Most of the stuff on the blog is not cheery because storm clouds seem to be rolling in and beginning to blot out the sun.
However, I've learned something from starting the second blog and giving people a chance to say what they're thankful for; I've learned what God has always said - "giving thanks is healthy"
I wanted to take time out on here to thank one of the many rays of sunshine in my life.
My sister "Lars" is a senior in high school. Most high school girls are pretty desperate to fit in. They'll drink whatever or smoke whatever or sleep with whoever simply in order to not be different or stand out.
Lars doesn't work that way!
She's a nutrition junky, she is part owner of one business and is starting a second that has a surprisingly vital business model. She loves bridal magazines but isn't obsessed with physical beauty. She sings, cheers, loves her friends, family, and the Food Network...and is one of the most unique and interesting people I've known in my entire life. People like my sister are people who remind you that life is short, life is good, and each day is a new start.
One of the first homilies I ever gave was on my sister. I include it here:
"In 2001, I was attacked by a Cheetah.
It wasn’t a real Cheetah, it was actually my sister dressed up in a Cheetah leotard. She had lipstick smeared on her face to simulate the blood of her Serengeti prey.
The Cheetah attack is just one of the many ways she has greeted me when I come home. Sometimes she punches me in the stomach, other times she does the splits, and some times she barks and makes strange noises.
It may sound like she needs to be locked up, and we’ve considered it, but she’s always been unique in a good way. She has brought life and energy to our family. From a young age she’s also been a spiritual role model for me, always deeply fascinated by the idea of the devil and angels and Jesus.
The verdict is clearly still out on her sainthood. However, she is a constant reminder that people living in sin are the boring ones, and that it is the saints who are full of imagination and it is the saints who take on as many variations as the stars in the sky.
Some of the saints were fat, and some starved themselves nearly to death. Some were priests and some were mothers. Some were converted prostitutes and others were virgins. Some sat on poles their entire lives, and some were athletes. Some were rich and some were destitute.
Then there was St. Patrick, whom we remember today. The man drove out the snakes from the towns of Ireland. He was walking down the street, and the snakes were fleeing him en masse. Now that is odd and original and interesting and fascinating!
When we contrast the lives of the saints to those living in sin, we see how bland and utterly predictable sin is. How completely boring is an alcoholic, a person addicted to TV, the internet, drugs or pornography, or hatred or bitterness. Living in sin is not actually living at all.
May the saints around us, living and dead, inspire us to embrace the adventure of life. And may they always point us back here, to the Eucharist, where we receive Christ, the one and only source of all imagination, beauty, and creativity."
I'm around young people a lot, and most struggle to carry on a conversation with an adult, but my sister Laura can talk to people twice her age with ease and grace.
Being in high school, I know a lot of times the kids who are mature, who can relate well with others, who don't give in to peer pressure, I know they sometimes get it bad from the immature and socially-robotic clones who have a lot of maturation left to accomplish. No one likes to be around a person who reminds them that they are lacking in human virtues, and I'm sure "Lars" has had her struggles...
But I wanted to take time to tell her, publicly, that she is a breath of fresh air and an inspiration to many people, myself included, and I thank God that she and many other young people recognize there is more to life than Coors Light, the Kardashians, "hooking up" and the latest edition of "Cosmo".
"Lars", I'd rather spend ten minutes talking with you than a month with those who lack your maturity and grace! Keep up the good work and keep being a breath of fresh air to all you meet and know!