The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Happy New Year...Slightly Delayed

After an absolutely wonderful visit with us here in Florida, our elder daughter, our son-in-law, and five of our beautiful grandchildren returned to their Cape Cod home three days ago. Having them all here for Christmas was a special treat for us, for there's something about Christmas -- the celebration of Our Savior's birth -- that demands the presence of children. And with five little ones -- ranging in age from nine years to three-months -- staying with us for two weeks, their presence was certainly evident. We loved every minute of it.

But now the house is once again empty and silent...well, relatively empty and silent since Diane and I don't take up too much space and live a pretty quiet life together. I've resisted taking down the Christmas decorations because I enjoy them so much and their absence seems to make the house a bit less joyful. But I will finally take on that task today, place them in their boxes, and try once again to find room in the attic. Like the Church, as it makes its way through the liturgical year, we will return to more "ordinary" time and begin to focus on Our Lord's pilgrimage to Calvary and the promise of the Resurrection, along with our own pilgrimage as we strive to live the Christian life.

That we are now in the eleventh year of the 3rd millennium boggles the mind. As I age each new year seems to come more rapidly, as if time itself has been compressed making each subsequent year appreciably shorter. I'm pretty sure this apparent shortening of days is a universal perception, something we all experience, and probably results from the busyness that fills our adult lives and the fact that we have ceased being surprised at, or even noticing, what the world places before us. Most children lead lives of relative leisure, as they should. And in that leisure they are able to observe and absorb the surprises that creation offers them. So much that children encounter is new and they tend to savor that newness, enjoying all that comes their way.

If we adults could be more like children and take the time to appreciate and enjoy the remarkable creation that God has given us, perhaps time for us would slow down as well. Here in Florida, for example, we are blessed with all kinds of interesting creatures, everything from alligators to egrets, marvelous animals and birds that show off God's creative power. I particularly enjoy the large birds that gather daily in the ponds near our home. I took the photo below last year during a day-trip to the town of Dunedin on Florida's west coast. We had walked to the end of a small pier when a large egret landed right next to us, obviously looking for a handout from some of the locals who were fishing off the pier. As I approached the large bird, he obligingly turned his head, presenting me with his best side. I love the photo because in the details one can view the perfection of God's creative act. I hope you enjoy it as well. (Click on the photo to view it in higher definition.)

May God bless you all in this new year, helping you grow in faith and love.

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