Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Occupy Catholicism

Had a wonderful visit from an old friend today.Actually it was half a visit as John's wife was not along for the ride. Fred and I first met John and Lisa years ago while we lived in Vermont. We were on a retreat together and saw this younger couple who kind of snuck around and whispered to each other a whole lot. They stuck out for this in our minds, since-clearly- we were the only couple that were supposed to be sneaking around and whispering to one another. They seemed to have the same 'type' of marriage Fred and I had, only they wore hipper clothing. In fact there clothes were on the crunchy side. Looking back I can see the OCCUPY movement took their early cues from John and Lisa. It wasn't long before we struck up a conversation with them and found they could possibly be even more radical then we were in our world view.Early conversations were more like critical interviews where we sized each other up and made mental checklists on invisible report cards. Amazingly we had all the same responses. A match made in heaven. The four of us all seemed to realize pretty quickly too that we were about one decade separated from each other in life in all things. This had its advantages for both sides. It helped keep Fred and I cognizant of where we'd been, and gave John and Lisa someone to view as proof that they could survive for at least another ten years. Since we literally live a half a country away from each other- we don't get to spend much time together as we go through the thick part of life and so facebook has been a technological gift in that way.
Gotta tell you that John has a simply amazing story of how he came into the church. I could never do it justice here. Let me see if I can sum him up for you succinctly without exaggerating or embellishing too much. John is like the Jason Borne of the Catholic Church. He has the feel of a prophet when he speaks. He is currently living as a FOCUS missionary while raising 5 children. And ( not surprisingly) he is doing it well. He introduces college students to Jesus and keeps the presence alive at a critical time in their life. Trying to reach college students on a spiritual level is not exactly what I would call easy work and yet John is fully alive in that element. He also travels around the country giving witness talks on his conversion. Tonight Fred and I asked him to come back over and give a freebie talk to our teenage boys. It was impressive.
Lisa on the other hand is the string to this helium balloon.She is always holding fast to John to keep one of his feet firmly attached to the earth while he goes traipsing off to claim more room on this earth for heaven. She just had their fifth little baby Lucy and is homeschooling her brood like a champ. I don't think I ever 'just' see or visit with John. I always encounter him as a force in my life. A way to check my own gauges and how my own spiritual journey is going. He is a trustworthy person, and so very real.
How many people can you really say that about? What a gift.

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