how it happened

Since I've been talking about Terry and I celebrating twenty years together, I thought I would tell you all it all began.

Terry and I were friends in high school. We were just plain good friends, with no romantic thoughts. Terry's family moved out to the desert while we were still in high school, but we kept in touch. Even as we went through college, started our careers, and made various geographical moves, we managed to keep each other's addresses and phone numbers.

We both got married. Terry ended up in Southern California and I found myself in Silicon Valley. My wife died in 1989. Terry divorced her husband in late 1990 for philandering. The way I found out about that was unique.

I had just gotten back from a healing weekend away on the Mendocino coast. I came home to a Christmas card from Terry. It was one of those preprinted ones, and there was a big X inked through her then-husband's name. She wrote me a brief note about what had happened, and suggested that she might take advantage of the low fares Southwest  was offering in those days and come up for a visit.

That was back in my Religious Science era, and the liturgical calendar wasn't at all on my mind. It was only later I realized that the weekend we had scheduled, the last weekend of March 1991, was Easter. But, as it turned out, that had no effect on things. Terry flew up on Saturday morning. We went up to the City and spent the day at Golden Gate Park. Terry had closed a big sale and her company had promised her dinner for two wherever she liked. So she took me to Scott's Seafood in downtown San Jose. The restaurant is on the fourth floor, and provides a marvelous view of the lights of the city. Sunday morning we went to Easter services at my Religious Science church.

By the time Terry flew back Sunday afternoon, everything had changed. What had been a good friendship was now the beginning of a strong relationship.

That was twenty years ago. It's still going strong and still getting better.

seeing Jesus in annoying people

My friend Fran recently wrote a blog post entitled “Want to meet Jesus? Look into the face of pretty much everyone that annoys you, for starters anyway.” The essay is based on Matthew 25:31-46. (“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink…”) Fran says:

  If we do not see Jesus in every face of sorrow and suffering, if we do not see Jesus in
every face of despair, if we do not see Jesus in every face of every person who annoys,
irritates and upsets us…
If we do not see Jesus in the face of every person that we capriciously judge,
then we do not see Jesus at all.

This kind of stinks because I am easily annoyed and highly judgmental.
I see Jesus all over the place and then brush him off.
I hate writing that but it is true.

Don't we all?

Thank you for that, Fran.

I can't answer the “Don't we all?” question. I can answer the question, “I know I do.”

Fran's blog post got me to thinking about how, instead of like Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music, who had her favorite things (“Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens”), I have my list of people and things that annoy and irritate me.

Overweight men in motorized wheelchairs. Hummers (and you know I don't mean hummingbirds). Cadillac Escalades. Lincoln Navigators. Heavy men in sleeveless shirts whose arms are covered with tattoos. Men walking down the street smoking cigarettes. Redneck men driving pickups with over-sized tires and an ultra-high suspension. Men working in their front yards shirtless who should not ever be shirtless in public. Motorcyclists on cycles whose decibel level exceeds 100. Adults who ride their bicycles on sidewalks. Teenagers who blast through stop signs on their bicycles without stopping or even looking. Women (and men), especially in SUV's, ignoring the California hands-free law and holding their cell phone up to their ear while driving.

I spoke to my spiritual director about this. She said I should write all of these down on paper. Then I should pray for all of them. And I should ask where Christ is in each of them.

Thank you for that, Linda.

We are human beings. There is always more work to be done.

when people do good things

Diana Lopez, age 15, is disabled, restricted to a wheelchair, and lives at the Sub-Acute Saratoga Children's Hospital. She told the staff there several months ago that her dream was to have her own quinceanera party, the traditional coming of age event for Latina girls at fifteen.

Guess what? Over 33 businesses and individuals donated services. Over 20 experienced volunteers from the East San Jose St. John Vianney Catholic Church made it happen. The quinceanera traditionally starts with a Mass. Since Diana couldn't make it to the church, the Mass came to her. She and her friends took the floor in their wheelchairs for the first dance.

One of the volunteers was Seema Cicerone, who is Jewish, but who lived in Mexico for a time and recognized the parallels between the quinceanera and the Jewish bat mitzvah all of her daughters experienced. She got a number of her friends together and raised the money to cover the costs for various parts of the event.

Many of the adults there were in tears. I was in tears when I read the original San Jose Mercury News article, and I'm in tears as I write this.

People do good things.

twenty years

One of the reasons Terry and I decided to do our Alaska cruise and rail tour this year was that, while 2011 is our seventeenth wedding anniversary, it represents twenty years together.

We got (back) together Easter weekend 1991, which that year was the last Sunday of March. So we decided to do something special on Saturday to mark to occasion.

We'd both had a rough week, so we slept late. Before getting out of bed we…oh, you're adults — you get it. For breakfast I squeezed fresh oranges for orange juice and Terry made a marvelous scramble with chicken pesto sausage.

We got cleaned up and dressed up for dinner, and went out to Giancarlos, a small but storied Italian restaurant up the road in Morgan Hill. In all the time we've been in Gilroy we'd only been there once before, fairly recently. The food and the service were wonderful. We each selected a very pleasant glass of wine from the wine list.

When we came home we opened a bottle of Navarro wine, as my dad had just gotten us a case for our anniversary.

It was a most enjoyable day. We're looking forward to continuing our 20-year celebration on our Alaska trip in May.

(And, oh yes, if you're wondering about the "(back) together" reference, more on that later this week.)

what would Jesus have us do?

We lost such a wonderful prophetic voice and treasure when we lost Peter Gomes. In response to the WWJD fad Gomes' observation makes so much sense. Thanks to Ann Fontaine for this.

  The question should not be "What would Jesus do?" but rather, more dangerously,
"What would Jesus have me do?"
The onus is not on Jesus but on us,
for Jesus did not come to ask semi-divine human beings to do impossible things.
He came to ask human beings to live up to their full humanity;
he wants us to live in the full implication of our human gifts,
and that is far more demanding.

keep calm

“Keep Calm and Pray for the World”

courtesy of Mike Todd over at Waving or Drowning, who got it from I'm not sure where…


how silly is that?

I have added a few new Facebook friends recently. I've made a couple of requests and accepted a couple of requests. I looked at my profile the other day and saw I had 99 friends. 99! "Wow," I thought. I've got to get to 100." So I made a couple of friend requests: one to someone whose blog I read and one to a member of the Episcopal community who looked like quite an interesting person. Both accepted my request. So now I have 101 Facebook friends.

And that means….what exactly?