Twilight Twitches

fetscherDear Family,
First, my thanks to Msgr. Michael Hippee, Fathers Pedro Lleo, Dennis Rausch, and of course Father Gary Wiesmann for pinch-hitting for me during my recent medical inconvenience. Thanks also to Annie for being the gracious guider who reached out to find and schedule the celebrants.

There is nothing worse than getting caught in a lengthy discussion of someone else’s medical adventures, so I’m not going to sweep you up into mine... (unless, of course, you really want to hear about it...) Suffice it to say, thanks to Dr. M. Angela Madden and the folks into whose orbits she pushed me, especially Dr. Alan Niederman and Dr. Ahmed Osman.

In two short paragraphs I already named eight people who touched my life and for whom I am grateful. As you well know, there are many more people backing them up. For a moment, I am at the center of this whirling care-community, all collaborating to keep me working.

The Holy Cross Hospital community was a friendly place for the medical folk to ply their talents. (By the way, if you get cursed with a salt-free or low sodium diet in Holy Cross, I can vouch for their chicken noodle soup and their stir-fry chicken. Avoid the grits.)

Another sentiment of gratitude came over the Veteran’s Day weekend as I watched many stories about veterans.

As I thought back over my years, I realized how many different events shaped our country’s thinking about wars and military service. I was ordained in 1968 when everything was getting ready to explode in Vietnam. I have a brother who was a career Navy man, master sergeant. (They run the navy.) He flew in PBY’S searching for submarines. He was the tech guy. I think he did two tours, but he always played down danger.

I had a great uncle who was at Pearl Harbor, another Navy officer. As I see the occasional Naval vessel navigating its way through our parking lot (on the way to Port Everglades), I think of them.

We remember veterans coming back from various wars and the receptions they received, or didn’t... another gratitude issue.

If you have visited Washington, D.C. or ever have the chance, the war memorials are worth taking the time to see. There is even a chaplains’ memorial. All of those places of remembrance are worthy of our respect and gratitude, but in the last analysis, is there any really good way of putting a good face on war?

I also find myself very disturbed way down deep inside when I see the divisions we experience today. It hardly seems to be the environment for honoring sacrifice. Fortunately, when we stop to prayerfully remember, we discover we can find honor in our hearts if not in our hearing. With some prayerful expectations, I find comfort in those age-old wise words, “This too, shall pass.”
I did a little search on those words, “This too shall pass,” thinking I’d find the exact place in scripture where it comes from. Guess what? I learned something. It doesn’t. The closest you come, apparently, is a quote from Isaiah, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord.” At that time, all of men’s “idols shall utterly pass away.” (Isaiah 2:18)

Now that I think about it, we probably do make idols out of controversies and arguments. We “adore” winning, being right, and the devil take the hindmost. Well, perhaps that’s the point, the devil does take the hindmost, i.e. win, if we let him.

So, back to my kneeler in gratitude for our country and our parish. OK, not kneeler, but chair in the chapel.

In Jesus,
sign frjim

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