“It’s Not Complicated” (And a Note of Thanks)

Just a brief note of gratitude to everyone who offered prayers or left comments here and on various social media outlets and other blogs. My friends and colleagues and total strangers all reached out with sympathy and kindness. The grind of the past few weeks wore us all down, but it all finished in glory with a beautiful mass said by two priests who knew him and spoke movingly about him.

I won’t remember the exact words of Msgr. Ken Tuzeneu’s homily, but I remember the theme: “It’s not complicated.” He spoke of his own generation’s habit of questioning everything from authority to God to the meaning of life, and then spoke of my father and his generation. They realized instinctually what many of us only learned in middle age. Serve God (my dad went to mass, said grace, and was an usher), serve your fellow man (he worked every week at the soup kitchen and was a volunteer fireman), serve your country (at age 19, he quite his job and–only a few months after graduating from high-school–joined the Army Air Force), and serve your family (he ground himself down with hard work providing for his family).

In other words: just do the right things and stop over-thinking it. We know the right things: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (the first three commandments) and love your neighbor as yourself (the last seven). Jesus boiled 613 mitzvot into two, and said “Go and sin no more.”

It really isn’t that hard, is it?

Oh, and one more thing. Fr. John Basil, who concelebrated and also spoke at the mass, said that he wished he’d known my father longer, and that more people could have known him. Even when he was older and physically compromised in how he could serve, he found those things he could do and did them. Fr. Basil talked about his stories and his example, and said it was our job as those who knew him to make him known to others: to share this life.

About 10,000 people have read this post. I call that a fair start.

I’ll leave you with some images from the week that was hereabouts.

My father’s holy medal. I don’t recognize the image or know if it’s tied to a particular devotion.

Dad said the only thing that disappointed him was not seeing my kids become adults. I told him he’d see them because he’d be looking down on them. He replied with a shrug, “Or up.”

The things we save tell us what matters, even when it’s a letter from a nun to the War Department saying a red-headed trouble-maker nick-named Satan is a good boy.

Watches found among my father’s things. Sense a theme?

 

My son lowers his grandfather’s flag to half-staff.

People are good: the fine folks of Patheos sent a plant, neighbors sent some awesome food gifts, people watched kids and wrote notes and sent mass cards, and humanity once again proved we’re pretty damn good.

The diner where we ate between the afternoon and evening wakes served Shit on a Shingle, which was actually called “SOS” on the menu. I had to order it since it was favorite of dad’s even though he ate a ton of it during the war. It was wonderful.

Ending where we always end: at the foot of the cross, but with a promise of resurrection.

About Thomas L. McDonald

Thomas L. McDonald writes about technology, theology, history, games, and shiny things. Details of his rather uneventful life as a professional writer and magazine editor can be found in the About tab.

  • Zach Frey

    Re: your father’s holy medal – could it be Sts. Bendict and Scholastica? Just a guess.

  • http://www.godandthemachine.com/ Thomas L. McDonald

    Hm, interesting. That hadn’t occurred to me. I thought it was something to do with the incarnation: Mary, Joseph and the Holy Spirit. Joanne McPortland suggested that the item at the bottom was not a cross but a Star of Bethlehem. The back says “Come Holy Ghost enlighten me,” which sounds like Confirmation.

  • stefanie

    Tom — your photos and comments made me smile. Re: the medal — I agree with Joanne — it’s a Holy Family medal — but an unusual one because it also places BOTH spouses of the Blessed Mother — her Divine Spouse the Holy Spirit…and her ‘most chaste spouse’…St. Joseph. Very cool!

  • Gary Chapin

    On the SOS … is that the “more butter” commandment. We follow that one at my house.


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