First off, I want to thank everyone who commented on Friday.

And I’m even more grateful that none of you called me on breaking my “no more sad posts” promise from the week prior =)

Secondly I wanted to explain to you, as an anal retentive type, I’ve set up a folder for every member of my family on our computer desktop. They each contain the person’s name followed by “stuff.” Well, all but mine. My name is followed by the word “junk.” Pretty telling, don’t you think?

Anywho, I was sorting through my “junk” after Friday’s post, and I came across something I had previously forgotten about. A long way back, I used to teach Children’s Liturgy at our church (I know, right?), and at one point they decided that we should provide the actual homily (sermon) in our own fashion to the general congregation. Of all the teachers, I was chosen (I know, right?) to do so. Now, as the church is a body politic more than anything else, the tides eventually changed, and about a week before I supposed to give the homily, they canned the whole idea. The thing I came across while sorting through my junk, was the homily I had planned on giving, but never did. Until now, that is…

OK kids – we have been getting soooooooo many complaints from the parents, jealous that they don’t get to come to the Lil Church in the back with us every week, that we thought  – just this once – that we would instead bring our Lil Church up front to them! And don’t you worry; I’ll make sure that they behave as well as you do. Well, almost.

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So, are we ready to listen to the readings?

     (response)

And do we listen with our mouths?

    (response)

Do we listen with our ears?

    (response)

OK, then, let’s go!

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    (followed by the readings. After Gospel, wait a few minutes. Let the kids sit back down on the floor before doing so yourself. Deep breath, and…)

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“You are the salt of the earth.”

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Did you notice that?

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“You ARE the salt of the earth.”

“You ARE the Light of the world.”

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See, Jesus didn’t say, “you MAY BE the salt of the earth”,

Or, “being the salt of the earth happens from time to time”,

And He didn’t say, “There’s an outside chance that at some point you might possibly be a light of the world – hey – it happens.”

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No, Jesus plainly states that we ARE the salt.

We ARE the light.

Already.

Without our even knowing it.

COOL!

So… all the hard work has already been done – God already knows we have the ability to shine like His son – God has already placed His trust in us.

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Now,

all I have to do is just sit here n’ “Shine” – right?

Just hang out n’ be all Salty – right?

Is there something more to it you think?

Well,

I’ve already got salty down (rubbing beard), but how exactly do I shine?

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I’m pretty sure you guys are too young to have heard of this, but there used to be an uber-popular thing called a “WWJD” bracelet, and these little gems basically reminded us to always think about how Jesus would handle a situation, prior to attacking it ourselves.

I kinda wish it hadn’t been so uber-popular, because once something reaches that level of coolness, then it HAS TO – by some strange cosmic law – become uber-NOT cool at some point, and then it just disappears altogether.

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I wish this hadn’t happened because these bracelets were so much easier than lugging around a copy of today’s first reading all the time.

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You see the W-W-J-D stood for “What Would Jesus Do”, and in the first reading, Isaiah reminds us that “What Would Jesus Do” is exactly What Would Jesus Did:

  • He gave bread
  • He clothed
  • He sheltered
  • He embraced
  • He Shone with the brightness of God’s Light!

And if I want to shine as He did – if I want to shine with the brightness of God’s Light – then all I have to do is follow His lead – all I have to do is

  • Give bread – either literal or intellectual (got a good book you’re done with? Pass it along to someone else to enjoy! Not playing with that toy? Give it to someone who maybe can’t afford it!)
  • Give clothing – be respectful of the clothes you have, so that when you grow out of them, someone else can wear them as well. Ask your parents to make semi-annual Amvets or Salvation Army runs.
  • Give shelter – friend having a hard time with their brothers or sisters? Invite them over for a sleepover!  See a classmate being bullied? Stand by them instead with the bullies – SHELTER them.
  • Give embraces – real ones are cool, but sharing your toys is another way to make someone feel pretty well-hugged – holding doors for people does wonders as well, and I guarantee, if you VOLUNTARILY do dishes one night – your folks are gonna give you the hug of a lifetime – after they come back to, of course.

In other words – before you do anything – just remember that God has ALREADY placed His trust in you.

And His Son has already shown us the Way – go do it like He did it – and don’t worry about what results. Trust him like he trusts you. Then, not only will you be the Salt of the earth,

you will also be salty  =)

not only will you be a Light to the world,

but you will also SHINE!

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Will it be easy?

No!

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Can you do it?

Yes!

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Jesus believes in you, your loved ones believe in you, I believe in you – and I pray that you believe in you too =)

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Now get outta here – be good through the rest of mass, and have a great week kids – thanks!

•••

I guess I’m sharing this with you today, because when I re-read it, I found myself thinking two things. First off, my punctuation skills suck. And secondly, I really should learn to take my own advice more often.

Sorry, just one more sad post (promise!)

Listen, he wasn’t the “Best Dad Ever,” and quite frankly, I hate when people say that at funerals. There was only ever one Best Dad Ever, and he was all but forgotten the moment his wife went ahead and invented the rosary.

So, he wasn’t the best ever, but he was mine. And now he’s not. Well, not “not,” but he is gone. Absent if you will. His likeness still sits there in the 11″ X 16″ budget-friendly (read: plexi face and plastic trim) frame that’s nestled in the corner of my bedroom. Sitting next to his wife with his back towards me, her arm draped over him as they sat one sunny day far and long ago, waiting with us for the Fantasy Island Wild West Show to begin.

At the time my three were much younger, and jacked up at the prospect that they would very soon be jacked up on the sugar from the cotton candy, which was promised to follow the show. They were jacked even further in the knowledge that with the show, they were about to experience some really real and honest-to-gosh shoot ’em up cowboy action, complete with guns a-blazing, fists a-flying and bad guys a-plenty being thrown from the roof of the local saloon.

Trust me, the show lived up to its reputation. The kids even received “honorary deputy” badges afterwards. Dad and I did not. Dad wasn’t upset by that, but I was.

The aforementioned picture was captured by C of course, as – had I captured it – it never would have become the moment it did. In it, they’re sitting and talking. About what, I’ve no idea. About what, I’m sure inconsequential. None of that matters now, does it? They talked, C captured the moment, the Wild West Show went on as scheduled. The picture was later 3 X 5ishly printed and placed on their fridge, where it has sat ever since, except for that one time I stole it in order to scan it.

We all enjoyed ourselves, and we can all regale in the experience today. Well, all but one of us. Because he’s gone, but that’s OK. For, like k~’s grandmother saying that she would be in a better place when she passed, I feel that dad is as well. Besides, he may be gone, but he’s not forgotten. And no matter how much he wished that he were, he won’t be. His impact on life was no less than the others who have left me this year. He counted. He counts still. He made a life that didn’t exist before him, a life that couldn’t exist without him.

So C sleeps, and I lie here staring at that damned picture, framed in cheap plastic. And I miss him again. Miss the pride he would’ve felt in knowing of our family expansion. Miss the advice he could have provided me in this endeavor. Miss just hearing his voice say “I’ll remember that!” every time I caught him with a verbal jab. I used to always respond with “no, no you won’t,” and he never did. I miss him; the man, the mentor, the bastard, the dad that I knew, the dad that I did love, and the dad that I still do.

Could I get rid of that picture, and save me some grief? I suppose I could. It’s only with me because it was a bum print intended to be given to my mom (don’t worry, she has the good copy) at dad’s funeral. But I don’t want to. I like being able to see him as I once did. Draped in mom’s arm, talking about something inconsequential before the start of the Wild West Show at Fantasy Island. I like being able to remember my dad as he was. As he will hopefully again someday be, and as I will hopefully again someday be able to see.

•••

So in reading back through this (you still can’t believe I actually proof-read these, can you?), I suppose that in the end it wasn’t such a sad post after all. Odd, considering the fact that I was literally bawling like a two year old who had just spilt their ice cream over a sewer grate the night I originally wrote it down. Possibly as my friend suggested, while I’ll never get over dad’s passing, maybe I am getting used to it. I hope so, almost as much as I hope that someday we’ll meet again he and I, some sunny day.

Briefly…

Today’s “Briefly…” was almost just a quick note letting you know that today’s “Briefly…” wouldn’t post until tomorrow.

I was able to squirrel away a couple of minutes to jam out 100 words into my keyboard however, so here’s this week’s 100 Word Song.

Here’s a picture of a toad (don’t ask):

And here’s the song that I was going to choose for this week (one that I’ve been singing quite frequently as of late)…