When people you know become deacons

This weekend, four guys from the Archdiocese were ordained deacons. Basically, they are going to spend a year serving as a deacon before they are ordained priests next summer. They can preform weddings and baptisms and give blessings and preach at mass and all sorts of great stuff.

There was a moment during the ordination mass when one of the newly-ordained deacons said "Let us offer each other the sign of peace" and I thought "Hey! I know him and now he's a deacon!" I had the opportunity to sit and watch four men pledge their lives to service of the Church and to their calling to the priesthood. I got to congratulate them after it happened and I had the opportunity to share in the joy that comes from taking another step toward fulfilling God's plan for their lives.

I have been thinking a lot about experiences recently. I have the sense that a lot of time, we put so, so much emphasis on experience, on going amazing places and doing extraordinary things, that we forget the little life things that are pretty amazing in their own right. I have fallen into the mindset of needing to "get out" of my little community and go "do something" with myself. I actually went and did that for two years, which were beautiful and necessary, but ultimately, I came back to my community.

What comes to mind is a quote I read a while back from a Peter Kreeft book (I think it was Three Philosophies on Life, but I can't remember for sure). It was to the effect that as we skip from thing to thing, newspaper to newspaper, reading the ever-changing times, and a hermit sits and contemplates the eternity, we are barely skimming the surface, and he is delving into the depths of life and eternity.

Our lives are lives of layers. Layers of people and places and loves and yes, experiences. Not big experiences, but the little ones that make up our every day. I often lose sight of the beauty of the little layers of my life. And yet, when I sit and savor the little moments of life, I am kind of overwhelmed.

For who am I to get to see these men give up their lives in service of the Church? Who am I to witness the baptism of one of the girls I babysit? Why do I get to be involved in the lives of the girls in my small group, the kids in my catechism class? I got to see my best friend get married, my brother play rugby games, my little sister dance. I get to walk around my friend's college campus with her and meet her priest-friend. I get to listen to my friends cry when things suck and laugh and smile when they are wonderful. I get to share in the life that Christ has breathed into each of their lives, and in mine.

I have been planted where I have been planted. In this place, I have been given the opportunity to be in communion with these little things, these little-big moments that don't look flashy or brilliant, and some times look hard and scary and painful. I get to share in the joy that comes from living life, from being alive, from life just happening as it happens.

I don't want to spend these moments wishing I was somewhere else, doing something "bigger" or more exciting.

I am revisiting my desires. I do not want to visit Rome or climb a mountain or run a marathon, if that means I don't get to experience and appreciate baptisms and marriages and ordinations and tears and joys and love. And you can have both, I truly believe you can. But if I have to choose, and some times I do, I choose the latter every time.

For life is very beautiful.

Also the sun is shining outside and that's probably why I wrote this.


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