"I'm what the world considers to be a phenomenally successful man. And I've failed much more than I've succeeded. And each time I fail, I get my people together, and I say, "Where are we going?" And it starts to get better." - Calvin Trager
It's Wednesday night, and I'm back in my old room at my parents' house in Tucson. This has been my room as long as I can remember ... my family moved into this house when I was 20 months old. Only tomorrow morning, the movers arrive and move them across town into their new, smaller, abode.
It's been a year of a lot of change. New house and new job in St. Louis being the big two. Both good changes ... as is this one for my parents.
But it's weird. Places are important. On New Years' Eve, I was packing up all my stuff from Rockwell House and trying to squeeze it all into the Hyundai and I had to do a final walk-through to make sure I hadn't forgotten anything (which, of course, I had). And everywhere I looked, there was a memory. A conversation. A Eucharist. A time just spent hanging out by the fire. A goodbye. A hello.
And it was sad ... but it was more than that. It was holy. I think that's what holiness is ... it's the process of something being made sacred by the life that is lived and shared there.
That's kind of how I feel as I walk around this house, and especially as I sit in this room. This room looks nothing like it did when I was a kid (probably a good thing, too), but I know what happened in here. All the games I played with my brother. All the times I fell asleep listening to Vin Scully broadcast Dodger games. The time I came home from school senior year and there was the letter lying on my bed saying I'd gotten a scholarship to Missouri. The nights I slept well and the nights I lay awake. Even as I sit here, a different memory just jumps out every time I blink an eye.
I've probably spent more time in this one room than in any single place in my life. And I have to admit that I'm in pretty deep denial that this is my last night here, and that in a few days someone else will call this their room for the first time in more than 35 years.
I know what I'm supposed to say here. I'm supposed to say that all that makes this place sacred really isn't here ... it's inside me. It's all the stuff that happened, and who it made me and who it made us as a family.
I know that's the right thing to say. And I also know it's true.
But that's not what I'm feeling right now. I'm 37 years old. I have a wife, two kids, a dog and a mortgage. But a part of me is still that kid in this room. I think it's because I didn't move around as a kid -- that I put down roots here in this place, and somehow being able always to return here kept a little of that alive.
And there's a way that tomorrow, I will leave that kid behind.
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"Christ's example is being
demeaned by the church if they ignore the new leprosy,
which is AIDS. The church is the sleeping giant here.
If it wakes up to what's really going on in the rest
of the world, it has a real role to play. If it doesn't,
it will be irrelevant."