Things that happened yesterday:
The Pope died.My thoughts went many places. I thought about my Catholic friends and relatives, who rejoice and mourn for their spiritual leader in a way that I don't understand but can share in empathy and respect. I thought about Annie Dillard, who became a Catholic because she loved the rich assortment of humanity in the Church, quite unlike her childhood church. I wondered if the Pope ever wanted to have a regular life, with a job and wife and kids. I also rejoiced in my faith, which does not ask me to judge others and spreads its arms wide to the mystery.
My father turned 80 years old. This is my prayer, that my love will accompany him always.
We took the kids to Edmonds to meet Rick Steves, the travel guru. He looks taller in person. His speech was about the benefits of travel, and he contrasted travel with vacations that focus on hedonism. Travel is getting to know different cultures. When he was 14, his parents took him to Norway, where he saw foreign parents adoring their children, and realized that all over the world, parents loved their children just as much as his parents loved him. This anecdote illustrated his larger point, which was our need, as wealthy citizens of the first world, to care about God's children everywhere, especially those "too tired to even swat the flies away." Our son is a great fan of Rick Steve's. Our daughter calls him Rick Syrup.
I finished reading "Gilead" by Marilynne Robinson. It's a book about fathers and sons, and it's lovely and luminous and full of grace. There is a balm in Gilead. This is one of those books that could change your life.