I have a confession to make. I don't often pay attention to the beatification of venerables. It isn't that I am actively unconcerned with the process, but more that it just isn't on my radar. The lone exception to this is JPII. I mean, I named my son after him (...not Karol, but JPIII). I spent more than a few minutes praying that I would get into the Church before he died. I read a mountain of his writings, and still failed to scratch the surface. And I don't mind admitting that when he died, I shed a few tears over a Trappist ale and a good cigar in honor of a life well lived. So, I take a bit more of an interest in his eternal status than I do for most.
But the norm is that I hear about this kind of thing after the fact.
The truth is, I don't know why Chiara Badano initially caught my attention or how I came across her. It may have been while chasing rabbits on the internet late one night a few weeks ago. But since I found out about her, she has impressed me. She seems a natural fit for sainthood.
The basics of her life are alot like Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati. Where he died at 24, she passed in 1990 at 19. Both of them were Italian. They were both active, outdoorsy types. Both were members of lay associations, Frassati, a Dominican tertiary and Badano a member of the Focolare movement. Both died of horrific illnesses.
They seem intimately connected in their charism. I expect that as a Blessed, Chiara Badano will be warmly embraced as Pier Giorgio has been.
Focus... For the past 16 months my focus has been primarily on professional development. I've been gaining skills, increasing knowledge and developing as a leader (I hope). Now I am out of school, adjusting to a new set of goals. But my attention is more divided than it has been for over a year.
School is still in the periphery, a project that is ongoing yet marginalized for now. Family is taking up a larger role. Jack is getting older, and I have quite a bit that I want to teach him. I want to get into shape, and bit by bit I am getting there. I want to become competent at guitar and a hundred other things.
I have this theory that you can only focus on three things in your life. No more, sometimes less. Right now I am doing myself and plenty of others by focusing on far too much. Its a habit, but it also points to a serious lack of discipline. How does someone develop discipline? Is it possible at 30? I'm sure it is. I think it starts with focusing on a very few things until they become invisible. Repeating with dogged determination the same repetitive tasks and holding to the same ideas and ideals day after day. Discipline seems to come with stability and consistency. But stability and consistency come with discipline. To strike the balance, you can bet that there is a period where you have to fake it to make it. A long period. This i when there is the metaphorical fingernail marks in the floor.
So I need to focus. I need to focus on the next step of my career, one which is initiated by passing one more test. I just need to get there.
I need to focus on family, maybe one task a day, whether anyone ever notices or not.
I need to focus on my health, because fitness of the body is the first wealth we can possess.
And I need to wait to focus on other things until the day that I don't need to focus intently on my health or on making it to the net level in my career.
Three things, and I would be better off with fewer.
Roots, we all have them. If you look, you can see mine. I was raised on Nintendo, The Facts of Life and Zebra Cakes. It's amazing that I don't have diabetes.
That is where I come from and it shows. I wonder about nostalgia. Is every generation like this? Do my grandparents quote Ozzie and Harriet to each other? My generation--and by that, I mean, at the very least, those born in mid-August, 1979--is very nostalgic for the days gone by. Anything prior to Kurt Cobain killing himself is fair game. That is the point when my childhood jumped the shark. It wasn't the event, but the timing of it, I was 12 and life changes for everyone during the teenage years, but I wonder if everyone has an event in their childhood that they can point to, even if it isn't the exact moment that their world changed, but something that they can point to and say, "This is when I moved from childhood to adolescence".
I am coming to terms, slowly, with the fact that everyone grows up. My baby sister, born just after my childhood jumped the shark, just graduated from high school. My son has gone from being the size of a football to walking, talking and making jokes while exclaiming "FUNNY!!!" and has done so in just 2 years. Someday he will be my age and in 28 years, I will be older than my father is today. That last part, oddly enough, along with the random grey hairs already starting to show, does not bother me as much as any of the rest of it. I want my baby sister to stay 4 years old and smiling at me from the carousel. I want my son to stay small enough that I can hold him in my hand. I am nostalgic. Soon I will long for today as well, when I played with my son on his rocking horse.
A few weeks ago, journalist Katherine Lewis contacted me regarding a piece she was working on. The story was going to be about the Modern Dad (in whose ranks I suppose I fall). As I'll talk to any reporter who asks (coming up: I'm quoted in a Weekly World News piece about the Modern Bat Boy Dad), I spent some time on the phone with her. We had a nice talk; I spoke my mind, and eagerly anticipated reading her story.