Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Out Like A Lion

We near the end of a most eventful month: Earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis in Japan, upheaval and civil war in North Africa, and the ill-defined intervention of the United States and other western powers in the crossfire. The news of the world, which encompasses the dramas of so many individuals, families, and communities, enters our homes every day, where we live out our own dramas and events, celebrate our own success, endure our own tragedies.

Our family flourishes in the face of difficulties. We will make it through another month with food on the table and a roof over our heads. Eileen works too hard, but thank God she loves what she does and she is with the children. I am writing, studying, and promoting my book--pretty much free of pain, but still struggling to find energy, still fragile, still living just outside of (and sometimes within) those shadows that are cast about me. My days this month have been mostly positive. I am learning that I cannot allow myself to disappear because my gifts are needed. And beyond that my poor "self"--in whatever condition it may be--is loved and called and must somehow be given in an offering of love, to my wife and children and family and friends who want me simply because I am me (love is such a mystery); to strangers and even enemies, because in God's plan they need to know me; and to God Himself first, who asks only for all of whatever I am.

I am learning. I am also on a new medication that is helping me fight the brain disorder that afflicts me and so many other people. I am not ashamed to acknowledge the need for this help. I have written a book about it. No one should be ashamed of the need for this help.

The kids are troopers, growing in body and mind, full of exuberance, fighting with each other, playing together. They are growing: Josefina seems to become brighter and more intelligently interactive every day. And the change is especially noticeable in John Paul (just two months shy of 14), who is becoming the technological master of the household electronic and media systems, growing more proficient every day in the use of the computer, digital photography, and now the digital video camera, which I finally dusted off and presented to him, saying, "have at it, kid." At the same time there is a quiet maturation of spirit as he prepares for Confirmation.

[Permit me a moment of melodrama: In four years and two months, my son will be 18 years old. That is not so far away. The nation he lives in will most likely be at war. If the precedent set this past month holds, that means (at least in principle) that he could be drafted, mobilized and sent anywhere in the world by the power and the decision of the one man or woman who occupies the office on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. I could say a lot about this; for now I will limit myself to saying that that man or woman better know what the xxxx he or she is doing.]

Joy and struggle, sorrow and tragedy, abundance and need, achievement and disaster, war and peace: we live and endure it all as human beings who are vulnerable and weak and tenacious. What we must believe is that in the end, at the depths of all things, God is working a mystery of goodness that will one day be made manifest to all. We are confident of this because the source and fulfillment of that goodness has already come; He is already here; the victory has already been accomplished.

I won't have a blog entry tomorrow because we are going to a hockey game. See you all next month.