Thursday, September 27, 2012

THE Father Stephen


Father Stephen and Lucas (20 months), 1998
Walking in darkness, God lends you people that emanate light and show you the way. For me, that was Farther Stephen Barber, 1997. He was the rotating chaplain for the UCLA Pediatric ICU and I was the freaked-out-mess-of-a-new-mom watching my infant suffer through two open-heart-surgeries that blossomed horrible side effects.
Father Stephen, Lucas, My Teckie, Miss Piggy and Lui
Father Stephen, a young Jesuit priest-in-training, was an angel at this time of turmoil. You see, we were meeting with the ethics committee at UCLA, contemplating taking our baby off life support and Father Stephen was right there comforting us. He stood inside of the extreme brokenness we were engulfed in. 

Father Stephen walked with us into meetings with ethicists and doctors. We spent lunches on the UCLA campus chewing over the  meaning of life (no matter how short), a real Jesus, death and everlasting life. Lucas was only four-months old at that time, with an array of ugly, yet, colorfully rare complications that would make any rainbow shy away. It was a dark time.
Fast-forward thirteen years...

Who knew Overboard had kept in touch with The Father Stephen? Overboard is a phenomenal lover of all things Catholic! She told me that he was in Southern California and she invited Father Stephen, yes, THE Father Stephen, to my nephew’s 2nd birthday party. Flabbergasted, excited, and melancholy thoughts filled me at the thought of seeing him again. So much life and time had passed since he last visited our home in 1998.
Homecoming Dance, 2012

Now “Baby Lucas” is a healthy teenybopper, with a self-shaved head, magnetic draw towards guitar, struggling in sophomore geometry and flashing a beautiful (post-braces) smile. His  Arizona friend Jenny, from Camp Del Corazon, was visiting that  same weekend to attend Lucas’ Homecoming Dance. Man, I felt old!

You know what popped into my brain as I gazed at these old and new photos? It is bizarre, but what I thought. It was a 1970’s groovy-wooden plaque that hung in our Silver Strand beach house when I was a child. It read, “Time heals all things except crow’s feet.”  Back then, I had no idea what it meant; five hand-painted blackbirds on pokey feet, some with wings spread out, standing under those words. How could time help their feet?
Now I get it!  Time really is a great healer (except for those darn eye wrinkles).
Back to THE Father Stephen story … God is so good! You can tell by husband’s reaction in this photo that when Lucas formally met Father Stephen (with zilch memory of his babyhood) it was a special moment for the parents, grandparents and entire family.  God’s abundant healing has grown Lucas up, as well as THE Father Stephen Barber. He is now the Head of Admissions for Loyal High school in Los Angeles.
Miracles do happen :0)
This man that watched my crushed new-mom-self emotionally bare naked spent an afternoon with us and shared dinner with my entire family. He held the table captive with stories of working as the chaplain at San Quentin Sate Prison, among other things. Who knew God was shaping us to become these “other people?” I had no idea.  In the middle of that 1997 storm, I could not see that there was a bright, fully alive, and ordained future waiting to unfold.

Cheers to God’s goodness and to our friend,
 THE Father Stephen! CLINK!
Oh, and, um, Happy Birthday Benson!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Oh, the Places You'll go!

As a kid, Dr. Seuss was my favorite author. He was a true-rhymsical wordsmith and always delivered a wonderful message to all ages.

In life, at one time or another, we all find ourselves in a life balance slump.
Dr. Seuss says it best in Oh, the Places You’ll Go!.
Uncle Scott and Daniel  soaring to great heights!
“You’ll be on your way up! You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers, who soar to high heights.

You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed.
You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you’ll be the best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.
Except when you don’t. Because, sometimes, you won’t.
I’m sorry to say so but, sadly, it’s true
and Hang-ups can happen to you.

You can get all hung up in a prickle-ly perch.
And your gang will fly on. You’ll be left in a Lurch.

You’ll come down from the Lurch with an unpleasant bump.
And the chances are, then, that you’ll be in a Slump.

And when you’re in a Slump, you’re not in for much fun.
Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.”
 ~ Dr. Seuss
True That! Who hasn't seen great hights then been left in a Lurch?
And you'll come down from the Lurch with an upleasant bump!
 Thank you to the Good Doctor Seuss for helping human-kind keep "the balance." The Fun Way ;o)

Monday, September 3, 2012

Confucius say ...

Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life
Labor Day is an American Federal Holiday recognized on the first Monday in September. This day "off" celebrates the social and economic contribution of workers. Our society has made it the touchpoint for summer's end and high society's marker for the last chance to fashionably wear white. It is also one of the busiest retail days of the year, right after Black Friday. Ironically, those who work in retail don't get Labor Day off. Go figure!
Work is officially over for Mr. Oppossum we (finally) caught Saturday night
Hopefully, you put your heels up and enjoyed time "off" from whatever your occupation. In a perfect world, we'd follow Confucius's advice and never "work" a day in our life. Dream on, Grasshopper! Most Americans are thankful to clock-into a job that pays these days ... Thank God for our employment!
No grind for us
Happy Labor Day!