It Is Not Me – It Is Them

6 years ago, our old priest Father Ronald, who spent 16 years at St. Michael’s Church moved to Florida. I (we) came to a complete stop because of this. Now, remember that our family has been active with this church for 25 years. Well, last year we got word that Father Ron was in Winsted. I called the church to speak with him, and I did. He was surprised that I called him, after not speaking to him for a long time. Time flies, but we somewhat caught up through phone, and invited him to dinner the next day with the family; he came.
Well, he made us ALL better – those who were part of his world, as well as those who ARE part of his world via the next generation. I say this about many people, but I have been thinking about him for a long time, which made me want to write about him. However, my gut is right – we are (I am) quiet, pensive, thankful and humbled … as well as contemplative.
Our priests that succeeded him told us that perhaps we have moved on from a man whom we admired, relied upon, were devoted to, etc. They were right. Perhaps we have moved on and made an attempt to accept reality, decided that it was “ok,” chose to live our lives without or perhaps we have simply all taken a collective deep breath and accepted that WE are what is happening now. Maybe some of us took that deep breath and realized the best way to honor our teacher, mentor, friend and cohort was to take the reins in hand and “really make it happen.”
I have to believe that I and many of my friends, family, colleagues in my areas of discipline, my fans and followers and everyone in between are doing just that.
This does not mean he is forgotten – quite the contrary, since Father Ron lives 45 minutes away from us now! This means we are more cautious in our decisions – taking the time to weigh all the options. This means we look at every situation from every possible perspective before choosing a path. This means we LISTEN and CONSIDER as many approaches and outcomes as we can conceive before putting our plan into action – so that the needs of the MANY are met. This is what he taught us.
So, as I write so eloquently (ya right), it is not me. It is not me. It is THEM. For me, it will ALWAYS be them: my students, my colleagues in music, writing, radio, friends and people I go to school with, and God knows what else!
For them to experience 10% of what I did, do and will do in life – THAT is priceless. For them to unload upon whatever comes to and of them with excitement or settle with pure emotional solemnness, THAT is more important to me than anything else – for they realize that it is not just about them, but about the impact they have upon others. Those moments allow me to standby and laugh or sigh at the purity of it all. What better tribute is there to a man like Father Ron who taught me to stop, be patient, and recognize the best in those around me!?
So we move on. We do not turn our back on the past, on what made us better. We take a collective deep breath, and do what we do best – what we were taught to do.  We are quiet and pensive and contemplative in thoughts and decisions: because he would want us to be just that.
Ultimately, the bottom line is this: he made us better. Because of this, we have the opportunity to make the next generation better (I know I will do my best – rather fact, I know I am going to do just that – better yet, I know I am doing this!). He would have wanted it that way.

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