The first Father’s Day in our new home started with the family going to Mass together, breakfast at a local diner, and then for a short drive up the road – but it was Spirit led all the way.
The new issue of Time magazine arrived on Saturday and when child number three saw the list of names of those killed in Orlando, the questions started. “Why did they die?” (The same question is posed by the magazine itself.) “Who killed them?” “Why would he do that?” “Why do people shoot people?” “What’s a nightclub?”
All good questions, but I have to be honest that the last one made me laugh. These children have boring parents.
Sunday morning at Mass, Fr. John gave a stirring homily about the patience of God as we mere mortals take our time learning to love, honor, and respect each others. After all, it took centuries to unchain slavery from the modern world and longer still for women to even have the right to vote. His words reminded me that there are places in the world still learning such things and while we shake our heads in disgust at their inability to see things clearly, we continue to allow very bad people to do very bad things while we hide behind a document meant to protect freedoms, not facilitate murder.
But it was the homily and the reaction from the assembly (thunderous applause, a rarity for any Catholic church) that got the children talking again. The line was short at Chip’s Diner so we celebrated Father’s Day and continued the conversation over pancakes. Then, as we drove up highway 25, we told the children another story that they were bound to hear sooner or later.
We told them about Sandy Hook. We told them about Newtown. We told them about the wonderful woman I met who lost her daughter that morning. And we told them about the brave priest and parish staff and firefighters and police officers that took such great care of the families. Fifteen minutes later we were in front of the firehouse that appeared in the papers and on television for weeks after that fateful day in December 2012. The 26 stars that decorate the firehouse roof serve as a subtle reminder to the community.
Since any story of tragedy is made better with ice cream, we stopped at Holy Cow, a local ice cream walk up shop that sells a dish called Bishop Frank, our local ordinary (and my boss) and Father Bob, the local pastor whose actions at Sandy Hook and advocacy for gun safety are well noted.
On the way home, we sang. The children, as children do, absorbed what they could, asked what they needed to, and then recaptured the day with silliness, laughter, and song. It turns out when you substitute certain words about flatulence in songs about love, the songs get a lot funnier. I have never met Adele or Pharrell Williams, but my guess is they would have laughed too.
At home, we napped (okay, I napped), Mom and the girls swung in the hammock reading the Little House on the Prairie series, and, when I woke up, child number three and I demolished some ugly shelving in the basement that we have wanted to remove since moving in.
I don’t remember a day as packed with emotions as yesterday. I don’t remember a weekend where we got as much accomplished around the house. I don’t remember a conversation filled with so many questions. I don’t remember a car ride filled with so much laughter.
It was a good weekend. It was a good day.
It is good to be home.