With all the world’s wickedness on display, perhaps we could use some good news today? It’s been a wonderful week, friends.
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Brendan and Becky were in town last weekend for a beautiful wedding—and as friends on the groom’s side we made the short list of guests who could actually attend. It was a great blessing to celebrate the love of God and of two young people in a church at the end of a long week of violence and sorrow.
On Monday, Lily, Jodi and I paraded by vehicle through the Big Woods Elementary School parking lot to cheer and be cheered by the teachers and staff. (In retrospect, Gabe should have joined; he did most to help her with distance learning these past few months.) It was a bittersweet end to the school year, capped by a tear-jerking video from Mrs. Skon to all her students later in the week. We were all blessed to have her as a teacher through these challenges—Lily most of all.
On Thursday, Lily made her First Confession and on Sunday, she will receive her First Holy Communion. Confession was not the usual quiet, prayerful, communal experience: Only a fraction of here classmates were there, dispersed in socially-distanced lines to four priests spread through the church (which holds 1,500) and gathering space. On the flipside, in a typical year we would not have seen as clearly the anxiety of young souls carrying the burdens of seven-plus years to the priest, and the elation resulting from God’s grace and mercy. One boy, in particular, looked as though he might not go until Father came out to greet and encourage him. A few minutes later, he exploded from the makeshift confessional at a sprint, grinning ear to ear; ran to his cheering parents—and burst into tears.
God’s mercy is like that.
On Friday, Emma officially graduated from high school. We watched it online, of course: no crowded Activity Center; no hoots, hollers and horns. I wish they had decided to do a drive-through gathering of the whole class, or something that would have enabled the Class of 2020 to see each other face-to-face—but for what they had to work with, they did a a good job. (You can watch it if you wish; Emma has her moments at 13:18 and 1:40:05.)
On this anniversary of the D-Day invasion, I can say with no reservations that comparisons between the coronavirus quarantine and World War II are a little overblown, but these young people have definitely learned and shown resilience in the face of change, uncertainty and disappointment. They will be stronger for it. Rosebud, we are so proud of you!
Like I said, it’s been a wonderful week.
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But all of these things were facilitated in part by one thing—a garden-variety miracle God works every day, across the world, since lovestruck Adam woke and sang “At Last” to the woman lying, soft and perfect, at his side.
Fifty years ago today, my parents joined hands, hearts and lives in Holy Matrimony. Weddings form and dissolve every day. My father didn’t grow up in any formal church (perhaps Little Grandma’s Home Bible Church was his denomination?), and my Polish Catholic mother drifted a bit in college. But they decided to get married at St. Michael Catholic Church in Wilmot, just up the road from where they grew up as next-door neighbors, where Mom would have received her sacraments as a girl. God was there and, same as with Adam and Eve, He said be fruitful and multiply.
My folks has just two kids: my sister Jill and me. Today they have nine grandchildren and a great-grandbaby on the way.
We were supposed to have a party next week. It has been postponed indefinitely at this point. But their love continues, party or no, and today we honor them.
Fifty years. As the coronavirus quarantine began, I was anxious for them: Jill and I couldn’t go visit, and they seemed so alone. I kept probing in different ways, until finally my mom messaged me: “WE ARE NOT ISOLATED.”
Ha! I guess it was me.
When I woke this morning and thought about 50 years, a haiku of sorts came to mind:
for fifty years now
you’ve been the air I breathe—no
quarantine in love
Mom and Dad—Busia and Dziadzi—we are so blessed by your life, your love and your example. Thank you for helping to make all this possible. We love you!