June 15, 2016: SIMPLE, ENDURING, HEROIC

~by Louis Templeman


As I gently caressed my 42-year-old daughter, I lightly ran the tips of my fingers across her upper back and shoulders. She has a severe case of scoliosis and has endured multiple invasive spinal surgeries since she was 16. I was careful not to cause her pain. She was so much better, more active and pain free than six months ago when I last visited. Nevertheless, she shuddered in agony. She lay her head on my shoulders and softly implored, “No, Daddy!” So, I stopped. The whole spinal area is still a mine field of pain.

During my visit this time I was impressed with her fortitude, her humor, her interaction with son and daughter and her funny teasing chatter with her husband. And, I was taken by an obvious lack of something – complaint. From her. Her husband. Her children.

In my birth family, growing up, complaining was a competitive sport. But here I found an expectation of order. An embrace of peace. While I admire my daughter’s poise in the presence of chronic pain, I cannot help but be equally admiring of her husband and his effort to keep the household going – taking up where my child, his wife, is limited (lifting, carrying, bending down, stamina). His love and respectful authority toward his children draws them into house work, chores, school studies with steady grace. No light accomplishment. The ten-year old girl is bright and strong willed and no stranger to voicing her opinions. And, her son is brilliant, yet afflicted with Asperger’s Syndrome. There is no lack of parental challenges.

Their efforts as a family are seen only by relatives and close friends. What they do they do for sanity; for survival. My daughter could decide to fall apart, become clinically depressed, drug addicted or even suicidal. He could become angry, pity himself, start drinking or even desert for another life. Many find these negative responses reasonable/understandable.

However, they choose faith. And, patience. And, love. And, gentleness. I am inspired by them. William Blake said, one can see the whole world in a grain of sand. So, sometimes when the world is a mess, a crazy confusion, a panorama of pain, it is a small, still point that can restore faith.

In them I find this grain of sand, this still point of peace. In their small – and to most of the world, invisible – family I see the beauty of Christ. A theater for the glory of God. Simple, enduring, heroic, patient faith.

I certainly pray for them and for her to improve in health. However, an equally viable prayer is for me to pray that I could become like them. That my life could become such a theater.

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Louis writes from Jacksonville, Florida where he lives with his old friend and wonderful bride, Joy. They transformed their friendship into the sacrament of marriage on August 30, 2012. They share their home with two self-absorbed, playful, twin cats (Flo and Jet) and one very allusive and arrogant cat named D. Louis has recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s and is fighting the good fight. Much of what he writes these days he is sharing his journey with us. Please keep Louis and his wife Joy in your prayers.

CLICK HERE to visit Louis’ Catholic Journeyman Archive

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