This weekend, the soccer balls stayed still, the jerseys and shin guards remained folded and unused. It was an “other” kind of weekend filled not so much by my own kids’ activities, but by the accomplishments of others in our lives; a wonderful couple days of being inspired by the life-altering milestones of friends.
On Friday evening, I met with my 9-year-old godson to go over details of Saturday, the big day, the double whammy: Confirmation and First Eucharist in one fell swoop (of the Holy Spirit, that is). For those who question Confirmation at such a young age, I assure you, I’ve watched three of my children experience the same so far, and these young folks are bubbling over with enthusiasm unlike anything I’ve witnessed in teen Confirmants. They are eager beyond eager to have the Holy Spirit take up permanent residence in their souls. They are prepped and ready to be transformed, from the tops of their darling heads to the tips of their anxious toes!
Speaking of darling heads, my godson has the cutest head of curly, blonde hair around. But cuteness aside, this is a child destined for greatness. Not only did he handle himself admirably on his own big day, despite admitting to some nervousness (“I usually love getting on stage, it’s no problem, but I’m really nervous this time!” he said during the dress rehearsal Friday), but the next day, he led the crowd, literally, at the outset of his older brother’s Boy Scout Eagle Award ceremony. “May I have your attention please,” he began, and not a moment of flinching as he nudged the furthest table in the room to have first pickings at the taco spread. Naturally, having picked the last to be first, there was a round of applause from that section of the room. My prediction is that this young man is going to be a leader of some sort — perhaps even a priest, since he also led the large group in a bold rendition of grace before the meal without so much as a pause.
Speaking of the Eagle Scout ceremony, I’d never been to one, but felt honored to witness this rare rite of passage on Saturday. I was a bit emotional, thinking of years long ago when this young man and my oldest son used to play “caves” under our small dining-room table in a different house in a different part of town in a different time in our lives. That was back when his mother and I were just starting out our lives as parents, trying to figure it out together; before they moved away to another state, then back again; before I could even begin to imagine that an energetic little boy who tore around my house with my similarly energetic son would be standing up tall in front of loved ones and fellow Scouts to receive an honor garnered by only five percent of all Boy Scouts. I was proud of him. I can only imagine how his parents must have felt. And yes, the all-too-quick passage of time was staring me in the face hard, but I did not turn away from it. Truly, these are the things that life are about — growing up and finding our way in the world. Some do it more successfully in others, but we all are confronted with our fair share of joys and sorrows. Life is too short and precious to do anything other than seize those moments of wonder, and to be glad that we’ve been blessed by this time together — this small span of time in all of time reserved just for us.
So, as much as anything else, this weekend was a reminder to me that each day is an opportunity to make good on that speck of time we’ve been given. I am eager to continue on with that pursuit, and to be open to all of life’s blessings as they come. What a better time than Memorial Day weekend to reflect on the preciousness of life and service and blessing.