The Why of It

Why do I love you?

Simple question, no?

We all ask it, don’t we?

Or more, we ask, in our hearts and heads, “Why do you love me?…Really?”

Though, I daresay, that last word might just be a whisper under our breath or in our heart.

I think, however, that it’s a question we need to ask our children.

Sound odd? For US to ask THEM? For US to ask THEM just why we love them?

Maybe it does…but here in our house, we do ask our children this.  Coffeedoc is the best at it, the smoothest. Maybe it’s his quiet voice or his comforting dad self to lean on, I don’t know.  It’s just him.  But we have so many kids from different places, with different issues, needs, concerns….that this question is one we must intentionally address from time to time.  It sounds silly, it almost feels silly…until you step through it and watch their faces as they listen closely.  Sometimes they start by just kind of enduring us beginning this.  But then, holding their hands and looking into their face, often clouded with sullen temper, or angry at an imagined injustice of sorts, or shaded with naive misunderstanding…you see them turn their listening up and they get very still.  Shadows slowly flee, muscles relax.  Because this matters, and especially at certain times it matters oh so very much. They need to hear it.  We all need to hear it.  Those stupid ignorant ideas that float about in our world, for instance: ideas like “color complex” that I want to smash to pieces but come already imprinted in teens from different cultures, (a whole ‘nother post or two, that)…those kinds of ideas make this conversation utterly necessary.  Over and over, spanning years.

The process of stepping our kids through this question is important; for all of them, each of them, individually. No matter if they were born to us biologically, or if they came to us through the process of adoption, if they are “easy” kids or “hard” ones….they all need to step through this question.  They might need to step through this question at different ages and stages, again and again; but I think, we think, that each kid needs to step through this question – explicitly, deliberately.

Heck, I need to step through this question with myself, about each one of my kids, deliberately.  And often.

But, back to the question, how we walk our kids through this:

Why do I love you?”

Is it because you are cute?

Is it because you are smart?

Is it because you have beautiful brown skin, peach skin, olive skin?

Is it because you are good, nice, sweet, funny, obedient?

Is it because you are tall, short, skinny, plump, stylish, artsy, musical?

Is it because you are faithful, diligent, determined, athletic, creative, a dreamer?

Yes…but, more: no.

Yes, I love those things about  you, maybe more maybe less….but let’s face it, there are other things, often many other things, that are really NOT so lovable. Right? Um, yup.

So, can it be I love you on these good things only? Uh-oh…those things might change! You might get cranky or fat or lazy or hurt or frumpy or grow ugly even.  It could happen.  You could lose your hair or a leg or have a brain injury or get really sick…that all kinda changes you, right? Oh no….!

No.  All those things are things I might like or not like about you.

But they do NOT define why I love you.

This and only this does:

I love you because you are Chris.

I love you because you are Jon.

I love you because you are Hannah.

I love you because you are Marta.

I love you because you are Sarah.

I love you because  you are Emmy.

I love you because you are Anthony.

I love you because you are Gabey.

I love you because you are Tom.

You are, you, are intrinsically worth loving.  Just because you exist, because you ARE.

Every one is.  I don’t have to love, personally, every single person ever.

But I have been given YOU.

And you are worth it all.

There is no measure to a life, no qualifying for value.

I love you, because God made you and placed you with me.

Because you are Chris or Jon or Hannah or Marti or Sarah or Emmy or Anthony or Gabe.

Because you are you.

That’s it.

Why do I love you?

Because you are mine.

Don’t forget.

Me either.

Across the Pond

My girl is flying away today….for three weeks.

She is heading across the pond on a student exchange program.  Officially, she is a Loughlin Scholar.   She goes to Britain for three weeks, paired with a girl student buddy from the partner school, living with the family of the student buddy.

St Edwards School. Whoa.

Later, the same buddy comes here to stay with us for three weeks, same deal but reversed.  This is a great program, her brother Jon did it before her and it was a great experience all around. But even so, it’s her first time away from the family for more than one night.  Which means of course that she is chomping at the bit to go and we are excited for her but dreading having her gone.  And while she has spent time with celebrities and such…

….this living with a completely different family, strangers, is a whole new gig.  Can she do it? Sure, she’s got the social skills when she feels like it – typically much more in evidence when she’s not skulking around our own house on her regular loop: bedroom, kitchen, piano room, sunroom.

I fear she will be homesick, but know it’s good for her in it’s own way.  We will be daughter-sick, missing her terribly.

Anyhow, today she flies with her school group.  I would appreciate any prayers you might throw her way.  I pray for her to be happy, healthy, safe and sound – to have fun and be comfortable with her own self in this new group of Brits.  Because, she’s my girl, I think I miss her already.

Feast of Corpus Christi!

This is a very important feast in Christendom and our Catholic church.  It’s a beautiful feast and last year we had the privilege of being in Orvietto for the famous Eucharistic Procession there at the Cathedral.  Truly a once in a lifetime experience!  This video is the classic chant for this feast, written by St. Thomas Aquinas, himself and simply uplifting and beautiful.

Enjoy while you scan the pics from Orvietto below…it’s almost like being there!

Orvietto Cathedral

And, just because this is another one of those “mysteries” that is all but impossible to wrap  your mind around; it’s to be accepted and embraced by faith with heart and soul.  You kind of open up the heart and eyes of your soul and then this song and this feast floods in.

I totally believe it, even as I will never intellectually understand it fully.  But that doesn’t matter……It’s all grace.  And so very very good.

What’s a Novitiate, anyhow?

Novitiate, it’s all the news here at the Coffeehouse….. But, it’s not exactly the local college now, something everyone is familiar with, been to, done that.

I mean….just what exactly is the Novitiate, anyhow?

I know, right?

Well, as you know by now, maybe, my son is going to the Novitiate for the Eastern Province of the Dominicans of St. Joseph.  A mouthful, to say the least. We typically shorten it to say, “He’s entering the Novitiate.”

But what does that mean?

Well, (and this is mom-speak; not officialese) the Novitiate is a little like the freshman class at a graduate program, and a little bit like boot camp, and a little bit like a year long spiritual retreat. What it means is that he has discerned that God might be calling him to religious life, specifically to the priesthood, and with the Dominican Order (as opposed to the more familiar neighborhood parish priest).

It is only open to college graduates, it is not for boys, or the elderly – strength is needed to answer this call. Thus, Chris has applied and been accepted into the Novitiate class for this summer. Meaning, my son and 14 other guys will live and work and pray together as they live as Dominican brothers (little brothers, in a  way) at a parish about five hours away.

This is the year for them to live as Dominican’s and see if the call they are discerning is real. It is a “final answer” kind of year.  Sort of.  Really, they have until final vows, years from now, to really change their mind if the need to.  But this year, in particular, is the one that they usually find out for sure, if their call is real.  This year is the year that they go through some of the spiritual rigor, the loneliness, the changes, the giving up most things, the stepping out of the world, and by living it learn if it is for them, or not.

Most often, this year leads to a confirmation of their vocation and great joy.  And, with that, first profession of vows (“First Vows”, “First Profession” – same thing) next August.  {The second and “final vows” come about 4.5 years from now, usually…and the Ordination to Priesthood happens around seven years in}.  But this is about THIS big year.  And sometimes, this year of discernment leads to the realization that this is just one step on a different journey and they leave the Novitiate house and step into a new direction, maybe back to grad school, a different job…That’s not a fail, that’s a listening, discerning thing.  It is part of the work of this year ahead.

But this is the year that these young men attempt to answer the call to leave the world behind and live for God, any way and any where he calls them. It takes great courage I think, especially in our modern age and culture.

My son will be allowed to bring only a few things with him: a few books, his guitar and mandolin (Dominican’s love music and the Novitiate has a piano, yay), some work clothes, some exercise clothes, a 15 decade rosary, breviary.  That’s it.  Nope, no cell, no computer, no email.

Yeah, this is where I kinda have to remind myself to keep breathing….

We can all use snail mail, and he will call now and then.  But we won’t see him for a year; except for one short parent only weekend.

He will live in community with the other novices.

He will be given a habit, white robes, belt, rosary.  He might well be given a new name.  (Ok, that’s a whole ‘nother post, isn’t it?)  They mostly have their own rooms, I think.  Simple rooms, bed, desk, basic.

What do they DO?? They get up to pray together, they have classes, they work, they eat together, they have time to play basketball or read, they help out in the parish, they sing, they pray alone too, they study. They learn to give up their comforts and their crutches, they learn to lean on God and prayer and to find the joy in that and in service.  They detach from the world, even from their families and old friends….

That sounds so hard, especially for me as mom, but I have been assured that they then become closer than ever to their family, after the novice year…..perhaps because some of their youthful selfishness has been burned away. Perhaps because we will all have learned how to love better, with less leaning on our own desires for physical proximity, instead, leaning on the sturdy bridges of deep love and faith…the stanchions that are firm, strong, made to last through all.

I don’t know.  We wait to see that, with hope and continued reminders to each other to breath….deep breaths as we miss our Chris.  But the key for him, this year, will be our continued prayers for him and his continued prayers for discernment.  I believe he is called to this, so does he or he wouldn’t go.  But the prayers are key, for him, for us…for two reasons.  One – because great things and changes are best done prayerfully, every step of the way.  Two – because prayer unites us, it is the best kind of connection because it beyond time and place.  And if that’s how I can be close to my son this year, that’s where you will find me.

The Novitiate, not for sissies.  For men.  And now, well, in one more month – for my son.

Claiming my boy

This came up on my facebook feed this morning…..

Announcing the 2011 Novitiate Class for the Dominican Province of St. Joseph

Christopher –  Tennessee, 21 years old, studied at Notre Dame
Though born in southern California, I was raised in a small Tennessee town, not far from Nashville. I am the oldest of eight children, the youngest five of whom are adopted (two of them from Ethiopia).
I was raised Catholic, but it wasn’t until I was in middle school that fully practicing our Faith started to become important to my family and me. I became an altar server, and in eighth grade I had my first religion classes and went on my first retreat. It was around that time that I began to have sincere thoughts about becoming a priest, but in high school those thoughts were pushed to the back of my mind, later to be more or less dismissed. My faith remained important to me though, as I involved myself heavily in diocese-wide retreats and youth programs. After high school, I went to the University of Notre Dame, and in May 2011 I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theology and Piano Performance.
I spent the spring semester of my junior year of college studying in Rome at the Dominican-run Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (“the Angelicum”). Priesthood and religious life were still only at the back of my mind when I was in Rome, but as the semester progressed, the idea that God might be calling me to the priesthood slowly began to fight back to the forefront …

Now, that’ll wake up a mom; to see her son’s face and bio popping up on a social network feed.  And as I’m working through this process – in my head and heart and blog – toward the Novitiate, this is the formal announcement of their new Novice Class for this coming year.

In a public way, this is the Dominican Order, claiming my son.  Or, precisely, stating their intent to claim.  This coming year will be a year of final discernment on both sides of the equation.  My son will “live the life” and decide if God is truly calling him to a life of prayer and study and service; while the Order will decide, prayerfully, if they think he’s got the chops for it.  Maybe his toe tapping and drumming will become annoying, I don’t know.  Kidding…. But it’s a big year all around, for all of them.

Go see, it also shows a few of his new brothers to be: the whole Novitiate Class that will enter with him in July.  These men, younger and older, will help each other in prayer and company and studying, through the joyous, profound moments, the goofy, and through the tougher times of uncertainty, and homesick for the life left behind.  Big stuff indeed.  I pray daily for all of these  young men and their families.  We welcome your prayers too if you think of it.

For the Dads

Since we are talking about Fatherly love, {see post just below, there, on the Holy Trinity}…..let’s talk about the Dads.

There are two Dad-people in my life: my own Dad and the Dad to my kids, my Tom.

They are both remarkable men.  And today, is their day.  Sure it might be an artificially contrived holiday, but what’s not to love about a day to stop and say, “Hey, we so appreciate you!” And, because neither of them are stupid; I suspect they both know how to sit back and enjoy the attention.  And well they should.

My dad is that dad, the one that little girls use to measure others.  Fair or not, it’s how it plays.

As dad’s are supposed to be, he was larger than life to me as a little girl.
And I suppose in many ways, he still is, because he’s still the dad…it’s a lifetime, ya know?
He’s part of many of my favorite things:
Riding horses, yakking about everything and nothing.
Sipping hot strong coffee, yakking about everything and nothing.
Reading the paper in the morning, commenting on the news and everything and nothing.
Comparing wines, and yakking about everything and nothing….
You get the idea….
I love him for his loyalty and his steadfast grit, no matter the tide,or his opinion on my choices and my opinions.

He’s my dad, forever and always and I love him.

And then, there is my  Tom.  The father of my kids, and my partner in raising them.  Oh, I don’t know how I’d do it without him.  I’m not sure I could, as he makes up for what I’m missing.  He is the yin to my yang, he is steady rock solid where I am an emotional rollercoaster.

He’s such a great dad; such a great partner in raising this tribe.
He pulls up the slack when I am a slacker.
He pulls me up out of the indigo when I fall into the blues.
He can make me and/or the kids pound the table in laughter, so funny.

He loves his kids to distraction.
He is easily distracted by fun new adventures and toys, to their delight and my sometime consternation.
He is a born teacher, to my delight and to their sometime consternation.
His love and gift for music has carried into his children, all of them, in one way or another…enriching all of our lives.
He works far too hard and carries too many burdens; and without complaint, though he sometimes does daydream about moving to islands….
He is an adventurer, but stays close to home and it’s needs regardless, tamping down that wanderlust and craving for new thrills.

He is strong inside and out, steady and sure, kinder than me and a softie on the inside.His girls totally pegged that, right away.
His boys don’t always believe it.
But he is.
He’s the dad.
He will go to the ends of the earth for his children, and has.
He’s the dad, and we all love him so, and are so grateful for him.
I love this man, the dad of this clan.


Triple Love


Detail of "Holy Trinity" by El Greco, of course

It’s the Feast of the Holy Trinity!

Which means it’s another day of mystery, with a capital M.  This mystery is one of the biggies, of course.  Uber Catholic to boot {we Catholics love a good mystery!}.  One that really, we are not truly meant to fully figure out – because as soon as you think you have; you’ve probably fallen into presumption (with a capital P) and are not on target to boot.

So, here’s what we do know, ok, let’s be more precise, what I think about this day: it’s a feast of love, really.  How’s that? Well, God the Father so loved everything, but even more so,us, that he gave us his Son, and the love between those two was so immeasurably great that it begat it’s own third “person”: the Holy Spirit.  Thus those three began the “begatting” that we read in the Old Testament (pages and pages of it, right?) and that, when we are doing it right, here on earth, begets us each other.

The Trinity was and is (and ever will be) the prime, premier, example of how to love – well and truly.  And that right there, is enough mystery for my little brain for, um, the rest of  my life.  Which is really, of course, part of it’s charm.  Mind blowing charm and goodness.  Something to celebrate. And that’s why it’s a feast day: was then, is now, and will be forever.  Amen.

Happy Feast of the Holy Trinity!







He’s In.

The word is out, it’s not so much a surprise, but he’s in.

My son has been accepted to the Eastern Province of the Dominican Order of St. Joseph as a novice for this summer.

My son is entering the Dominican Seminary.
We will take him up to the Novitiate on July 25.
It is rushing at us, at warp speed.
So many changes, for him, for us.
So  much to say and process, but for now, we will rejoice for him.
He is so happy, when he called to tell me the news, his voice was full and just happy.
He is relieved a bit too, he wasn’t worried but it’s always nice to have it settled as well.

Now we plan, and he works to prepare himself.
There are many parts to that, but for now, we all just want to announce the acceptance and say “Deo Gratias.”
My Chris is a Dominican to be.
Officially, beginning in July, a “Novice.”
A new friend told me I’m now a “Dominican Mama” and have just inherited many more sons.
I”m good with that.
And I love thinking about it like that too….I’m not losing my son, I’m gaining so many more.

Obviously, this post was written a bit ago.  His progress through this Aspiring and Application process was months long.  But to progress through it on my blog I chose weeks…because I’ve gotta get to MY processing of it all.  Because,  you know, it’s always all about me me me.  Ahem….. And of course, all with his permission.



Almost Wordless Wednesday

Just had a birthday, right? Another day older…um, ok, year.

Which means I’m a risk taker now…that happens when you look down the barrel of fifty….

Which also explains why I have wrinkles on my ankles.  Sigh.

For more Wordless Wednesday, click here.

Another year older


49 times now.

It keeps on happening and I am finally learning to embrace it, enjoy it, own it.  I’ve written before how I used to play it down and kind of zip through it as quietly as possible.  No longer.  Now I try hard to  just wake with a prayer of thanksgiving and sit back and enjoy the day.  Nowadays,  this day brings unexpected gifts… seems to come with more sagging and bagging and tired, but then again it also brings greater contentment, acceptance and I daresay, even a tiny bit of wisdom and much  more joy.    Really.  I wouldn’t go back for anything.  Which works out well since, of course, I cannot.

The Old Lady, by Bernard Safran, 1970

And now I am on the cusp of fifty.  The forties have been really good.  Life in the forties has brought many changes and challenges, perhaps more and  harder than any other decade.  And yet, I have found my heart expanding and my happiness growing.  Which is the greatest of gifts.

I woke to streamers and cupcakes in my kitchen (thank you godkids and Jean!), and multiple happy hugs from my kids.  Gabey keeps saying, “I’m so happy it’s your birthday!” It just makes me grin at the sweetness, every time (tho really, I think he’s happy due to the promise of cake…even so….).

Me too, buddy, me too.


Falling Fire

It’s the Feast of Pentecost!

Makoto Fujimura, "January Hour - Pentecost"

I love this feast, not only for the terrific art through the centuries, the storytelling and imagery of it all….but for the entire concept of it.  It’s truly one of the mysteries in life and yet, it’s one we get to walk through often as well.

What? Sound a bit crazy?  Maybe…but I know and I bet you do too that you have had times when you were able to say something to a friend or family or someone that was totally the perfect thing to say, and you had NO idea you were going to say it.  And right after those words slipped out, you kind of marveled at them.  Did you really say that? Well…yeah.  Wow.  Good job and um, it wasn’t you.  Right? I know that very thing has happened to me.  Many more times than once.  And used to be, I’d kind of sit there and think, “Wow, how clever am I and who’da thunk it“…..until it dawned on me (like a beam whacked across my forehead) that um, it wasn’t me after all.  No way.  Now, I know better.  It’s NOT me.  It’s the Holy Spirit and when it happens, I’ve basically just finally shut up long enough to give Him an edge, an opening.  Really, I should do it more often.  I know, I know.

I get to feel it in my parenting too.  Not often enough of course cause I’m typically way too busy getting in the way with  my controlling ideas.  But, when I’ve been able to slow down and step aside, either through sheer exhaustion or sheer empty brain cells, then I’ve gotten the gift of seeing someone, something else at work.  And I marvel.  Because then sometimes if I quietly let that fire fall on me and through my arms I can bring my kids into the warm embrace of it – and we love and heal and grow.  At least for a moment or two before I start slapping it out with my own schedule and commands and ideas; back to the buzz.  But those moments, ah, they are gold.  They really do kinda glow.

And that’s why I love this Feast. It reminds us that we can walk through falling fire. It doesn’t burn.  It’s a little bit of magic in our world, but better.  Because it’s grace.

Below is the song that I wake with, every feast of Pentecost.  It’s my tune for the day.

08 Let The Fire Fall

Happy Feast of Pentecost!

Applying to the Dominicans of the St. Joseph Province

{Note; the Aspirant time frame was about 6 -8 weeks.  Again, these posts are post-dated, if you will.  The timing is not, currently, real time.  I wrote them earlier and only publish with Chris’ permission}

So. Now, my son is an Applicant.

This pleases me if only because now I can pronounce it properly.  This is a comfort.  Also, it’s easier to explain or address in a concise manner.  So when friends ask about him, wondering about his post graduation plans, I can say, “Well, he’s applying to the Eastern Provence of St Joseph, the Dominicans.” And even though that it is something of a mouthful its much more direct than trying to explain and pronounce what an aspirant is.  So, because these posts are really about our parental side of this process…this is a step forward in more ways than one.

Now of course, he has a boatload of work to do.  Not that he didn’t already have a boatload of work to do, what with extra class units, senior piano recitals for one of his his majors, work as an RA, being social and all…..and oh, the continuing discernment to the priesthood…now he has an a “formidable” application to undertake.  We never said he wasn’t an overachiever.  This will be quite the juggling act.  Good practice, the discipline it will take to manage it all.  Anyhow, so, now he has a list to work on.  It’s a lengthy list, but a tangible list, rather than only the more internal work that he’s been doing for this process.

I think that this concrete, numbered, tangibility is helpful.  Then again, i am totally task oriented so maybe that’s just me.  But for me, this next step, this new title to the process kind of releases me from some of the fretting about all this.  Because even though this whole process isn’t about us, it is, tangentially.  There is an underlying sense of import and looming change for us, the parents and family .

As  I type this, now, he has just finished the rigors and requirements of the application. He had to write either a shortish narrative of his life to date, or answer a number of personal exploratory sort of questions. This was probably the most challenging part of the application for my son.  Having a tendency toward procrastination, typically he put it off until this clanging deadline and personal introspection demanded the attention of his numbered hours.  My guess is that he completed it in the standard fashion of most applicants; both fussing over it a bit and then barreling through it to get it off the to do list.

After that he had to request five letters of recommendation from various persons in his life; happily they all agreed to the chore.  On of those letters had to be from one of us, his parents.  He asked his father.  Thank goodness for that, as just reading his father’s letter made me cry; I couldn’t have done it so well.  It was a most excellent letter.  No surprise that, the quality or the tears I suppose. Lastly, but certainly not least, he had to run the gauntlet of full bodily examination: physicals of every sort.  He had his eyes checked, his teeth, his body with the big general physical and blood work.  He had his mind and psychic well being checked too; they don’t need to cope with any burdensome neuroses, the garden variety ones are certainly enough for each of us, eh?

Certificates of sacramental preparations, birth certificates as well as baptism and confirmation were requested.  I happily gave him a scare when I mentioned finding and sending the perfect Baptism pics: where he looked both cute AND holy, even at five months old.  No, I didn’t send the pics but it was awfully fun to tease him that I did. It’s good to keep your kids on edge, just a bit, I think.   A mom has to have some fun with this process right?  Right.

The last official part of the application process and the most weighty perhaps, other than the ongoing discerning, was the official “Vocations Counsel” interviews.  Chris had to fly to D.C., and after his psych evaluation, have a few interviews with some of the higher ups Dominicans of the order.  I asked him, after, if he was nervous.  He said, “A little, but they were very nice.  One was kind of hard in a way, but it was good.” Listening to him after the trip, between flights to come home, made me grin.  The excitement in his voice was, again, like a young man, excited about a new adventure.

And now, we wait.  His application has been approved by the vocations counsel ( even without the baptism pictures, imagine!) and has been sent to the Prior Provincial for the final stamp. Kinda like sending the bill to the president; he can approve or veto it,  final answer.  I’ve asked him if he is nervous for the outcome.  “Not really” he says.  Funny, me neither.  Yeah, I think we all know what that outcome is going to be.  Gods will.  Thankfully, the peace of that is settling in.

For today.  Today my son is, still, an applicant.  Tomorrow, in the next few weeks, we will see if his status changes.  Prayerfully, we wait.

Worth a Look: Interview on retro-modern intersection of culture & art

This is an interview that I saw on the Dominican blog.  Yeah, I visit there often nowadays….

Anyhow, this artist is the one that I really like. I have used an image of his St. Joseph sculpture twice for St. Joseph’s feast day. Because it’s really gorgeous. Interesting to be able to see an interview with him and he’s worth a watch/listen. He’s got some good points and is doing some interesting stuff. Making a new difference perhaps in the world of art and culture for our modern times, in his own retro fashion. Good stuff, and a nice breather for this week. Go, see, enjoy!

He Aspires

He Aspires.

Aspirant.  My son is an aspirant.
What, you might well ask, is that.
Well, I will tell you, and I should do so with fair warning that this may well begin a series of blogs about this subject.  Because its a lot for us all to process, not the least of which is me.  And you all know well that I process through blogging.
But I digress.
Anyhow. My son is an Aspirant.

That is what it is called when your son is seriously considering life as a religious, with an order.  In this case, the Dominican order.
It’s the step before the formal application, sort of an understood verbal or written “notice of intent;” which means he’s let them know he is seriously considering this and they said “Good news!”.
Now that may seem huge to you.  Or maybe not.  But if you knew my son, you would know that he does not make decisions, any decisions, lightly….not even ordering a chicken sandwich.  So when he called them up and said he’d like to be considered an aspirant…..he might have well as jumped off the cliffs like the divers in Mexico.  So it feels like a big darn deal to him. And it is.  It does to us too.

Oddly, and on an inconsequential aside, we all keep getting hung up on the pronunciation:  “aspire- rant” “as per ant?”.  Ok, maybe its just me.  The vocations director says it as “aspire-ant”. I suppose this most apt.  But my years of reading too many books tells me I should pronounce it like “asper-ant”.  Though one of my girlfriends tells me that pronunciation reminds her of someone who has aspirated something and is choking to death.
Maybe that’s not the image we are going for.
With that visual I suppose the vocation directors version is better, eh?
I suspect my hesitancy with the speaking of this word reflects the hesitancy of this new thing in our lives.  In my sons life.
And yet, even so, its not hesitant at all, really.

I know in my very bones and deepest corners of my soul that he is made for this.  Indeed, I know and believe he was made for this, from the beginning.
I think I knew it before he did.
But maybe all moms say that.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.  Or him.

That running ahead is part of the difficulty with all this.  He has to discern slowly, listening and praying and listening some more to hear the will of God.
Sounds like a tall order, no?
I mean, we aren’t talking audible voices, or voice, like the classic Bill Cosby routine about Noah. Although come to think of it, listening to that routine on the radio on long car drives unfailingly made my sons just fall over laughing.  Maybe I should’ve taken note?  Anyhow, the point is that this discerning thing is a tender nurturing thing.
It’s his call.
Oh, so literally.  It is his call.
And while I could see it coming, yeah, a long way off and his dad and I saw it sooner than he did….its still his to discover, unwrap and examine with wonder.  And he is.

If you want to know what its like…well obviously I can only say what I see.  But…on his part, in some ways, it seems its kinda like falling in love.  I see that same rush of wonder and excitement and quiet marveling wow.  His eyes sparkle and his words spill over as he describes what’s “so cool” about this or that.  It makes me grin to sit and listen to him.

So.  For now, his dad and I watch and listen and pray for our son as he prayerfully considers and discerns Gods call.  If you’ve a mind to, please pray for my boy.  And maybe throw one or two prayers our way too as his dad and I look ahead to this special road, filled with different challenges and joys and very big adjustments for us all.

Because what WE aspire to, for our son, is for him to joyfully step forward into whatever life God is offering: teacher dad plumber or priest.

* Note: this post is not precisely real time. I wrote it months ago. But only have permission, now, from Chris to post it. And so I will, a short series perhaps, about a rather unique process and time in all of our lives. *