This is NOT a President’s Day Post

In fact, it’s not really a post at all actually, but rather, a recent facebook status update I made. One that I feel should be thrown into a larger web of the social media. One that, with a singular simple addition of a word (and more than a whole slew of singular edits), I feel will work pretty danged well for this week’s Trifecta Writing Challenge:

FUNK (noun)  3 :  SLUMP  <an economic funk>  <the team went into a funk>

Picture11-1While struggling to swallow my latest fit of depression tonight at work, I met a mom who had really nice kids, and pretty sweet tats. As these things transpire, in conversation I found out that each tattoo represented one of the children. As she explained each in turn, I learned that the child whom I thought the most mature (a birthday boy JUST turned twelve who simply HAD to have Minecraft merch to celebrate properly), was born with autism. But it was his sister who stole my heart and gave me hope, in that at no more than 10 years old, she knew that she was transgender – a knowledge held since six years of age according to the mom. To date, she is the youngest transgender person I believe I have ever met.

While mom shared with me that her daughter was treated very poorly by her classmates and the school, the girl that stood before me was still a happy, well-adjusted kid. One who knew and was comfortable with whom she was, and (from my vantage point) well-loved by her family. Including her baby brother, whom she could not carry correctly, even had he come with instructions sewn in. Seeing them all (four kids and one mom with pretty sweet tats) woke me up out of my self-imposed pity-party over my current (and hopefully temporary) funk, to the idea that there are still a LOT of really good people out there. People who love without condition. People who would rather build each other up, then tear each other down. People who can, willingly I would assume, love something much bigger than only themselves.

I’m glad that that mom, her kids, and her sweet tats came in tonight. I’m glad to know that they exist out there. This world is five people better off as a result.

•••

Admittedly, the song chosen today has absolutely not one singular thing to do with the post, but honestly, how many challenges come along that provide you with the *perfect* cue to end with this gem?

Briefly… The My Three Adoration edition

Simon’s 16 years-old.

My first-born, when he was first born, lay there on the heating-table as the nurse looked to me, saying “He’s yours – you can touch him.” I recently introduced him to the (somewhat painful) world of job applications, though it feels as he was only born a few years ago.

Simon has the power.

Hannah’s 15, and Hell on Wheels. Hell. On. Wheels. A strong young woman who desires popularity, while understanding the power of true friendship. She’s gonna dazzle the world with her persona, a trait she gets – oddly enough – from me.

Hannah has the power.

Ian’s 13. “Last but not least” never had a truer ring, and to me, he’s a Heart Of Gold on two legs – two very short legs. He keeps us four in check, making damned sure that I’m always on top of my game.

Ian has the power.

I named them with the following criteria – each should have names rooted in biblical history (“Ian” being Gaelic for “John”), and none should have names that could be altered in common conversation.

GIKids

All three bless my Life.

All three lift me.

All three have the power.

And all three,

Will someday use it.

•••

robot-badge

Three (3) notes concerning this post:

1) This week’s 100 Word Song prompt was chosen by Linda Roy (who has the bestest business cards ever!) – “People Have Power” by Patti Smith.

2) Losing all punk rock cred, I never actually was that much of a Patti Smith fan. I mean, I caught “Because The Night,” and thought to m’self, “Well, that was rather nice,” before moving on. Hey, it happens. Truth be told, I wasn’t all that sold on Iggy Pop either.

3) There are three people in my life who continually inspire me, unconditionally love me, and make me a better man by their mere presence. They are currently walking with me through the hardest challenge of my adult life thus far, and I felt it was once again time to give them their due respect. Even IF I blew the 100 word limitation by a straight 100% in the process. Being their dad is never a pain, and always a pleasure.

3.5) Well. I suppose we can all safely assume that that last bit is a *touch* over-the-top, unadulterated and biased b.s., right…? 

Rest In Peace

My youngest son, the heel-hoofing beautiful boy I recently “spoke” to my dad about, has a particular way of kissing me good night.

First he kisses my lips. Then my right ear. Then my left. And then my lips once more – presumably for good measure.

He kisses me good night in this fashion precisely each and every day, and last night was no exception.

Last night, however, I became painfully aware that while my 12 year old boy was kissing me good night, another father could very well have been kissing his 12 year old boy goodbye for the last time.

ONeills

My heart goes out to the parents, family and friends of Bailey O’Neill. I can not fathom the pain they must be feeling at this time, and I pray for their shared peace.

People, this shit has simply got to stop already. We have got to come to grips with the fact that we are not a nation of gun-totin’ John Wayne macho men walking off into the sunset – we are a nation of people. Living, breathing, loving – and sometimes hurting – people. None of us is any better than the rest, by mere incidence of physical appearance, skin color, sexual orientation, religious practice or social position.  God damn us for thinking anything otherwise.

A 12 year old boy died yesterday because we as a people not only allow bullying to occur, but have almost put the practice onto a pedestal of sorts, praising the “tough guy” while belittling the peace maker.

My son, my children, are no strangers to bullying. They have each learned to cope in their own fashion, with a sin that is upon us all. They have each learned to deal with this barbaric rite – a rite that no one should ever have live with, let alone die from.

Bailey, I am sorry that we allowed this to happen to you. I am so sorry.

People, this shit has simply got to stop already. Let’s get to work.

Tomorrow

If I turned off my mental radio and stopped, just stopped… If I stopped and really thought about it all, I would most likely burst into tears.

crying-girl

I would burst into tears like some sort of overly pampered priss, while flailing about in an impotent rage. Rage in all that has passed, and in all that has not. All that has fallen apart, and all that has stubbornly stayed put. I would mourn the death of innocence in two young lives, and the two open doors that I could not walk through alone and, as such, could not walk through at all. I would weep over the pile of bodies that 2012 is leaving behind, and the swath of aborted dreams that were mowed down throughout its three hundred and sixty five days and nights.

So to avoid this, I will not turn my mental radio off. I will instead keep the cacophony at ear-deafening volumes, while I snuggle my mind deep within the distraction and cool warmth of its noise. I will keep my rage directed towards nonsensical things, things hardly deserving the sort of hate to be bestowed upon them. And I will do so in the hopes that in so doing I can slowly bleed it out, run it dry. Empty myself of the stuff in order to fill the newly open void with something better. Something positive.

Before I do so however, I would simply like to add:

2013, I am ready for a fresh start. Please Jesus, please – I am ready for Tomorrow.

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.

.

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!

.

    (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…)

.

“You are the salt of the earth.”

.

Did you notice that?

.

“You ARE the salt of the earth.”

“You ARE the Light of the world.”

.

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.”

.

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.

.

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?

.

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.

.

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.

.

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!

.

Will it be easy?

No!

.

Can you do it?

Yes!

.

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

.

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.