Friday, December 25, 2020

Reflecting on a Christmas evening and still we cling to hope

 It's the perfect day to reflect; after all, it's Christmas Day in the year 2020, a year no one will forget.  Thinking back, last Christmas we knew nothing about Coronavirus, more specifically, Covid19.  By March, we knew more than we cared to know and then the illnesses, the death, the crush on hospitals and doctors, nurses, therapists, the need to flatten the curve, the controversies, the conspiracy theories and more than a few willing to be conspiracy theorists, controversy over potential cures, masks, my goodness all the bull crap related to masks, businesses shutting down, stimulus checks, PPP loans, political fallout, potentially directly impacting a national election.  Wow.  And that's not all when you talk about 2020.

We witnessed incredible national turmoil with controversial police shootings followed by incredible riots.  There were legitimate, well organized protests, although without social distancing but if you are honest, there seemed to be more riots.  Cities burned.  Defund the police became a thing.  Fortunately for the most part, things were fairly calm down here in these parts.  But not so calm in other matters.

The 2020 Hurricane season was anything but calm.  We were in a hurricane cone of uncertainty something like 7 times.  Our to the west neighbor, Lake Charles, gets bombed not once but twice by major hurricanes.  We kept dodging bullets but finally, in October of all things, we took a hit.  Damage was minimal, power outages were not.  It turned out to be one of the worst hurricane seasons of all time, naming storms well into the Greek alphabet.

2020 turned out to be a big news day for me personally.  Wendy and I did indeed battle Covid19; sometime in late July thru early August.  Thank the good Lord that our symptoms were manageable and we recovered within that 10-14 day time frame.  The most devastating thing for me was the cruel and unanticipated loss of not just a job but a 35 year career in the financial services/banking business.  I've hinted on these pages what was done to me and promised more details but have since decided I've said enough; at least for now.  I've also mentioned that many great things have happened since the bank execution; I love working for the church, I love being available for ministry but let's be honest; I have experienced a significant loss of income not to mention health insurance.  I'm glad to be through with banking, especially the mind boggling banking at my last employer, but this has been difficult on me in several ways.  Still, I am very confident that 2021 will answer many of my questions relative to income.

2020 brought some family joy and some disappointment.  In May I became a Pops for the 4th time, baby Walker born to my daughter Elizabeth and son-in-law Mark.  Walker is perfect, just like my other 3 grandchildren.  We have spent plenty of time this year with Brennan, now almost 3, who has spent the night with us more than a few times.  On the disappointing side, Covid19 brought us only one visit to North Carolina to see Calvin and Katelyn.  It was a great visit in early October but a post Christmas trip was cancelled recently.  Thankfully we are pretty strong with Skype; almost every week!

How has 2020 impacted ministry as a Catholic Permanent Deacon?  Well, it was hard to do masses with only a camera in the church instead of worshippers.  Then we had the ridiculous decision to let 10 folks only in the church.  Eventually we got back to somewhat more normal numbers.  Everyone has to wear a mask; a mandate from the state and a strong request from the Archbishop; still, there are some who won't wear the mask.  Foolishness.  If that is the desire of the Archbishop; enough said.  Some churches have refused communion on the tongue; all have eliminated the common cup.  Despite it all we persevere.  Then there is the subject of prison ministry.  We have been forbidden to enter any state run prison since March 13th; truly tragic for the inmates and for the prison ministry team.

Yet we face a New Year soon still burdened by a world-wide pandemic but ever hopeful with vaccines and other developments to battle Covid19.  And we are ever hopeful because we have just been reinforced by the Gospel messages of the Christmas liturgy; the Light will not be overcome by the darkness and the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.  Uncertainties abound for sure; but what is certain is that we can be confident in the faithfulness of the Father who sent His Son to us, to save us.  On this Christmas night I am still recovering from the unemployment mess and like everyone else, must be concerned but not afraid of the virus.  But I take great hope, not only in my God, my Lord and Savior, but my community of faith, my family and great friends who are so supportive.  Thank you Lord for loving me to send your Son to save me.

And by all means, celebrate Christmas for all of this Christmas season, which just began today!

Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight!


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