Friends — Always Teaching Me

I am finally settling down finishing my dinner, as it is with everyone else in the world – life has certainly kept moving along. Today, I came home from a phenomenal weekend in Boston and in the cape. On the way home, I was reflecting on what I did this weekend since it has been years that I last saw Father Ron and Brother Charles. However, everyone knows this: We do not know when our last stop will be before the world crashes in upon all of us and we split up for however long.
 
However … that is for another post … 
 
So, the thought of this post goes that I finally arrived with my new friend John to Boston – in the north end second. So, as I arrived at the house, I noticed a person standing on the side of the crowded road – and I knew who it was and waited for the right moment to interject with my instructions. I rolled down the window and said “Is that Father Ron?” His smile filled his face, nodded and gave me a big hug. At the first moment of “#3: Teach everything I just taught you,” I said hello to my old priest (who is also my family friend) from when I was growing up at church. Man, has he and my parents known him for over 20 years. After we gave each other a big hug, he got in the car and we had to drive to the parking lot. 

I was so excited to hear that Father Ron moved from Connecticut (Winsted) to Boston. He got a new job in which he is now the vocation director of the dioceses. In other words, he is responsible for training the newest “additions” to prepare them for the priesthood. Yes, he still does mass although his new job is multiple steps up, if you want to think of it that way. Back then, I watched a man spend all his time devoting himself to the church: Doing Homilies, passing out communion to the parishioners, causing (funny) reactions to control a certain person (most people from my church know who I am talking about — LOL), etc. —- these are just a few of the “nitty gritty” of being a Priest and being involved with the church. It was clear that being married to the church helps grow his life. When I was little and an altar server for him, I thought he was missing it: I thought he had no idea what he was doing with his life. We needed to work on the BIG stuff, not the fact that my index finger was not exactly next to my middle finger when getting ready to grip for 4 mallet technique!! Wait, did I just integrate a music thing? No one cares about that!! Ugh — No one can tell!
 
Oh what – I did not know! Oh, if I knew then what I know now!! Of course, he could have told me funny stories of me from my early days.

Not to mention that I met three wonderful friends — both Ricardo and Danny are heading to the priesthood, and John is studying criminal justice to be a police officer. Just the fact that I get to spend the weekend with people who try to find life bigger than themselves makes me at home; knowing there are people on this earth that do good for themselves and others. It was very inspiring to bond and get to know everyone during the process. It was a weekend to remember and I am glad we are all reconnected. Nothing means more to me than meeting new lifelong friends — people that truly get what life is (which is what I have always taught people): something bigger than yourself.

And after settling in Friday afternoon, we went out to a place called Quattro in the north end of Boston. We each got personal pizzas that were huge!! The food was absolutely fantastic!! Father Ron was right with his advice he gave to me (and this goes to everyone): If you want to eat in Boston, do a reservation in the afternoon or early if you can because it is impossible to reserve a spot at a restaurant. Man, is it nonstop tourism!

On Saturday, we went to Cape Cod to visit Brother Charles. He is doing better in health and we were joined by Father Bruce, a former priest in Winsted where John goes to church. We had a full blown Italian meal: Ziti, meatballs and sausage, garden salad, garlic bread, and topped it off with vanilla pound cake, strawberries and whipped cream. Boy, I was ready for a nap after — better yet, we all were ready for a nap!! Not to mention that it was cold!!

That evening after coming back, we went to Quincy Market where John and I went to the comic store to get a few things. A lot of people were waiting to see the Christmas tree lighting that was happening later that evening. And then Sunday came and we had hamburgers, hot dogs and salad before leaving.

Anyway, I could tell you more about the weekend, however I am going to save it. Rather, I want to mention that success is in the details: The “nitty gritty” details. It is similar to music: Sure, the ensemble is making more noise than ever and the percussionists do not stand at attention the same way as other instrumentalists do. They look sloppy. Therefore, fix that, add the sound, and BOOM — we have greatness.
 
… If only it were that simple, however, most people know the point I am making. 
 
Father Ron and I spent the weekend together after a few years. What a great weekend it was to catch up with him, to hear his life has changed. How did he manage to find me and get back in touch with me? I have no idea! It might be phone because he had my number. Just to hear that he is more passionate about not just fixing the “nitty gritty things,” rather teaching others WHY and HOW – not just WHAT. He sat there and told me about how much he has learned since his life changed, and how it has helped him to break down and analyze everything – similar to if he were to include how each and every muscle in the foot needs to do certain things in order for the backward initiation to occur.
 
I sat there in amazement and joy as I listened to my old friend speak with such passion about wanting to make a difference not just for practicing Catholics like me, rather around the world. To spend the weekend reminiscing on the old days was incredible.

And finally, there was the lesson.
 
He said:
 
“Drew, at our age, we do not NEED to be doing this. We do it because we WANT to.”

And boom: It hit me.
 
Do I NEED to be out playing music with sweat running down my body as if I was standing in a shower, nervousness kicking in for the first opening night? No.
 
Do I NEED to be out there not only in the heat, rather in the rain, cold temperatures and even snow, trying to get people to wake up and put out some energy? No. 
 
I do not NEED do to any of those things … I simply want to do them.

Thank you Father Ron.

Glad we caught up — It feels good to be home again!!

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