There is a lot I could write about from this past weekend. Notre Dame’s first football win of the season, our Monogram Club Board meetings, meeting up with a teammate I haven’t seen in 15 years… And maybe I will get to all that, but what struck me most about this past weekend was Father Doyle’s homily after the (yes, football) game on Saturday.
Last year the Monogram Club began a post-game mass for our members. It’s a wonderful way to come together - win or lose - to celebrate what we do best at ND: our Faith. Father Paul Doyle is the Athletics Department chaplin, as well as the football chaplain, and joins us 30 minutes after the game ends to celebrate mass. He comes straight to us via the football locker room, and we all enjoy hearing a tidbit or two about what was said or done in the locker room after the game (especially - or maybe only - when we win).
This past Saturday, Father Doyle shared with us his regular anecdote, which I do not remember as much as I remember his homily: the 11th Commandment: Thou shall not compare.
Thou Shall Not Compare. For when we compare, we are not being grateful for God’s blessings. When we compare, we are not pure of heart, nor filled with gratitude. Comparing ourselves to those with less, only leads to a false sense of greatness; and comparing ourselves to those with more, leaves us feeling unfulfilled. Neither are what God intends for us; neither allow us to come fully to God with a grateful heart.
We all compare, everyday. But perhaps Father Doyle’s homily will, as it does for me, stick with you as a reminder not to.
I am sure I am not alone in thinking, I can’t believe it has been ten years.
As with many others, I have spent this week reliving that day, where I was when I heard and who I was with - and who I talked to. Today, my thoughts are with one particular friend who lost her fiance that day. I know these past ten years have been a journey for her, and I would imagine today will be filled with many emotions.
I read a question this morning that I have reflected upon: Should Americans go on with our lives today or spend the day in reflection? (I think this was in reference to the NFL opening their season today…)
My personal thought was immediate: go on with our lives (my friend’s finance was a huge sports fan!) But what I think we should do is allow for both.
Many will spend today in reflection. I know this, because often times anniversaries have been a time of reflection for me as well. And I will admit, it was hard to see others’ lives go on, when mine was at a stand-still in a mode of healing. I remember my mom wanting to say to a friend as she left the hospital after a visit, “How can you just leave and go on with your life?” Because ours was hour-to-hour, and so far from normal. I would imagine there are many family members and friends who lost loved ones on 9/11 who feel this way as well: how can we go on?
But we have to. The saying that “time heals” is true because others’ lives have gone on. If everyone’s lives - and time - stood still in a time of healing, then those of us in healing mode would have nothing to go back to when we were ready. We need others’ normalcy so that we can strive to get back there. But none of this is easy. Today and all days, I pray for peace and healing for those in need.
All week I have been thinking about 9/11 and words were swirling around my head. A few days ago I sat down to write, and this is what flowed out:
Where were you when the world changed? When so many lives were rearranged.
When ashes drifted with silent stares, and heroes emerged above rubble in layers.
When phones stayed silent and the call did not come.
When the images replayed, left the country numb.
Where were you when the towers fell? When so many lives became a living hell.
When anger united us strong in our pride.
When tears and emotions we could no longer hide.
When a newborn baby gave hope to our grief, and hugs from our children provided relief.
Where were you on that fateful day? When so many knelt to solemnly pray.
When strangers embraced without guilt or shame, and no one retreated from saying God’s name.
When the American flag from every home did sway.
Forever in our hearts: God Bless the U.S.A.
Last night I was officially presented with the Harvey G. Foster Award from the Notre Dame Alumni Association. The award will be re-presented to me during halftime of the Notre Dame - USF football game.
Earlier today, I was a guest speaker at the Football Luncheon.
It’s been quite a weekend and the game hasn’t even started yet!
But this is what I love sharing about my story; this is who Notre Dame is - and what so many do not know about Notre Dame. It’s not just about the football.
It’s about family. It’s about celebrating faith and triumphs. It’s about uniting in prayer and in deed to help those in need. It’s about community. It’s about the people.
When asked about the Notre Dame mystique, Coach Lou Holtz has replied, “If you’ve been there, no explanation is necessary. If you haven’t, none is adequate.” That is so true. It is not something you can explain in words; it must be felt.
A good friend and colleague of mine (a wise gentleman - and he is a true gentleman in every sense of the word) recently said to me, “Haley, when people ask me to explain the Notre Dame Family, I give them your book.” It is one of my favorite compliments.
And that is the gift I am honored to share. That is what I strive to do each day, with each talk I give and with each person who reaches out to me in need, for hope and to be inspired.
It’s about Faith. It’s about the people. It’s about helping others. And I will do my best to honor the Harvey G. Foster award by continuing to do what I do.