we deceive others. The book involves what it takes for each person encountered in the story to move into heaven from purgatory. And Lewis touches on many human behaviors in a relatively short book.

And now that it has taken me a little better than a week to get this post finished, you get a bonus. A third muse absolutely free! Okay fine, I didn’t charge for the others and never do but everybody loves a freebie anyway.

Third: After looking in The Catholic Home by Meredith Gould to see if there was some info I could pass on to the twelve teen boys I teach faith formation to, I decided to reread the acknowledgements. I know, no one ever reads those. But I do and I did. In those expressions of gratitude to the various people who have helped the author with her book, life while writing, etc., I came across a thank you to “the Reverend Martha Blacklock”. The Reverend Martha Blacklock! Now, being a Roman Catholic reading a book by a convert to the Roman Catholic church, I was a bit unnerved to see that title used to address a woman. So I looked her up on the internet. Then I went to the author’s website and then over to the author’s blog. Then I had to make a decision.

When one finds information that makes one question whether or not a person is faithfully following the Catholic church, what is one supposed to do? Most of what this particular author wrote in The Catholic Home is correct and seems faithful to church teachings. The bit about celebrating pagan holidays was over the top and off the mark. How does one reconcile how a person lives their life outside of Mass with what they state about their faith and how the faith they profess expects them to live their life?

I’m not sure about this one. I’ll need to keep thinking on it a bit longer. Why? Because we all fail somewhere, sometime, somehow and I just don’t know if it’s really up to me to judge who is a faithful Catholic and who isn’t.

Rest in peace

Bill, the father-in-law of my best friend passed away this week.  Please keep him and all his family in your prayers.

Thank you.

May Bill’s soul and the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace.  Amen.

Rest In Peace

Please join me in praying for the repose of the soul of “Dave Three” as we knew him.  Dave was a Cub Scout den leader in our town.  Dave was always ready to make a new friend, tell a clean joke and help anyone who needed helping.  Dave leaves behind a wife, two sons-one in 5th grade and one in 8th grade, family members and many, many friends.  He was “my Lutheran friend with an open mind”.

May Dave’s soul find peace and eternal happiness with God, our Father, in Heaven.

Late to the dance again

But that’s okay.  We were enjoying a little time with friends.  The kind of friends who you wish were family.  Thank God for this kind of friend.  Life is good.

Many people have been posting their memories and musings about September 11, 2001.  Mike LaMonica’s blog has some very touching rememberances by people from all over the world.  If you have time you should read them.  Really.  There are over 375 of them as of this posting and there may be more by the time you read this, so plan accordingly.

Loved your post Mike.  Thanks for making sure we don’t forget those who gave all.

My own memories of that day are this:  I was in the hospital, having just delivered our son by Cesarean section at 12:03am on September 10th.  I woke up that morning and had his hospital bassinet brought into the room.  I was spending my morning just watching him sleep.  I may have also had a book to read, but it wasn’t getting nearly the attention that he was.  The cleaning staff person had just come into the room when she noticed that I didn’t have the tv on.  She commented on that, and then quickly said that it was probably better that I didn’t have it on anyway.  Well of course, now my curiosity was picqued and after she was finished, I turned on the tv and saw that a plane had hit the first tower.  I remember thinking, wow, that airline is going to have a tough time explaining this away.

And then I saw the video of the second plane hitting.  And I thought, now this is just too much!  Two planes hitting the towers in New York!  There’s going to have to be an investigation into how much time they have these pilots in the air!  Then the words of the news commentator got through past the images and the shock.  I had put the sound on very low you see, so as not to wake the baby.  I just sat there in my bed.  My jaw was somewhere in the vicinity of my lap.  It was just so hard to believe.  And I looked at my son and wondered what kind of world had we just brought him in to.  He was so very new and this was such a horrendous happening.

I remember asking my obstetrician the next day to sign my discharge papers as I wanted to go home.  I felt like a target sitting there in a building that had so many people in it.  I remembered the words of a guy I had very briefly dated many years before.  He had worked for General Dynamics and he & I were discussing a book I had read.  He had told me then that with the technology of the weapons out there that any city with a population over 10,000 was a target.  I felt that if I could just get home, we would have a chance.  A single family home couldn’t possibly be a prime target.  They had attacked large buildings in major cities, so we should be safer at home than in the hospital.  I convinced my ob to let me go home without telling him of my fears.  I simply wasn’t going to stay in that place any longer.  I agreed to a home care nurse’s visit.  Whatever it took to get out of there.  That’s what I remember.  That’s what I will not forget.

BooBoo’s due date was actually September 20th and sweet little boy that he is, he decided to arrive ten days early.  I for one am so glad that he did.  He was one of my reasons for keeping on after that horrendous day.  I had been given a purpose and that purpose was/is to make sure that the world he grows up in is a better world.  One where he can grow up to be what he wants to be.  One that someday will see peace.

Oh yes, I do still believe peace can happen in our world and yet I am not naive enough to think that it will happen without deterrant force.  I thank God for all our men and women in the military.  Without them, we would not be the free nation that we are today.  We should also remember all the people who lost their lives in those towers, in the Pentagon and on Flight 93 in that field in Pennsylvania.  Including those who went in to rescue others.  It takes guts to run into a building when everyone else is running out.

One more memoryfrom that time:  After the planes were allowed to return to the air, I was upstairs with BooBoo.  Our daughter Ditty who was not yet three at the time was playing downstairs when I heard a strange noise outside.  It sounded like a small plane.  I went to our deck door which faces east and saw a small plane flying very low.  The sight of that plane almost put me in shock.  It was coming straight at our house.  I remember thinking that I wouldn’t be able to make it downstairs to grab Ditty and get us all out of the house before the plane hit.  And I wasn’t going to leave the house without both of my children safely out either. 

So I did the only thing I could think of to do.  I opened up the deck door and walked out onto the deck with BooBoo in my arms and I faced that plane.  Silently I dared the pilot to look into my eyes.  I dared him to actually see the faces of the people he was about to kill.  And I prayed. 

I prayed that the plane would not hit my home.  That my children would live and be able to grow up.  That they would not die so very young.

Since you are reading my post, you obviously know that the plane did not hit our house.  The co-pilot was able to pull the plane up.  It passed over our roof with about 6 feet to spare.  Yes, that close.  As for me, I looked at the plane flying over my head and I memorized the numbers on the underside and tail of that plane.  I stepped back into the house and wrote them down.  Then I called the small airport in our town and chewed them out for letting that idiot fly that plane.  Yes, I really did.

I explained (a rather nice word considering how ticked I was) that the pilot barely missed hitting our house and that I had a small child and a newborn here with me and considering the events of September 11th, the pilot should have had more sense than to fly a plane that low anymore.  I also gave them the numbers from the bottom and tail of the plane and told them that they needed to locate that plane and tell the pilot off for me. 

I also declared, yes declared, that my house was a “no fly zone” and if I ever saw another plane pull that kind of stunt again I was not going to be so nice as to call them, I was going to call the police and let them deal with the matter. 

Now, that probably gave you a good laugh but I was quite serious.  I was mad as could be about the near loss of life that had just occurred because of some idiot’s stupid actions and I wasn’t going to let it pass without making sure that someone did something to help keep us safe.  Our house had been on the local flight school’s flight plan long enough!  They could just go and train the newbies somewhere else!  And for the record, for quite a long time they did.

You’re probably also thinking that this post is a bit disjointed.  You’re right.  I’m exhausted and I pushed publish earlier and not save draft like I wanted.  I’ll clean it up later.  After I get some much needed sleep in my own bed.  Or maybe not.  Sometimes we aren’t as coherent as we’d like to be but our point gets through anyway.

My point to all this:  Remember 9/11/01.  Remember those who gave all.  Do not remember so that you can hate without reason.  Remember instead the love for neighbor, the pride in our service people and the hope for a better tomorrow that makes our country a wonderful place to live and raise our children.  Remember how we came together in true E Pluribus, Unum (From Many, One) fashion.  We have always united in the face of danger.  May we always continue to do so.

So I’ll leave you with the sign off words of one of my favorite comedians, Mr. Red Skelton:  Good night and God Bless.

Pray for this family

For Haley, Billy and their baby girl, Brayley.  Brayley’s life on earth was short and yet she will be missed and mourned by those who loved her.  You can read the details here

Rest in peace baby Brayley and may the peace of God comfort those you have left behind.

How it all changes in the blink of an eye

I’m wiped out.  I can’t begin to fathom how Tracy & Jeff are feeling.  Time to roll back the clock a bit and catch you all up.

Saturday morning, Ditty had a basketball game.  Afterward BooBoo, Ditty and one of Ditty’s friends were going with DH to a local waterpark for a Cub Scout event.  While we were at the basketball game, the friend’s dad got an emergency phone call that his father had fallen off the roof and was being air lifted to a trauma hospital nearby.  The message was relayed to me by a mutual friend.  The girls didn’t know yet, and I made a decision not to tell them.  Since Ditty’s friend was going to be with us for the afternoon anyway, there was time to find out from her parents how they wanted to handle telling her. 

Later that day, a message was relayed to me through the girl’s aunt that her mother would prefer to be the one to explain what happened.  I let DH know what had happened and that we weren’t going to tell the girl anything.  It was important to give that little girl this time to be a kid and enjoy the day with her friend Ditty.

Sadly, Jeff’s dad passed away.  His aorta tore and that was what caused the fall from the roof.  While his family is thankful that the tear didn’t occur while he was driving, they are grief stricken none the less.  Please pray for them in their hour of need and for their deceased loved one as well.

Thank you.

Of rings and strings and sealing wax

BooBoo began to feel better just before supper Thursday night.  So he, Ditty and I headed out to the Science Museum on Friday. 

We were just pulling out of the driveway, when I looked at the gas gauge.  “We’ll have to stop and put gas in the van”, I told the kids.  So we did that at the gas station in the little town just east of ours (cheaper gas).  Then BooBoo said he was getting hungry.  Not surprising, since he had hardly eaten anything yesterday save supper.  So I said we’d stop for lunch in a suburb farther east.  At least we were heading closer to the destination that way.

At the restaurant, BooBoo managed to spill most of his chocolate milk down his shirt and pants.  Got him another milk and asked him to please slow down and be careful.  Stopped at Target to get him a dry pair of pants.  At least the milk hadn’t soaked through anything else.  By the time we left the parking lot, I was seriously wondering if we were even meant to go to the museum without their dad.  Fate was certainly handing us a lot of bumps in the road, so to speak.

We finally arrived at 12:50pm and found an enormous line waiting to get in.  The line did move fairly quickly and when we finally stepped up to the counter to buy the tickets for the Titanic exhibit, we were actually able to get the three of us into the exhibit at 1:15pm, just 20 minutes from the time we bought the tickets.  Timed entry is nice but can be tricky in a crowd.  I thought we wouldn’t be able to see the exhibit until 5:30 or 6pm with that many people in line.  So off we went to spend a little time on the same floor as the exhibit.  Luckily, the kids like the body works exhibit.  The museum had changed it up a bit so the kids were once again, enthralled and were a bit bummed when I said it was time to go see Titanic.  We were each given a “boarding pass” with the name of a passenger who was actually on the Titanic and were told that we would see a wall at the end of the exhibit and could check that to see if our person survived the disaster or lost their life at sea.

The exhibit was very good.  It took us two hours to get through the whole thing, so I wouldn’t recommend it for people with small children.  Even BooBoo complained that he was getting bored.   The kids did enjoy touching the “iceberg”.  Yes, they really had frozen water in the general shape of an iceberg, along with an explanation that salt water freezes at a lower temperature than fresh water so the ‘bergs in the ocean are actually colder than the one we touched.  They also had a wireless telegraph, a sheet of Morse code and some “messages” you could practice “sending”.  The kids didn’t want to do that though.  The costumed interpreters were quite good.  The man in the engine room told us that the engine room was really supposed to be off limits to passengers but if we insisted on taking the whole tour of the ship, we should “mind the furnaces” as they are quite hot and only ask him questions as these other guys (four pictures of some of Titanic’s engine crew) were busy working and they won’t like being bothered.  A stewardess (yes, the men working on the ship are stewards so the women are stewardesses) in the room with the real size outline of a life boat, talked about seeing the ship go down and trying to get others that were in the water into the boat and other experiences of the survivors.  Very moving. 

When we got to the end, Ditty and I found out that our characters, traveling in second class both survived (as both were women, I was fairly certain that they would), BooBoo’s on the other hand, being both a male and a traveler in third class did not. 

All in all, 705 people survived the wreck, 1523 did not.  Here’s to the memory of those who did not.

In memory of. . .

This post is in memory of Dave M.  His daughter is the dear friend of one of my dear friends.  Rest in peace Dave and may your family be comforted.  Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord.  And let perpetual light shine upon him.

Perfectly Preserved In Perpetuity

Friends, Romans, Countrymen

  • 8,224 interested parties

Quotes:

"If you are what you should be you will set the whole world on fire."
St. Catherine of Sienna

I finally understand

"Among those around you, apostolic soul, you are the stone fallen into the lake. With your word and your example, you produce a first circle, and it another, and another, and another, wider each time. Now do you understand the greatness of your mission?" St. Josemarie Escriva: The Way