We are back in “Ordinary Time.” This particular movement in our liturgical lives will continue to February 22nd. That day will begin our Lenten pilgrimage with the beginning of Ash Wednesday. But here you and I are presently, in “Ordinary Time.”
The beginning days of this new year had me visiting the moments that are ordinary throughout the year. To say ordinary does not diminish the seriousness and attention we give to these moments. I have been visiting many of our hospitals with the illnesses and emergencies of our sisters and brothers. After a respite that I was praying for, there have been several funerals that I have been involved in.
“Ordinary Time.” I grew up in a wonderful time and in a wonderful neighborhood. Everyone moving in were first time owners of the homes. Our parents for whatever reason they decided, (I never asked) had all of us children address the parents by their first names. Respectfully, we would call out to Alice, Evert, Florence, John, Maxine, Tom, Paul, Betsy, Barbara, Duane, Dottie, Joe, Joan, Jim, Pat, Roger, Carol, Jack, Eileen, Don, Vic, Joan, Helen, Charlie and as the years progressed new neighbors would join us. As kids, we could run and go to anyone’s home and not worry and nor would our parents have to worry where we were. It was a great moment in my life and I know all my peers would say the same.
Last week, one of my neighbors went home to the Lord. Jim was a fabulous person. He lived to be 86. He, like so many of my neighbors belonged to our beloved parish, Holy Ghost. Jim and his wife were the first in our neighborhood to share great sorrow with the death of their son Jimmy. I will never forget the day, being with my father out in our front yard and seeing Jim walking towards our home. He said to my dad, “Paul, I need your help.” Dad was a funeral director and Jim and Joan’s son, Jimmy, was killed the night before. He was walking along the street and a car hit him. Jimmy was barely a teenager.
That was the first of my recollections that the seriousness of “ordinary time” changed in the world of Beaman Road. Like so many of us, our lives have had moments that challenge what we are comfortable with in the ordinariness of life and having to move forward.
Faith. Yes, faith. There was a lot of it in my neighborhood. If folks didn’t belong to Holy Ghost, they were of another persuasion, they worshipped were they were called to be. We were people not perfect but faithful. At least we were striving to be faithful. I say this because Jim Clarke blessed me while he was in this world. He loved our parish, was actively a grand steward and he was devoted to his Lord.
Jim, was the last person to always call me “Robby.” That was me as called by my family and neighborhood. I always appreciated hearing that over all the years even into adulthood. Jim had an Irish brogue that added to the special resonance of his voice addressing me “Robby.” Jim, Joan (his wife), Jimmy, Mom, Dad and so many of our neighbors are buried now at Holy Ghost Cemetery. I’ll be there sometime too. I refer to it as our “new neighborhood.”
I have had a blessed life with wonderful faithful people around me. “Ordinary Time.” Well, for me, Jim and hopefully for all of you, we know by our faith, it is nothing ordinary but extraordinary!
Thank you for putting up with my memories.