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Archive for June, 2015

Who knew?

I read an obituary today.  Someone I knew a long time ago passed away.  Just one of those things, you know?  Young, healthy I guess, I don’t really know, and then, boom.  Brain aneurysm.  You might suppose I’m writing because I’m tortured by the reminder of my own mortality.  Here, one of my peers*, is gone so soon.  A life so brief.  That’s not it, though.  I’m Catholic.  I know my scripture and my theology.  We know not the day nor the hour.  My personal end could come at any time with no warning.    No, but there are two things, somewhat related, that I keep turning over in my mind.

The first is that whatever I think I knew about “that kid” I’m now pretty sure I never knew him at all.  Look, nobody is their resume, but I’ll admit to being surprised to find out what he had accomplished in his life, where he had been, where he was going.  I saw one facet, but there was more. A lot more.  It is so easy to make assumptions about people based on a very small amount of information and it’s hard to accept that sometimes our assumptions are wrong.  And while I understand that 14 short paragraphs can’t express the fullness of a man and that accomplishments don’t equal happiness or virtue, these paragraphs, taken at face value, tell the story of a successful, content man.  One of my favorite quotes from the obituary: “When asked, “What kind of a day did he have?” he would stop, smile and answer “My day was perfect/wonderful! How was yours?” Or “PERFECT…..BLISS” He was truly content with his life”

And this leads me to the second thing I can’t stop meditating on – the person who wrote this obituary (and I believe that it was his mother) loved that man.  Understood that man.  Accepted that man.  I knew him as a boy.  A boy with some…quirks.  Which was okay, because it wasn’t unusual for my group of friends.  But now I’m a parent, and I wonder. Do I accept my children wholeheartedly the way this mother accepted her son?  Can I?  Sometimes I get so caught up in my need to shape, guide, mold my children that I forget that they are their own selves.  And I need to love them, accept them, meet them where they’re at and follow their interests.

So that’s what I’m thinking about tonight.

*One of many who should not be forgotten and who I’m thinking about tonight.  Jonathan, Laurie, John, Dan, Will.

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