Life unfolds at whirlwind pace sometimes. I am always amazed when people ask what I have been up to, and I cannot quite recall though I know that I have been on the go. It has been that way for several weeks. Oddly, it is most when I am trying to make life stand still for a moment, to savor something good for just a little longer, that the pace really seems to accelerate.
The seniors have all graduated from high school. They were the first group of kids with whom I worked when I started at the Cathedral. I made appearances at several receptions, and was able to attend the St. Thomas More commencement ceremony. Andy Hanson and Johnny Hofer addressed their classmates at that ceremony, and both spoke well. Johnny was exceptional in his witness to the faith as he spoke. That day left me feeling great pride in their success and a little sad at their impending departures to universities and institutions all over the nation.
I find that I am out of the loop here in the parish. Because of my new assignment, I am largely excluded from the decision making process here at the Cathedral these days. As a result, I notice a lot going on around here, but I seldom know exactly what is happening. Other than my usual schedule of Masses and confessions, I don't officially have a lot to do. Nevertheless, various surprise appointments and the like seem to pop up every day.
I find that I am spending a great deal of time with "my kids." The more time I spend with them before leaving only reminds me, though, that no amount of time will be quite enough. Happily, in an attempt to squeeze out every moment I can, I have caught vast numbers of trout already this summer. Most are only mediocre in size, but a few have been over the seventeen inch mark. I intend to go again this evening.
I spent last week on retreat, which should have been a great experience, but was not. I had a hard time focusing. I didn't want to be away; I wanted to be at home absorbing a few more moments with the people here. There were graces for sure, and the fraternity with the brother priests was good for my soul. To return home, however, was the greatest consolation of the week for me.
I have begun meeting with various staff members at my new parish working on plans for next year. I will be leading the confirmation class, and will continue to play a part in the Life Teen Program. Likewise, I will be responsible for the Wednesday evening Youth Masses. It looks like I will be doing some teaching among the home school crowd, and otherwise, I will do the things that a priest does. Masses, Confessions, Weddings and Funerals - the bread and butter of a parish priest. In some ways, I look forward getting over there just so that my schedule can adopt a certain structure.
In the meanwhile I continue to lose weight, and I can't seem to find enough to do to keep me outside. The days have been so lovely that I was even conned into playing Ultimate Frisbee a week ago. I finally managed to get a garden in, so that provides me a little recourse to the outdoors. Presuming, of course, that something will grow. The cantaloupe are already dying.
I have been beset with odd dreams which dissolve into only faint recollections as I awake. I remember only enough to know that they are odd.
All over town, people congratulate me on my move, and most seem sincere when they tell me that they are excited to have me come to their parish. I am starting to get excited too. As miserable as it is to say goodbye, I am reminded that we are a people born of the resurrection, and that these goodbyes at the Cathedral give rise to new life at Blessed Sacrament. Christ surely did not enjoy the cross, but he was glorious on the third day.
I was recently thinking about my graduation from eighth grade. I was allowed to address my classmates for that event, and as I spoke, I reminded them that change was inevitable. It remains one of the few constants in life; all things change. The ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus concluded that all things, like a river, are in flux. Along with Heraclitus, I was only half right. Almost all things change. What does not change, however, is God himself. From eternity until eternity, he remains the same, perpetually existing as a communion of persons and yet one. The love of our God, three and one is also unchanging. So, try as I may to cling to these fleeting moments, they manage to slip away as sand falls through ones fingers. But, to my wonderment, as my fist closes around them and they vanish, I find that I am left holding a little piece of our unchanging God who was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever, whether here, at Blessed Sacrament, in the Boundary Waters, on retreat in North Dakota, or anywhere else.