St. Thérèse of Lisieux’s feast day is just days away. On 10/1 there will undoubtedly be much celebration on Earth and in Heaven—appropriately so.
I wish I could say I’ve written a whole tribute to the enduring wisdom of her “Little Way,” but I haven’t. I did, however, recently give a talk about striving for day-to-day holiness in family life in which I ended with a profound quote from the much loved saint and doctor of the church. In the talk, I may or may not have slightly tweaked her profound words for the purposes of my theme. Bold, right?! But I’m gonna go out on a limb here in asserting that I think Little Flower would have approved. You decide. Regardless, an early happy feast day to all of you, recognizing one of the church’s most influential saints—a twenty year-old girl from France. Quelle sympathique!
A quick shout out to the wonderful ladies from the Magnificat Moms at Spirit of Christ in Arvada, Colorado! Thank you for the invite to speak. It helped spur me out of a recent writing lull.
Hit play below to listen to my most recent talk on striving to live day-to-day holiness in family life. Bonus points if you listen while doing the dishes.
I’m not a serious tennis fan, but over the years, I’ve followed the amazing career of Serena Williams. In fact, she’s hard not to watch, such a force of sheer athleticism and drive, not to mention all the spellbinding, gutsy grunts that accompany each swing of the racket. In addition, her striking, glamorous face has covered countless magazines over the years from fitness to fashion. She’s got the world’s attention, including mine. That’s why her recent rant at the US Open truly disappointed this mom.
Certain iconic sports images of epic underdog wins and poetic last plays witnessed over the course of my life remain imprinted on my brain. Consider Tiger Woods dramatically donning the green Masters’ blazer as the first person of color, Michael Phelps shattering the record for the most gold medals, the Chicago Cubs’ curse-breaking World Series triumph against my beloved Cleveland Indians. I could easily go on, but there’s one memory that is even more enduring. Yet, I suspect many of you probably won’t even recall it.
For me, the moment crystallized not just a legendary sporting achievement, but an encounter with sadness and mourning in the midst of victory. It was Father’s Day, 1996. Michael Jordan had just won his 4th championship for the Chicago Bulls. His win was rendered even more momentous after a brief retirement and triumphant return to the sport that made him a household name. Also notable, this marked Jordan’s first major career win without the support of his father in the stands. Jordan’s dad had been murdered three years earlier.
Recently, a friend candidly shared with me her worries about the amount of faith her son was getting in our Catholic school. It concerned her that every single subject was neatly tied to Catholicism. She expressed frustration that it all funnels back to the faith.
“Religion in Phys. Ed.?! I mean, are they just peddling the Catholic kool-aid?”
This was my chance. Very rarely in life do you get lobbed the absolute perfect pitch, just standing at the ready, anticipating the moment you are about to connect with the sweet spot. While I didn’t share this mom’s concern AT ALL,I understood it completely. More than understood it, I had lived it. Growing up, I picked up on the mistaken and misguided message that our Catholic faith was something that we trotted out for religion class and at Sunday mass, but once you entered the parking lot, AKA real life, all bets were off. You hopefully lived life as a decent human being—read: good enough, but not aiming all too high, making sure not to murder or maim, intentionally anyway. Under this pervasive philosophy of Catholic-lite Christianity, the faith never truly informs the ins and outs of day-to-day-life. People whose lives were always guided by faith, we called priests, nuns or just plain cuh-razy.
My 11-year-old son’s regular basketball season ended this week. Their record was an inauspicious 0-11. Not a single win. But their dismal results in no way reflect the amount of heart and tenacity this scrappy team of underdogs displayed on the court. They played to win, even when the scoreboard told a different story. They held their heads high in the face of imminent defeat and kept going to the hoop. On many occasions, I would tell the boys the loss wasn’t due to a lack of shots. In fact, they were crashing the boards like champs, but the ball just wasn’t breaking in their favor. This is something that will undoubtedly begin to coalesce after more time playing as a team. Continue reading “Who’s Your Man?”