My word, it has been a full two weeks since I posted anything on this blog. My apologies, but it has been a full two weeks in many respects. Shortly after Fr. Simeon's funeral, I headed to Ohio for nearly a week to give oblate conferences in Columbus, Dayton, and Cincinnati (the topic was "Listening Willingly to Holy Reading: How We Evangelize Ourselves through Lectio Divina"). In between conferences and traveling from city to city, I had a chance to catch the new movie Lincoln--highly recommended--and also visit with my brother Kevin in Cincinnati, as well as his girlfriend Wendy, her daughter McKinsey, and their pack of hounds--Ebony and Cobe.
During that period, I learned that the father of my best friend back in Findlay, Ohio, passed away at the age of 84 after several years of battling cancer. May he rest in peace (and please pray for his family).
So, I asked for a couple additional days away from the monastery, and made the trip up to my hometown, where I stayed with my mother and--as so often happens--had the opportunity to see many friends and acquaintances at the funeral home in addition to offering encouragement and support to my best friend and his family.
Last Wednesday, a day after returning to Saint Meinrad, and as had been planned for weeks, my mother, Uncle Kenny and Aunt Norma, my cousin Patty and her boyfriend Mike, my sister Shannon and her husband Ty, his 10-year-old son Ian, and my brand new nephew Evan (now 5 months) came to visit me here over the Thanksgiving weekend--Wednesday evening through Saturday morning. It was great to have them all here, and of course, I especially enjoyed finally meeting Evan in person. What a little grace-filled bundle of joy he is--or, as Fr. Harry called him, "the picture of possibility." Evan is a very observant little fellow, and his big blue eyes took in everything and everyone around here. He smiled and cooed a lot, fussed and cried some, and spit up quite a bit -- sometimes all at once!
I could have spent hours just watching Evan discover his new world. He was also quite the trooper, as he accompanied us on various tours of the campus here, to liturgies in the Archabbey Church (he seemed very interested in the chanting at Compline), to a couple dining excursions, and to the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial located only a few miles from Saint Meinrad (Young Lincoln lived in this area from the age of 7 to 21). He--as well as Ian, who was also visiting Saint Meinrad for the first time--also got to meet and speak (so to speak) with many of the monks here. Ian even interviewed a few for a school social studies project.
In the midst of all this, I also came down with a bad cold. So, I am looking forward to some serious "recovery time" before re-entering the daily rhythm of ora et labora. In the coming weeks, I have many projects to attend to. Hopefully, I will blog some as well. Amid the many challenges, many things to be thankful for, and to smile about.
|Sunset on the Ohio River as seen from the Overlook Restaurant|
near Leavenworth, Indiana, where we ate Friday evening.