Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Biopsies, Roasts and Weddings

Sixty is how old your grandparents are when you are a child.

Sixty is how old your parents are when you are "finding yourself" and perhaps in the middle of your first permutation of real job/career/marriage/children and you don't have much time for them.

Sixty is when you start talking about colonoscopies, noticing spots on your skin you think look "iffy", and your doctor wants to do biopsies and take enough blood work to have an open bar at a vampire wedding.  My life insurance rate is more than my first house payments... all these are flashing warning lights that the road not too far ahead is indeed closed. 

At sixty I also know beyond a doubt I'm leaving a legacy, a lot of which is carved in stone by an amateur.  I see a bigger picture than I could at thirty or forty. I kind of knew a big picture existed when I was twenty, but when you've only lived less than 20% of your life conciously you don't really know what "big" even looks like.  So now I see the wrong colors chosen, the errant brush strokes, the unbalanced composition of everything I've done and everyone I've touched. So now, if nothing else, I will spend my days trying to re-shape and erase and incorporate all the indelible strokes of my past with the goal of leaving something somewhat beautiful in the end.

Sixty is how old you are when you bless your kids as they pursue their own lives, even if it means getting less of them than you'd like.  That is not a bad thing.... Sixty year old doting, guilting, controlling parents is an ugly thing.  The helicopter has to run out of gas at some point, and looking back on six kids, the sooner the better.

The Wifey had a "Roast" of me for my 60th birthday.  I wish I could post the speeches, but I guess I'll just say that if I died today, I would die a happy man that everyone knew me so well that they could point up my faults and goofiness so clearly, and yet in spite of knowing me so well, still showed up and brought me gifts and honored me by being there to mark the event with me.  I am a blessed man, even if the Synod of Orthodox Bishops decreed that my birthday never be commemorated in any Orthodox Church henceforth and forevermore.   (It was a joke... kinda.)

And now I am in Montana for a week.  I can "telecommute" in my job. So I came up for my sister's wedding.  She asked if I would say some things at the wedding. Considering a "prophet is without honor in his own country" I considered that one of the biggest blessings of my life.

I gave the "wedding sermon" and basically talked about why be "married" after being "engaged" for eight years. I talked about being created in the image of the Trinity, "being as communion", and what it means to live eucharistically "in love" rather than just "sharing stuff legally because the State gives you a piece of paper".  I talked about wheat and wine and how they are transformed sacramentally by grinding, crushing and work... much like human beings in marriage. The highlight of the evening for me was when, after 80 people consumed over fifty pounds of bratwursts and burgers, 60 bottles of wine, two kegs of beer and sundry other adult beverages, my sister and brother in law's HARDCORE atheist friend who had downed more than a few and had been in a heated discussion with a couple of evangelical wedding guests earlier in the afternoon, sat down at the table next to me. He kind of tipped/leaned toward me, opened his mouth and pointed before he made any words (like drunk people do) and said, "I gotta say... I don't believe ANY of that Christian shit you were talking about,... but you sure made sense, that was really beautiful what you said. I'm gonna have to think about all that s'more. Thank you."

It was a perfect day in their back yard.


May God grant Todd and Lani many more years.




15 comments:

elizabeth said...

Many years! wonderful post!

Sasha said...

Well, "the road not too far ahead" may be "indeed closed, but looks like you are on the right road - that's what counts. ;)

James the Thickheaded said...

Great piece. Ponder much the same. The road ahead... well, I like to think it simply takes a turn beyond view. And yet I pray our sense of wonder may grow... and even remain in view while we're still here.

Congrats on the party and blessings to your sister.

Drewster2000 said...

SP,

You made a quick but mysterious comment about your relationship with the Orthodox Church. I haven't heard you say much about that lately. Are you attending a church now? Are you still a sub-deacon? What's going on there?

If it's nobody's business or too sensitive a subject right now, then feel free to ignore me or even delete this comment, but you're important to a lot of us; I had to at least ask the question.

Ricky said...

I'd like to hear more about the Synodal decree against your birthday, please.

s-p said...

Drewster and Ricky, It is kind of an inside joke. I've managed to offend just about every priest and bishop I know over the years somehow (not always purposely). I make it a point to not air my misadventures and issues with people at work, church or family publicly no matter how good a story it would make. :)

I'm still here and not going anywhere. s-p

Anonymous said...

Thanks for writing Steve, I look forward to each update. These mean a lot to me. I hope the podcast comes back soon.

Fr. Nicholas (Hughes) said...

I'm another "August Baby" but 4 years younger. "56" just seems to feel a quantum level different that "55 and under". Like a good monk I try to keep death before my eyes..but I have to admit it takes on a much clearer focus when you past a certain age. You are always in my prayers. On more than one occasion your blog has heaven sent. Many many years!

Ricky said...

That's probably the best way.

Drewster2000 said...

SP,

As juicy as it would be, I understand you don't want to air dirty laundry.

But how about basic information: where do you attend now and are you serving at the altar in any capacity?

Please forgive and instruct me if I'm out of bounds on this one.

Margaret said...

Thank you for sharing this -- it is a blessing! And the brief reference to what you said at the wedding, I'm sharing with a dear cousin who just celebrated an anniversary. They are words to take to heart! God grant you many years!!!

s-p said...

Drewster, still at our Mission. Still working 7 days a week doing construction after my "real job" most weeks trying to dig out of the 3 year hole. Nothing remarkable going on otherwise, actually.

lani said...

Both Todd and I have talked about the wedding sermon and want to listen to it again, Todd said "Steve is so smart that when he said I've been thinking about this for a year I knew it was going to be good!" We feel very blessed that you and Peggy were here, and that you could stay. Love you, and thanks for the many blessings!

s-p said...

It was really good to be there and share your "honeymoon week". :)
A beautiful time, for sure.

Drewster2000 said...

"Nothing remarkable going on otherwise, actually."

NOW I caught you in a fib dead to rights! Your life is what you share with all of us and if it weren't remarkable in many ways, we wouldn't be here. (grin)

So thanks for sharing it, sir.