December 28, 2008
Listen to Life:  Finding A Way To Come Together During The Holidays
 "Just like John," my friend said, "trying to find a way to bring people together."  Standing in the group conversation were two of my high school buddies, and two from my elementary school era--one  I have known since first grade and another since third grade.  The commonalities among the five of us are many, the greatest being the bonds we created during the high school years at Strake Jesuit in Houston, and the most poignant being that we gathered yesterday to honor John and our friendships with him.  Our friend John died last Sunday.  He was 52.
The holidays remind us of the value and importance of coming together with friends and family, and this time of year also fuels a multitude of stresses and jokes about the issues of those gatherings.  The holidays are not for the weak, nor are funerals; coming together to share honest friendships, stories and connections, however, creates strength.  In the case of John and his family, including a young grandchild, coming together provided strength to them, and to those of us who attended.  He would have wanted it that way.  There were also a multitude of messages for those who were willing to pay attention, too; he would have liked that, as well.
During his funeral Mass, the priest provided a short homily that required special attention because English was his second language and required careful listening.  The extra attention served attendees well as he conveyed that there is no past nor future when it comes to living our lives, that we must celebrate the present and the present is only the moment we are in, and that by celebrating each moment we open the door to eternity and salvation.  He had a lot of content in a small time space; John would have liked that, too. During the course of the day, all of us were reminded of mortality and of "the moment." We were also reminded of strong personal bonds, and we laughed.  A lot.
I think we honored John and the messages of the weekend:  come together as friends (don't wait for the holidays or a funeral, or both, as an excuse), celebrate each moment while you're in it, honor friendships and laugh hard, and find important lessons wherever and whenever you can.  Those would be great ways to honor all those we love, and not just at their funerals.
Beginning on Christmas Eve, I began a weekly Christian-based newsletter titled "Faith's (im)Perfect Journey."  I hope that in sharing these thoughts your faith journey will also be enhanced.  I will not assume that all Listen to Life subscribers want this newsletter, too.  To subscribe, send an e-mail to dion@dionmcinnis.com with the word FAITH in the subject line.  Previous issues can be found at my newsletter archive link below.

A free newsletter about learning and getting more from life by paying attention to our own stories and the stories of others, based on the presentations, writings, photography and workshops by Dion McInnis (www.dionmcinnis.com).  Copyright 2008 Dion McInnis.  All rights reserved.

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