Words cannot describe how amazing this time has been. But, let’s try.
As I sit here, early in the morning on Saturday July 30th, 2022, I can’t help but to think to myself that this time has been a once in a lifetime type of experience. Today is day 43 of a 44 day sabbatical that has been truly life changing. It took a great deal of work to do this; perhaps years of addiction to work even, which made it possible. I’m not sure I will ever know exactly what made it possible, but I know that I am immensely thankful for this time. I am thankful for the chance to slow down & reflect, to be fully present with those I love. I am truly blessed, and I know it.
I couldn’t sleep, so I got up. I guess I am excited about the day (we’ll probably fish again). While listening to a little music & enjoying my coffee, I began to thumb through my journal, thinking about life & stuff. I looked back to see what was going on a year ago. The words from my journal a year ago really moved me. In fact, they moved me so much that I’d like to share them publicly … even though no one will likely ever read them :-). As I said before, I am truly blessed, and I know it.
I love you Jessica, Jackson & John. You are amazing travel companions. Thank you for your love & trust.
Here is my journal entry from last year, on Monday July 26th, 2021.
Trip to Ronnie’s Retirement
Today I am flying to Denver for a big work meeting at GHX. I’m a little anxious as we have lots going on right now. Not just the typical takeoff anxiety, or the little extra anxiety due to a rainy takeoff. Jessica and I just made an offer to rent a house in Key Largo for a year. We have lots of support and we’re thrilled, but it’s crazy town right now. We are planning to move from McKinney, Texas back to Florida later this year. What an adventure!!
It’s been a misty Florida summer morning. I got up at 5am and walked out into it. High humidity and some rain. Here in a moment I’ll be high above the clouds and I expect it will be beautiful.
I enjoyed staying at the little Best Western Bayfront hotel right by Vilano Inlet; it reminded me of many family trips with the boys & Jessica. I had a chance to see some good friends this weekend too. Quintin & Jason for dinner on Saturday & Sunday evening. Quintin & I even made a last minute stop into Kilwin’s (I talked him into it) for ice cream sundaes. We had a chance to walk around the Old City and it was nice to be back. They are good men. I had a chance to spend some time at Stacey & Harry’s new house in Jacksonville. They are so proud & it’s a nice little house.
The reason for the trip was to come to Ronnie’s retirement celebration. That was too fast! It seems like she was just ordained. I remember her ordination to the deaconate at the Cathedral, Jessica’s baptism on Mother’s Day in 2008, The boys’ baptisms on January 11, 2009 & April 23, 2011, P413 and all that, the mission trips, the pilgrimages, St. Patrick’s, Build, Cursillo. I’ve missed a bunch for this list. Too many to list. I simply had to come. What a journey I’ve had with her and Uncle Max so far!
Now, they will do something new. Like me & Jessica. Like all of us. It’s a journey and like Forrest Gump said about chocolates…we never know what we’re going to get. One slight correction Forrest, it’s going to be chocolate. We do know that 😉
In her sermon on Sunday, Ronnie talked about “the green grass” and the apostles “inviting Jesus to get into the boat”. The soft green grass made for a nice place to sit and talk. Also, after meeting them in the water, Jesus never got into the boat, as it was immediately at the shore. To me, these stories of feeding the 5,000 and Jesus walking on the water are the 2 most prolific miracle stories I know of in the Christian tradition. In fact, the Mark version of the water is one of my personal favorites (“their hearts were hardened” has always given me a special peace as even the apostles had a hard time always believing & remaining faithful).
What I heard in her sermon and in these readings is that God has already considered all of the details, He’s thought through the needs of his people, and it will be good. In this exact time, Ronnie & Max are going through a major change, as is St Patrick’s and its parish family. I’m sure there is anxiety for them, just like Jessica and I feel in moving again. And how Bishop Howard must feel right now & the search committee responsible for finding a new bishop. How the CEO of my company must feel? How the President of the US must feel? There is a lot going on. My prayers are for peace for all, a peace which surpasses all understanding. I pray that it will be good. I pray that it will be chocolate.
After 2020, I also see how awful I am at predicting what crazy town will do next. When I relocated from St. Augustine to Dallas for McKesson in 2019, a global pandemic while doing an enterprise-wide organizational reset were not on my “worst case scenario list”. But even through that ridiculousness, we have thrived. We’re prospering and we’re growing.
Today, I believe this. We are blessed with a very short time together. We have this beautiful place. My travel companions are amazing; I love them so much. This journey called life is simply amazing, and like the song says, when the hair stands on the back of my neck, it reminds me – heaven must be just like this. It can be scary at times, but I want to chose to embrace it. That feeling is called “life”.
It’s going to be good. It’s going to be chocolate.