This week has been a kick in the face a little bit. I found out that a friend, the kind of friend you hang out with every few years and it feels like no time at all has passed, died in July 2020. The revelation brings on all kinds of emotions.
I am pissed at myself that I hadn’t checked in since last February. I am sad that I didn’t know how close the end was. Mostly I am just sorrowful for his wife and kids.
I can clearly remember the day he told me he had leukemia. I met him at Peet’s coffee after not talking to him for a bit. He responded to a text message I had sent two months prior with “Hey, have time for a coffee?”
It wasn’t odd for one of us to send a text message and then the other dude to respond a month later. We were busy suburban fathers with demanding jobs in Silicon Valley. But we would always end up hooking up with a couple of guitars and making music together. Or going for a hike and talking about family and faith, or any number of topics.
It was odd for us to meet up for coffee but I was just happy to see him. He had lost a lot of weight and I complimented him and he smirked and said “I have been on a special diet.” When he told me we both cried right there in public. So manly. We gave each other a ration of crap for it.
He beat leukemia for a while, I had no idea he was sick again. He hadn’t responded to my text messages for a while. I just randomly searched his name last night after someone else responded to my last text message with a “You have a wrong number.” I found an obituary and I didn’t believe it. My wife found a go fund me for his family when she searched his name last night. It was real, my stomach sank.
I spent the morning walking and listening to songs he and I had worked on together.
I was thinking and walking and here is what I came to:
I will always miss you Jon. Thanks for being my friend.
I started writing this as I was watching a new President attend Mass at a church where I once attended Mass. In what seems an odd twist, the new President was attending Mass with members of the two big political parties in our country. This just after watching the outgoing President give a speech that was divorced from reality and knowing that the one leaving more of my fellow Catholics voted for. I have tried to understand why.
I like to write about spiritual topics on Saturdays. Therefore, sticking with this theme… I am today writing about one of my spiritual heroes: Batman.
With Halloween just around the corner, there is no shortage of costumes languishing on shelves. I walk through the costume section of Target any time we go there, masked and sanitized. I think back to the Halloween when my brother and I were Batman and Robin and I prefer the home made costumes our mother made. Not because the muscles were ripplier, or that they were tremendously accurate. But, because of the Batman and Robin that we wanted to be.
It seems odd to look back and think that the first inkling of a need to find something greater than myself, which led to me returning to church, started with a book on Eastern Philosophy. Some believe Eastern Philosophy and Christian thought are at odds, but like the Doctor of the Church I seek to apply the lessons of tools from outside the Bible to my own Christianity. As such, prayer and meditation go hand in hand.
As a Christian who spent many years being an agnostic sometimes friends of mine who are not so enamored with the idea of religion in general ask me what I find appealing about Catholicism. The answer is a little more complex than a simple blog post can address but one of the things I routinely find myself referencing is St. Thomas Aquinas and his concept of four substitutes for God. St. Thomas Aquinas image courtesy The National Library of Wales
Last week I wrote a piece about a Living Wage and my religious perspective on that topic. My intention is to talk about Public Policy and scripture in a logical way. I believe my right to religious freedom ends where your right to religious freedom begins. So, while I am coming from a religious perspective, it should be understood that I am not now, and never will, advocate for scripture and law to be the same. I am merely letting religion guide my individual spirit and help to form my opinion, in conjunction with information from outside the Bible.
The next topic I want to discuss is pretty near and dear to my heart: Public Health Insurance should be available to every citizen of this country from both a moral and economic perspective.
There is a pandemic raging, my home state of California is on fire (as I type this there are massive fires burning to the East, South, North and West of me making the sky feel like Mordor with an AQI as high as 357 in the last 48 hours), there are protests against police brutality all over the place and there is an election coming up so I am already hearing how stupid I am from some folks.
Everybody is already justifiably grumpy, I guess there is no better time to write about God and politics!