Tag Archives: death

Memorial Judy 2022

Indiana Shooting Hoops

When I was a teenager I used to shoot baskets on the play ground across the street from St Joseph grade school ion Mishawaka. Indiana the Hoosier Hysteria State, it was in my soul. I was a really good shooter. Won many games of 21 and “HORSE”. One day an older kid showed up on the playground to shoot baskets. I discovered he was pretty darn good at shooting hoops. As we played games I became frustrated because he could shoot as well as I did but just a bit better. Gosh darn it he would win. He lived in the house on the alley next to the play ground. I new John because we both had paper routes and paper routes teach work ethics. Later in life I would find this fellow John would find his way back into my life.

The Home Town Alley:

On this same alley lived another kid. His name was Orville McIntyre. His father was killed in World War II. We used to play a lot of hoops games during the summer months. Later during the school year he told me was working as a skate boy at the Bock Roller rink and wanted me to come with him. One day while we were shooting hoops, Judy Hartman walked down the alley to her home on another corner of the alley. Following her was another younger girl. Orville told me she was a daughter of the Bock’s Roller rink. Oh my what lies ahead?

Bock’s Roller Rink / Music Dance:

Somehow I managed to find my way to Bock’s Roller Rink. This is where I first encountered Judy Bock. She was an excellent skater, in fact far far better than that. She skated with a graceful flow and powerful. In those days the rink had an organist in the evenings. During each evening they had special couple dance skates. I still remember the Waltz and the Fox Trot. Every once in a while Fred Back would skate with his daughters. It was just beautiful. I can still see them. Yea Fred had another daughter. Her name was Lynn. We managed to become boy friend and girl friend. Everyone in the rink knew when we had a spiff. Lynn would sit in a corner of the rink and not skate. Oh boy am I in trouble now.

Life’s Rocky Road Fast Forward:

Fast forward, Judy gets married and before long she has her first child – Kim. Somebody put rocks in the road? I don’t know what happened but just it happened and divorce followed.
After high school and a couple years in college I joined the air force. After being assigned my first station I returned home and in January of 1966 we were married. Funny how things occur.

Military Service – Air Force and He’s Back:

While I was busy playing Air Force duties this guy John (from shooting basketballs) somehow came onto the seen without my knowledge. The next thing I know Judy and John are getting hitched in May 1966. Later another baby shows up – she is named Kelly.

A True Art Form handed Down:

I can still remember the the grace of flow of Judy’s skating – I observed a kind of sparkle that radiated from her as I observed Judy skate. Oh Yes, I saw it in Judy’s kids. But so much more than that. I see it today in Kim and Kelly’s kids – the grand kids and great grand kids. It is the sparkle of new life sparkle that is enhanced by surviving a struggle and a trip through the valleys of tears. It is a sparkle that shines ever more brightly where the one who discovers it finds strength, courage and yes grace that can only be found after surviving life’s trials. Abundant blessing if one can only open the spiritual door.

Catholic – A Call to Service – ND Hats:

I am a Roman Catholic and was Ordained a Deacon in 1995. Funny how John who shot baskets with me on the play ground across the street from St. Joseph School eventually went to work for the Sisters on the Hill in Mishawaka. And then he became an regular usher at the University of Notre Dame. Is he Catholic? Do you know catholic means universal? John would send me Notre Dame baseball hats – really nice hats. He may not know it but I wore those hats until my wife secretly threw them out.

Spiritual One Flesh – the Family:

Things one remembers! Judy and John were the symbol of the “one flesh” found in the book of Genesis. Their children are gifts of new life and they themselves have created renewed life. Precious beyond imagination are those lives. Sparkle is the word I use. Yes I see sparkle – in the midst of the sparkle I see Hope beyond imagination. It is a spiritual thing that requires eyes and ears that have traveled troubled rocky roads to the depths of ones bones where one finally encounters gifts and talents hidden from the view of human eyes and ears.

To be Born Again – Death necessary to birth New Life:

To be born again one must die. Death is not an end! A grain of wheat must be crushed and broken before it become flour and only then has the potential to birth the bread of life. A grape must be crushed and broken as well to give up the precious juices with the potential to become the finest of wines to drink. Both must die in order to birth abundant New Life.

Crushed and Broken Open the Hidden Door:

Life is about small deaths necessary to create the potential for new life and life ever lasting. Hidden in the story of life are crushing memories and moments necessary to open the only doors where one can discover talents and gifts planted and hidden in the beginning.

Tears – the Water of Baptism – Cleaning ones soul – Rejoice:

Tears are a sign of being born again where the waters of baptism wash our spirits clean to refresh our souls preparing us to continue the journey on the road to new life. As hard as it is this day might be! Rejoice and be Glad

Death Opens the Doorway that sets one free:

Death can not swallow up Life. Death can only set one free to soar on the wings of dove.

Yes, no matter your struggle, God really does love you!

Tail Waging!

With a New Year comes new beginnings and realities of time marching on! Each day something must die that we might have new life! We don’t think about that! This time of year reality can catch us off guard.

We have our sixth dog that is not our dog. It is the neighbors dog who has had the run of the neighborhood and has acquired multiple eating places. Things changed on an intense stormy day when this dog joined our fourth and fifth dogs, that also were not our dogs, in our garage to escape the heavy rain. Some weeks later our fourth dog that is not our dog passed and the fifth was hit by a car.

Then one evening when my wife was out of town a sudden storm with heavy rain rushed over the neighborhood. To my surprise I heard the neighbor dog knocking at the back porch door. I let her in and intended to let her back out when the storm relented. When it got late, the storm wasn’t running out of gas, so I let the dog spend the night. No good deed done in secret escapes my wife.
Well if I could do that! – magically a dog bed showed up in front of the TV. To my surprise another sprang forth in the bedroom. The sixth dog – not our dog – was crowned queen without my consent! Her 1st thrown was in front of the TV so she could over see us and another in the bedroom to watch us during the night. It must have been magic because overnight this dog – not our dog, began to model my wife’s pattern of shepherding. She would search the house until she found us and then attempted to guide us to where we were supposed to be. She would lay and wait and not go to her thrown/bed until we were in the right places.

Long ago our neighbor who is very busy with small children learned by watching the dog leaving the yard and the kids running after my wife’s car or mine when we came home. It was not a walk or a slow trot – it was a I can’t wait to see you run. The dog is 14 and the children made her nervous and my wife and I are slow.

Well the chill and cold of the New Year brought to light those 14 year old hind legs don’t want to work like they should. And during a recent long cold night her struggles intensified. Getting up has become a mighty effort but her desire to search for us just as intense! Her trips outside now require assistance and careful monitoring after. The time for traveling the neighborhood – not so much – it is obvious to our neighbor as well mother time is running short.

So many memories and pets! I have to ask! Who knows someone who is struggling, is broken in some way, lost in the neighborhood, looking to get out of the storm and the rain, just hoping someone will notice they exist, isolated in a crowd of busy people, praying someone will search for them and ask whats up and invite them in? How many have I am mad at you relative? A dog will receive us with boundless joy and eagerness all over if only our body makes a slight welcome motion – come and enter my safe space. Forgiveness is a dogs nature! How come we humans are so slow to reach out to humans beyond ourselves?

The dogs of my life – even those that are not my dogs have taught me much time and again – they never ever give up even to the end. Imagine we each have been gifted with scars, struggles, rejection, loss, failures and sin. Yea I mean you too – the one who thinks they have nothing to offer! Far far far greater is the potential of those willing to risk reaching way into the depths of their soul and setting free the breath of new life that can be carried on the wind to a soul wondering? Just say “hey I am thinking of you and hope all is well”! Amen – and then why is my tail waging?

Fog Flaws – the Grave – Untie Each Other!

March 17, 2013

The grave/tomb is the place sin takes us to hold us bound.  We can not escape the grave sin seeks to hold us in alone – our spiritual eyes must be opened to see the escape route out – to hear the spirit of the Lord so that we can be fully alive and rise up out of the grave.  Lent is viewed often as a time for individual preparation for Easter, rather than a time for renewal, rebirth and replenishment for the whole church community including the church.  We are a people with not only individual and but also community flaws.  Often flaws we didn’t wish for and wouldn’t wish on another.

Two sisters Mary and Martha were confronted with death of their beloved brother.  We hear they sent for Jesus saying, the one you love is ill.  Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, so when he heard the news Lazarus was ill, he remained for two days in the place he was.

Why did he do that?  He must have known it would not make Mary and her sister Martha happy.  Jesus wanted to teach a family, a nation, his disciples, all of us and yep you too.   By waiting he created anxiousness of the heart!

Jesus knows the flaws of our humanity.  He knows that we often must experience an encounter that stretches us beyond our comfort zone.  Jesus knows how to help us overcome the blindness and stumbling blocks our humanity places in our path.  Blindness rooted in both our human nature, not attributable to consciousness of sin, and in the imposed blindness caused by self rationalization of our sin.

Rationalization is humanities way to hide from the truth that supports many layers of deeply rooted layers of fog flaws we find ourselves enveloped in.  Fog we seem unable to see through.

The Church in its wisdom gave us three scrutinizes (sounds painful doesn’t it) during lent to help us begin to penetrate the fog.  To scrutinize is to confront our human nature to choose to be blind.  Today we celebrate the third scrutiny.

Scrutiny is a search, an in depth examination and inquiry into the depths of ones soul.  To participate in true a scrutiny require the courage, to encounter the stench of death one encounters while digging up what was buried in a grave by the spirit of truth that calls us back to life.  And it is not just for the benefit of the candidates and catechumens, but for the whole family and yep you and me too.

We do these rites (scrutiny) together in the hope we will remember the stories of Jesus encounters and sharing our own stories in the light of Jesus encounters with the Samaritan woman at the well at mid day, the blind man from birth, whose blindness was not caused by sin and Lazarus.  In each story Jesus brought healing and conversion of individual people for the benefit of converting a whole people – the people of God.

Jesus waited until the time was right.  We might, remember these lessons when we become impatient and our pleas and our prayers seen unanswered.  After four days he arrived.  Take away the stone.  Martha said, Lord by now there will be a stench he has been dead for four days now.

Father I thank you for hearing me.  I know you always hear me; but because of the crowd here I have said this, that they may believe that you sent me.  He always hears hears us when we call upon His name.  But he knows how we learn and how stiff necked and hard hearted we can be!  He cried out in a loud voice, Lazarus come out!  Imagine Lazarus tied hand and foot, his face covered in a cloth bouncing awkwardly out!  He either had to roll our or hop out – no way he could have walked out.

What did Jesus say to them when Lazarus came out?  Untie him and let him go!

Jesus and the Church today are teaching us about the relationship we are called to build between the individual and the community.  Untie him and set him free – the essence of a living, breathing and believing community.

O my people, I will open your graves, tough your flesh is dead because of sin and open your Spirit to see clearly the effects of our humanity, sin and the darkness that surrounds because of the light that comes to us through the free gift of grace is always present.

Lazarus comes to us out of the darkness of the grave, tied and bound in burial rope, and blinded by a cloth covering his face.  Symbols of how our flaws hold us in bondage.  Lazarus could not untie and set himself free nor can we.  Lazarus is a story that demonstrates our faith is about living and believing not as just individuals but as a faith community.  Jesus wants us to see, it takes the faith of a family and a supporting community to fully set Lazarus free – flaws and all.  I wonder will we untie the bonds that tie our hands and feet?

That is precisely what the Gospel, lent and the OCIA journey are about.  It is not just about the individual, the candidates or the catechumens.  It is about this whole faith community coming together in one open spirit, to listen and share the story of scripture and each others story.  Listening and being open to one another in spite of ours flaws.  By melting into the one body of Christ we begin to untie the bonds that result in setting each person and the whole community free.  That is how we love oen another and set each other free!