8 months after the loss of my job and banking career so much has happened to help shape my life as it is and how it will be. The reality of such a rupture on November 6, 2020 was profound and I had to navigate many emotions and feelings. God knows best. My time employed at my home parish of St. Jane de Chantal has been an amazing time; an amazing experience. I love the opportunity to work on behalf of the parish, utilize my ministry experience and diaconate experience and to really put flesh on service to God by serving one another. My responsibilities include so much more than what I do as I have to remind myself that I still must provide for my families well being. Getting used to a much lower income than the banking industry provides has been a work in progress; one that me and my wife have learned to navigate in new and innovative ways.
As we all find ourselves smack in the middle of summer; and one of the wettest summers I can ever remember, it may be a good time to sit and reflect and listen to what God is asking of us; what God wants of us and to act upon that ask. For me, I have been so heavily involved in the many duties and responsibilities of parish life that time marches on but I experience an ever greater level of fulfillment and satisfaction than all the years I labored in the secular world. As a Deacon assigned the awesome responsibility of prison ministry I still grieve at my now 15 month absence from the Catholic community at Rayburn Correctional Facility. The ongoing issues with that monster Covid19 inside a setting like a 1,200 man jail facility has just not resulted in our ability to get back on the inside to minister. So I use my new position with the parish and the gift of time to be more open to the many ways I can serve around St. Jane and the greater community in which I live and work.
One unexpected blessing has been my availability to assist with funerals; everything from meeting and talking to the families, to attending, preaching and presiding at memorials and graveside services. Families always gather strength and comfort from attentive and sincere clergy during such times and I strive to be that and more. I'm also more engaged in Baptisms; always a source of such happiness and joy. I find Baptisms incredible teaching moments for the families and friends of the newly baptized as we rejoice in the grace and elimination of original sin of those new, young Christians. One of my newer duties upcoming in the weeks and months ahead will be working with and coordinating the RCIA activities of the parish. I know it is sheer joy when someone seeks out and enters the Catholic faith and I so look forward to playing a more active role in the process.
On the home front I find myself about a month and a half removed from hernia repair surgery which I found to be a little more difficult to recover from than anticipated. In the meantime, I am battling to keep my diabetes numbers under control so I can pursue the long overdue knee replacement that has to happen. Wendy battles her own issues but gets some good relief by her relentless pursuit of her swimming and water aerobics routine that she has now returned to with robust enthusiasm. Did I mention it is wet. It is so wet that unlike any other summer in my almost 26 years in the country my grass is out of control. I could not cut grass for over 4 weeks post surgery than the rain has been constant for well over a month. I am learning to simply be at peace with the reality. Unfortunately, when all the rain stops there will be plenty of outside stuff to do and, if no rain, it will be so hot. Remember, I do not like the summer and the weather is the #1 reason.
Wendy and I continue to get great joy at being Nona and Pops to Calvin, Katelyn, Brennan and Walker. We just celebrated Katelyn's 6th birthday, via Skype of course, and thanks to technology watched both her and brother Calvin as they participated in a city-wide competitive swim meet. They have both become excellent swimmers. If our plans hold, we will drive up for a face to face visit in August before they return to school. Brennan had a recent sleep over at our house where Wendy decided to build a little campfire to roast hot dogs and marshmallows; cute but problematic if you can imagine.
One final note. I mentioned at the beginning the end of my banking career and I still, personally, believe it was dastardly. Now I read that the very branch I worked so hard to keep afloat, to make a vital part of the community we served, is being closed by that very same banking institution. I am not happy to hear this because I do not want anyone else thrown into turmoil by the unexpected interruption of job and, more importantly, I am sad for the community of Pearl River now left without any local banking option. I pray some other bank may be willing to come to that community and fill the void. If nothing else, while there for almost 9 years, I did come to enjoy many of my clients and the community in general.
So I wrap this little update into a neat little bow and hope and pray the future remains hopeful and kind to all of us. God is so good to us and holds us in his hands no matter what may be happening in this thing called life. Pray for me as I promise to pray for each of you. God Bless and be well.