Yesterday I was presented the “Virtues of St. Paul: Most Inspiring Story” Award as part of the Induction ceremony to the Sports Faith International Hall of Fame. The ceremony took place at Halas Hall at the Chicago Bears Headquarters. As a football fan, just being there was very cool: the history, trophies and mass inside an NFL auditorium. But really the best part of the day was two-fold and more personal: meeting the people involved with Sports Faith International and meeting up with a dear (I try not to say “old”) friend.
Sports Faith International promotes just what its name states: Faith in Sports. I love this. Especially because my experience as a swimmer led me to Xavier, to Notre Dame and ultimately to strengthening my community of faith, as I did yesterday when I met fellow inductees: Bill Bidwell (owner of the AZ Cardinals) and John Gagliardi (the “winning-est” coach in college football with nearly 500 wins). Both of these men have been successful in sport while never compromising their faith.
I also spent the afternoon with a teammate from Notre Dame; a friend who I may only see once a year, but with whom it takes less than a minute to catch up…and then a day is too short. What an honor to be recognized for Sharing the Inspiration and even better to share the honor with a dear friend. It as a great day of Faith and Friendship - old and new.
I love Fridays during Lent. Not necessarily because I love fish (as Catholics avoid eating meat on Fridays during Lent), but because I am reminded each Friday that we are in a time of preparation. During the rest of the year Sundays are a day of reflection; but during Lent, Fridays are too.
On the first Friday of Lent I am usually still thinking about the Ash Wednesday readings: some of my favorite of the liturgical year. From the Gospel of Matthew:
“But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be in secret and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” Matthew 6: 3-4
Not many of us speak of or use alms, but I love what the idea of alms and this reading represent: Do what you do for your service to God and others. Not to be thanked; not for others to know what you are doing; not for any other acknowledgement or reward than to know you are doing God’s good works and will.
That is the true meaning of Lent. That is what we should be doing when instead most of us have given something up. Perhaps we should give up seeking praise and appreciation instead of dessert (which is what I give up every year, including this one).
Happy Lent! Happy Friday!
When I was in elementary school in Phoenix, Arizona, we did not have snow days. However, one morning our school called to tell us that the main road to the school had flooded and that there would be no school that day. I will never forget crawling into my parents’ warm waterbed on that cold rainy morning to snuggle with my mom. I can’t remember what we did that day, but I remember the feelings of excitement and comfort of staying at home with my family. It was the closest we would get to having a snow day.
Fast forward 30 years to Maryland with my own children in elementary school and we are living through the snowiest winter on record. Last totals listed almost 80 inches of snow for the season…Almost 50 inches falling over the past six days, and on none of those days have we had school. It is not a snow day, it’s our snow week. And I wonder what my children will remember from this week? Sledding? Having to stay inside? Pancakes every morning? Movie night every night? Actually, I would be fine if their memory fades as mine has, and if all they remember are the excitement and comfort of staying at home as a family.
This has been a good reminder and lesson for me to recall: it is not so much the details of our lives, but the feelings with which we live.
This past weekend we had an unexpected visitor: Mr. Stephen, one of the Midshipman we sponsored as a Plebe (during his freshman year at the Naval Academy), came to visit. He spent four years at our house (and some summers), and has since graduated, gotten married and will become a father this spring. My boys have not seen him since he graduated - and they were thrilled.
That night, as we were sitting around our kitchen table: my husband, myself, Mr. Stephen and Mr. Sam (one of our current Mids, who will be commissioned an officer this May…aka: graduate) I realized how lucky I am to have these two young men in our lives, and I noted how much our friendships and relationships have changed.
We met both Mr. Stephen and Mr. Sam as 17 year olds just entering the Naval Academy. During their Plebe (freshman) year, they mostly slept on our couch, raved about my food (love them!) and played board games or Wii with our boys. I was thrilled to be their “Sponsor Mom;” it was an honor to serve them as they prepared to serve our country.
But something evolved over their four years at the Naval Academy - and I noticed it sitting at our kitchen table last weekend. We became friends and I enjoy their friendship and presence in our lives. They still play Wii with the boys, but they are adults with whom I know we will always be in touch.
We are often thanked for being a sponsor family. But it is true: in giving, we have recieved the teasured blessing of true friendship.