Last weekend was the most wrenching I’ve experienced in a long time. Blame it on a somber film about concealed sexual predation. And a day spent immersed in the cadences of a thousand men praying.
It began with Spotlight, the Oscar-winning film about the sexual abuse scandal that has defined the Catholic Church in the eyes of so many since the Boston Globe report in 2002.
Minutes into the movie, I set my popcorn aside and sat in the dark cinema feeling shamed yet again by this never-ending story.
All I could think of was those pained and ruined boys and girls—some gone from us by suicide—who in their hearts are singing the well-known lines from Somewhere Over the Rainbow:
Someday I'll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far behind me.
Where troubles melt like lemon drops,
High above the chimney tops,
That's where you'll find me.
During the weekend, however, I also attended an all-day conference for Catholic men in Worcester, Massachusetts. Similar events are held for women, but at this one were more than 1,000 men of every age—many with teenaged sons in tow. No revival tent antics, but a day spent in prayerful reflection on topics ranging from spirituality to fatherhood.
I came away feeling heartened and hopeful to see so many ordinary “guys” fiercely intent on renewing their faith personally and restoring it institutionally.
These energized men encouraged me to think that perhaps the darkness that has enveloped my church might be giving way to the promise of light.
Can men like these end our recurring nightmare?
Who’s to say?
After all, it was in total darkness that the God of Genesis commanded, “Let there be light!”
He chose not to destroy darkness. He made it give way to the light.
As C.S. Lewis noted, “You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you.”
I found the truth of this right in my family.
Mine is an extended family of ethnicities and faiths … Yaremko’s, Caruso’s, Debany's, Selikowitz’s, LoGiudice’s, Sicoli’s, Kazanchi’s, Thyne’s, Schmitt’s.
We’ve suffered a number of deaths in recent years, most recently that of my wife three months ago. A curtain of darkness certainly has descended upon us.
But here, too, darkness is yielding to light.
Emily, the youngest mother in our family, gave birth two years ago to handsome Joseph.
And two weeks ago, she brought shiny new Kayla into our world.
Oddly, our society makes more of a fuss about death than we do about birth—about the end of life rather than its beginning. We seem to think about people only when they die.
There's a saying attributed to the Cherokee Nation: “When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life in such a way that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice.”
(“Light” image by Lauralai; “Joseph” and “Kayla” by Emily and Carl LoGiudice)
Read my newest book, Fat Guy in a Fat Boat, in print or Kindle from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Fat-Guy-Boat-Peter-Yaremko/dp/0990905012/
Also available is my e-book, A Light from Within, about the small moments of our lives that seem commonplace until they are examined under a creative lens.
- Amazon (Kindle): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00R3SF200
- iBooks (iPad): https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/a-light-from-within/id950880424?mt=11
- Barnes & Noble (Nook): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-light-from-within-peter-w-yaremko/1120862902?ean=9780990905004
And my weekly reflection on each Sunday of the Jubilee Year of Mercy can be found at: http://www.peterwyaremko.com/mercy