I am happy to greet you once again after a peaceful and restful vacation. I thank you for your support and prayers during that wonderful time. And, I add a special note of thanks to all who so kindly sent greetings and good wishes on my birthday. Your goodness poured oil on the creaks and groans of the transition into my 69th year of life.
I think that I owe some thanks as well to Andrew Patrick Esposito. The last thing I did before coming home on the final day of July was to hold and feed this new grandnephew of mine, who at the time was all of six days old. He is an amazing little guy who has brought much delight to all of us and who will do so for many years to come.
As I held little Andrew that morning, I thought of the precious opportunities I have had over the years to hold and feed first my five nieces and then their seven children as infants.
The 12 of them from those two generations now range in age from a few days to 37 years. In that quiet moment with Andrew, I could see all of them in their infancies. But, more importantly, I could remember the many and wonderful ways in which each one of them has grown through the years. And, I could imagine how Andrew might grow and mature in the years to come.
I can ascribe it only to the experience with Andrew that the normally unexciting task of post-vacation start-up has had a certain freshness about it. It has felt especially good to reconnect with the ebb and flow of life in this local church. It has been a joy to rejoin the company of housemates, coworkers and other friends.
Andrew’s magic was to allow me to regard the work on my desk not as an isolated stack of questions, issues and problems but as a new moment of grace in the flow of the life of our local church. The time of return reminded me of how richly blessed we have been and encouraged me to remember the bright promise that is ours.
Andrew, at the beginning of his life, has given me much to think about. So has one of my longtime friends and vacation buddies, Father Tom Powers, who has come to another stage in his own life. At the end of this month Tom, who turned 70 in May, will be retiring from his pastorate in Albany and moving to Norfolk, Va.
I know that our friendship will continue. It is long-standing and deep. But I am sure that its patterns and rhythms will change. I am curious about just how all of that will evolve in the months and years ahead. For the moment, this change in his life has been a special opportunity to think about a friendship of nearly 50 years, the blessing it has been and of how it will bless us in the future.
I hope that these summer days have found you with some time to think about life and faith and all of the things that nourish both. Prayer nourishes that process. It helps us to appreciate the flow of life and helps us to see the connection between the seed and the flower.
I thank my niece Mary Ellen for bringing Andrew into the world and for me to be fed by him. I thank Tom for the bread of his friendship and look forward to more of the same.
And, to think that Kathleen will be having a baby in March!
Peace to all.