Wednesday, November 28, 2018

My Father's House

When I woke this morning, the house was warm. I thought of my father who would rise early, often as early as 4:30 a.m. The coffee maker was always set on a timer, so the coffee would have been made by 4:15 a.m. On his way to get his first cup ("Always the best one," he would say), he would stop and turn on the heat if the house was cold. I can never remember waking up to a cold house when I was growing up.  A few days after he died, I went into his apartment at the assisted living community where he lived for only a few months. The timer was still set. It was a strange feeling to turn that timer off. I was amazed that the glass decanter had not broken during those days when no coffee was being made. Dad loved coffee, and I think of him this morning as I sip my own cup.  I suddenly remember that the anniversary of his birthday was November 26. This year, he would have been 101.  Dad, I am sorry to have forgotten, but it seems I have inherited your arthritic knee, and as you all too well know, I can get rather self-absorbed. I am reminded of Jacob wrestling with the angel, and walking away, limping, but blessed.  You and I did struggle to understand one another, but I am grateful that we did find reconciliation, thanks to the common ground of love and humor.  I drink my coffee in your memory today.  Yes, the house is warm and the coffee is fine - just the way you would have liked it.        
We are created, we emerge. And as we emerge, as we grow, as we develop, we become more conscious of ourselves – as where we have come from, or what we are emerging from and what we are returning to, or what we are feeling ourselves linked to. It’s not just a mathematical problem or philosophical question. It’s an existential journey that takes time and in which we change. Even our mistakes are incorporated into the journey. Nothing is wasted. We are who we are. Can’t say I should have been somebody else. I am who I am. And this existence, life, is full of contradictions and paradoxes, ups and downs, life and death, sorrow and joy, fear and celebration, fear of incompetence. It’s very variable and of course unpredictable. It is uncertain, radically uncertain. But in this process of existence, of life, of growth, of growing consciousness, we realise, we become aware, self-aware that we are emerging, we are appearing. We’re coming to know ourselves...

Father Laurence Freeman, OSB 
World Community of Christian Meditation, November 27, 2018  

photograph:  Pismo Beach, September 2018

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