Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I Dreamed of Her

I dreamed a dream once. I dreamed of a life with a rustic home in the mountains on a spread big enough to raise horses. A place where kids could be kids. Space to learn how to sit ahorse as easily as breathing. A setting to learn to shoot a gun, to skin an elk, to swing an axe. A place to appreciate the beauty of the setting sun resting on a meandering river...a place to grow to be a man.

But I also dreamed another dream. I dreamed of her. I dreamed of that one woman I would share my life with. The one I would laugh with, cry with, fight with, make up with. I dreamed of a best friend who would share a life of wonder and awe. She would stretch me in ways I didn't imagine. She would keep me grounded when I aspired to nonsense yet push me to soar straight on 'til morning. I dreamed of her whom I did not know, yet I knew her a lifetime the day I met her.

Today we celebrate her birthday, and, as I said that day 20 years ago, I thank God for her. I thank God He filled my dreams of her--not of the dream I dreamed, but the dream He dreamed for me...for us. The dream in which we were meant to live together. And should another lifetime come and go, I would still dream that dream of her.

I still dream of you. Happy birthday!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Two Men, One Brother

My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard.  Mother would come out and say, "You're tearing up the grass."  
"We're not raising grass," Dad would reply.  "We're raising boys."  
Harmon Killebrew

A brother shares childhood memories and grown-up dreams.   - Author Unknown

When brothers agree, no fortress is so strong as their common life.   - Antisthenes

There's no other love like the love for a brother.  
There's no other love like the love from a brother.   -Terri Guillemets

It takes two men to make one brother.   - Israel Zangwill

Sometimes being a brother is even better than being a superhero.   - Marc Brown

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Kids Pray the Darndest Things

The other day while on recess duty, a little guy tells me a classmate "peed on the jungle gym." I walked over through the gravel, and, sure enough, the boy decorated a panel under the jungle gym. Of course, he had no idea why he did it. After giving him the "what for" I had him sit the rest of recess, and then I took him to my office.

This was his third trip already. The first two for saying words the meaning of which he had no idea. Not a good batting average. After a short discussion, I sat in my chair with my elbows on my knees and I asked him from across my desk, "Kiddo, what are we going to do?"


Finally, "Mr. Kerjanec, can I pway?"

"I'd love to pray with you."

More silence. Then..."In name Father, Son, Hoey Spirt, Amen." And then in one breath I listened to the most honest and inspiring prayer I've heard in awhile.

"God is good, God is great and help me not to pee on things on the playground and say bad words. Amen."

Monday, September 5, 2011

Team Skerjanec Top Ten

From time to time something is said or done that brings a chuckle in our household, so I've decided to start keeping track of them, and hope you enjoy them as well.

Cana Twist
A few weeks back our new, young parochial vicar gave a homily on the gospel reading about the wedding feast at Cana. He discussed Jesus' answer to Mary's request to produce more wine. Jesus' response was, "Woman, it is not yet my time." Fr. Dave used an example for the young of the parish of what NOT to do. He said if your parents ask you to do something, this is not a good response. The boys were all serving, so just my wife and I were in the pew with Grandma and Grandpa. We both leaned toward each other and took bets which lad would use it first on their mother.

That morning at breakfast, Grandma asked boy number-two why he never folds his hands with his palms together and fingers pointing toward heaven when he serves Mass. She said, "Show me how it would look if you did."

His response? You guessed it, "Woman, it is not yet my time."

Is it Bigger than a Bread Box?
So we're traveling miserably slow on a trip down the interstate (as described in another blog entry), and we begin to play "Twenty Questions." Finally, boy number-three gets the giggles. He says with enthusiasm, "Okay, I've got one. It's a thing."

One question we always seem to ask when playing this game: "Is it bigger/smaller than a bread box?" When the question came up, he responded that it could be.

Twenty questions later we gave up.

An almost inaudible response behind more laughter, "It's a bread box!"

The Joy of the Journey

My family and I decided to take a quick day-trip to my sister's to spend time with the auntie and catch up on some shopping. The two-hour trek in our eight-year-old van was a bit sketchy since we have had some mechanical issues, but our mechanic assured me it would make the trip.

Unfortunately, once we arrived, we realized the automatic transmission would not shift, so the rpms exceeded the comfort zone. The bigger question was getting home that evening - no shop would be open on a Sunday, let alone a long holiday weekend. Long story short, we decided to put our trust in God, said a prayer to Him through the intercession of St. Christopher and St. Raphael, and headed down the interstate with our flashers on. (Nothing more frustrating than driving 78 miles-per-hour at night and coming upon a vehicle driving dangerously slow.)

Normally, a trip like this entails our four boys (mostly teenagers) listening to their iPods, reading a book, or, of course, sleeping. My wife and I will visit for awhile, and then she eventually dozes off with one hear open - in case I get sleepy.

A trip such as this, as it is for many people, is an opportunity to shut down. We as a culture have formed a habit of being in such a hurry that the destination is the focus, and the quickest possible way without distraction is the norm. We have forgotten how to enjoy the journey. I am reminded of the animated film Cars in which the joy of the trip is triumphant over the speed in which to reach a destination.

At any rate, the idea of this particular trip was met with opposition and an occasional whine (I am reminded of the phrase, "Are we there yet," though this time spoken in Teenese.) After miles and excessive minutes passed, they grew tired of the iPod, the eyes became fatigued with reading, and the naps no longer endured. Normally boredom evolves. But this time it was different. Dare I say...a miracle occurred.

It started with my oldest saying, "I'm thinking of a place. You have twenty questions." First it was just my wife asking the questions. I chimed in some (not my favorite game), then boy number-two, then boy number-four. Number-three held out the longest with a nap but eventually joined in.

The next hour-and-a-half seemed to fly by as we put everything aside and played "family." The climax of the trip came with our version of karaoke. My wife has a beautiful singing voice and her enthusiasm for music had been genetically transferred. The van was filled with the music of family as they joined Straight No Chaser, Harry, and Aida. (The boys are going to kill me for sharing that one.)

I just smiled, listened, and thanked God that sometimes we get it right.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Archbishop the Apostle

My priest, our business manager, and I with two members of our parish trekked to Denver, for we were afforded the opportunity to present the state of our school to the powers that be at the archdiocese--including to the Archbishop. Before the meeting as we were making introductions, I knelt down to shake the hand of Archbishop Chaput. 

I met him before a couple of times, but neither time did I kneel. Perhaps I didn't feel comfortable. Perhaps I didn't have the courage. Perhaps, this time, the Holy Spirit granted me the necessary fortitude and humility. How many times has the Lord told us to be not afraid. This time I am glad I wasn't--I experienced a epiphany. As I looked up into his strong, compassionate eyes, I truly saw an apostle of Jesus. For the first time, I saw myself as his humble soldier of Christ.

For the rest of the day I was profoundly touched with this illumination. The experience was no different than had I met St. John or St. Matthew. The fact that I am reading his book, Render Unto Caesar, may have something to do with it as well or that my oldest is discerning the priesthood. (He met him a few times this past winter and a few years back in Australia during World Youth Day.) Whatever the case, I truly realize he is a successor to the apostles, and I am deeply humbled. At once the meaning of my responsibility as his Catholic school principal came to fruition. I am his simple disciple.