Category Archives: Daily Life


Self awareness is good. I must pay attention to my body, my thoughts and my soul. I must know myself and know how I may be affecting myself and those around me for better or for worse.

Self care is good. My body, my mind and my soul are gifts given to me. I must take good care of these gifts and not neglect them or abuse them.

Self control is good. I am responsible for managing my emotions and for choosing my thoughts and my actions. No one else can do this for me.

Self-centeredness is not good. I am not the center of all things; God is. My life must revolve around God. God is love. Love includes self, but love is not centered on self. Love must ultimately be centered on others.

Facebook And The Refrigerator

Yesterday I was on a men’s retreat at my parish.  During lunch break one of the guys was looking at his phone and scrolling away.  I asked him if he was looking at Facebook.  “Yeah,” he said, “just killing some time.”  I nodded my head.  Then he said, “Facebook is kind of like standing in front of the refrigerator.  You open it up and scan through it to see if anything looks good.”  I laughed in agreement.

His comment reminded me of a talk I once heard from a priest who was teaching a class on Catholicism.  The priest was introducing the idea that all of us have a built in longing for God, but we seek things other than God to appease that longing.  He quoted St. Augustine as saying that “our hearts are restless, oh God, until they rest in you.”  Then, he shared his own experience of something that is familiar to most of us.  It is the tendency to open the refrigerator door and stand there looking for something, even when we’re not really hungry.

I think it was G.K. Chesterton who said, “Every man who ever knocked on the door of a brothel was looking for God, but he just didn’t realize it.”  Whether it is the brothel door, the refrigerator door, the pantry door, the log in page of Facebook or any number of endeavors, we all look for something besides God to appease our longing for God.  Actually, it’s not something but someone we are seeking.  It is a longing that can only be satisfied by a relationship with God, for only God can provide the pure, unconditional love that we crave.  If we seek that relationship in anything or anyone other than God, we will eventually find ourselves unfulfilled, frustrated or disappointed.  We may even find ourselves addicted, constantly returning to that which can never fully satisfy, and that which ultimately leaves us empty and restless.

Close the refrigerator door.  You’re letting all the cold air out.

Rebel Without A Cause And Fatherhood

Last night I was channel surfing and trying to dodge commercials by flipping between shows.  It usually doesn’t work very well since every station knows to play commercials at exactly the same time.  (It’s a maddening conspiracy, I’m sure of it).  Then, I came across Rebel Without A Cause on PBS.  It was right at the opening credits.  Although I had already seen the movie piecemeal over the years, I couldn’t recall ever watching it all the way through from start to finish.  Here it was commercial free and I didn’t have to rent it.  If not now, when?

It’s hard for me to watch Rebel without thinking of Mr. Magoo and Gilligan’s Island thanks to the pop culture contributions of Mr. Jim Backus.  Nevertheless, it is a good, classic flick.  James Dean never loses his coolness factor in the passing of time.  It sure paints a stark contrast to the Happy Days portrayal of the 1950s.  Between Happy Days, American Graffiti, Rebel Without A Cause, and Grease, it’s not easy to discern what the 50s were actually like.  (I’m a child of the 60s and 70s, although I really like a lot of 50’s music).  In any case, being an adolescent can be tough no matter what era one lives in.  As Judy’s mom said, “It’s the age when nothing fits.”

No doubt Rebel Without A Cause has been analyzed into the ground over the years, but it gave me my own impressions.  The biggest thought it left me with is the importance of fathers.  Fathers are important to the formation of daughters and sons.  It’s just part of how we are designed.  Mothers are important, too.  Since I am the father of a son and a daughter, the movie spoke to me mostly about that.

I don’t have statistics to present here.  But I believe it has been well established how important fathers are to families.  The first step is for fathers to actually stick around and not abandon their families.  Plato’s father did not stick around (nor did his mother).  The fathers of Judy and Jim were present, but unbalanced in their approach to fatherhood.  Judy’s father was strong, but was at a loss when his daughter needed his tenderness.  Jim’s father was tender but lacked strength and decisiveness.

The movie reminded me that my family needs my presence (physical and emotional), my strength and my tenderness.  Jesus and his family are models of presence, strength and tenderness.  The Holy Trinity is a model of presence, strength and tenderness.

My daughter and my son need their father in similar yet different ways.  Every day I have to resolve to step up to the plate and give it my best shot with the help of God’s grace.  Even as I write this, my kids are beckoning me to play a game with them.  Time to step up!

*Warning* This Post Is Rated PG-13! (Contains bathroom and Spiderman references, but not too many)

This morning I was sitting in the bathroom minding my own business, so to speak, and all was quiet and serene.  (TMI? Hey, I need to create the proper effect here.)  Anyway, the calming silence was broken by an unsettling “plopping” sound in front of me on the somewhat dark, earth toned, vinyl tiled floor.  (Not the location where one would expect such a sound to emanate from in that context, so you can imagine my surprise.)

The intricate thought process I am about to convey was completed in less than a second, thanks to the marvelous capacity of the human brain.  “What the heck was that?  Water?  Is there a leak?  Couldn’t be a leak, there’s no pipe up there.  It hasn’t rained, either, and besides, I’m on the lower level.  What on earth…?”  After that brief second, I noticed that part of the dark, earth toned, vinyl floor was moving.  Water does not move that way on a flat surface.  In a nanosecond my eyes finally focused on a rather large centipede making its way towards me from about two and a half feet away.  When a bug hits the floor with a loud “plop,” you know it has substantial mass.

Now, being a boy who grew up in the woods, I’m generally not freaked out by bugs and such.  There are those rare occasions when a particularly large spider or snake suddenly appears in very close proximity that my natural fight-or-flight survival instincts kick in and I reflexively react with some odd noises and/or body spasms.  But usually, I’m cool.

This time I was cool, although I did feel a sense of urgency beginning to come upon me because those darn centipedes are fast.  There was no way I was going to let this one live to ambush me another day.  Who knew, maybe the next time it dropped from the ceiling it would be a direct hit to the top of my head.  Then there would really be some odd noises and body spasms.  I could not allow that to happen, especially in the bathroom where one is most…well…vulnerable.

So, as it made its way towards me, I stood up and my brain began another thought process at warp speed.  I looked around for my weapon of choice.  Toilet paper?  No.  This one was too big for toilet paper.  Might chew through it and sink its little teeth into my finger.  Step on it?  No, too messy.  I have three year old twins.  Didn’t need more mess to clean up.  Suddenly, my eyes fixed on the used washcloth that was draped over the edge of the sink.  Eureka!  It was thick enough to protect me from the beast and already in need of a washing.  I grabbed that washcloth and began stalking.  The hunted had become the hunter.  I thought I could hear ominous music playing in the background.

I monitored its movement around the base of the toilet and waited for the right moment to strike.  I congratulated myself on the calking job I had done around the baseboards, the toilet and the sink when I remodeled the bathroom.  There were few crevices it could seek refuge in.  Now, I’m usually a slow moving, easy going kind of person.  That’s because I save up all my speed and energy for important moments like this one.  In one, swift motion I lunged, scooped and threw that monster into the toilet…along with the washcloth.  Oh well, like I said, it needed to be washed anyway.

When the monster and the washcloth parted ways I rescued the cloth and flushed the bug.  Then I waited and flushed again.  No way was that thing going to swim back up and get on my six o’clock.  I flushed a third time.  Third time’s a charm.  By then it was probably sitting on a piece of debris, floating out to sea and kicking itself for trying to play Spiderman on the ceiling.  I’ll bet that centipede kicked itself at least a hundred times.

As for me it was back to business as usual with the sounds of silence to accompany me.  I looked up at the light fixture on the ceiling and remembered the old fighter pilot adage, “Beware of the Hun in the sun!”  Then I heard someone calling, “Daddy!  Where are you?”