Here’s to Pat Welsh: Family and Friends Are First

Working in the yard yesterday, I was thinking about what seemed most important to Pat. I think about all the years I had the good fortune to know him — since college. He was a great human, and a good friend. If you don’t know the situation:  Pat passed away last week after a battle with cancer that lasted more than three years.

While I was in the yard working,  my wife took a picture of our three kids on their newly refreshed bikes, headed down the sidewalk.

Pat and his wife have three kids too; all grown-up, strapping young men they are now.

It crystallized for me as I watching my kids on their bikes,  maybe Pat’s strongest belief: Family Comes First.  Yes indeed, family and friends too are right up there too in his hierarchy of Most Important Things In Life. Nothing was more important to him than his family, and his friends.

I count myself extremely lucky that Pat considered me a friend, even a close friend, in some ways. We didn’t connect too often.  We were both part of a small group of guys from school that got together for a few days every year as a little “mini-reunion.”  Whenever we got together, I always felt an easy comfort and strong bond with him.  In conversations we had over the years during difficult times, that theme provided the basis of what Pat would always come back to.  Family keeps us grounded; friends make the difference for us when we need it most.

The more I consider it, the more sure I am.  The trait that comes to mind over and over again about Pat was his love of family and friends. I came to find out over the years knowing him that this was a common denominator in the Welsh Family overall. The joy and strength found in this simple prioritization gives clarity and grounding to life. It is the cornerstone on which everything else is built.  For sure it was Pat’s cornerstone.  Here’s to Pat Welsh.

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How Great Thou Art

how great thou art_sheet_music_picture

It’s been a helluva year so far in 2018.

I’ve battled some extra personal demons (like many of us), my dad passed away a couple months ago, and a good friend from college succumbed to cancer over the weekend after a heroic three-year battle.

Sitting in church yesterday trying to soak in a little soulful energy, with the kids mulling between me and my wife, I was hoping for an inner boost that that seemed fleeting.  The readings were helpful to a point, the homily somewhat insightful, but it was the final song that gave me the final charge I was looking for.

“How Great Thou Art”.

Interested in the background?  I was, so for a little detail, in case you’re interested, here you go.

Indeed.  God is GOOD.  Amen I say, AMEN.

Breath

Facing adversity?

Getting anxious?

Feeling overwhelmed?

Panic or fear setting in?

Frustration growing, turning to anger, even rage?

Grief and despair washing over you, soaking in?

Breath.

The good WILL return. Give up control. Be patient. Have faith.

BREATH.

An Attitude of Gratitude

(Note: Originally posted typo “Gratitudeo”.)

“What are you thankful for?”, a friend asked. I answered with this: “The list is long, my brother. I start the day with the simple stuff, simple prayer of thanks for my health, food to eat, clothes to wear, a roof over my head, the same for my family, thankful for my wife, for my kids, for the job I have to provide…and on from there.

Each thing really, as often as I can: for hot coffee, that turn signal that changed in my favor, and on and on…you get the idea.”

That all may sound silly, trite, intentionally simple. Maybe. The last characterization is true for sure: being grateful is simple; putting gratitude high up on your priority list is easy. As the old Nike motto goes, “Just do it.”

Here’s another: “Life is short. Pray hard.” Be thankful. GOOD.

The Paschal Mystery

Two weeks on, the inspiration continues.

And she said, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.”

What does it mean?

I come back around to these questions every year, reflecting anew.

It’s not only for a day, or a weekend, not just a holiday. It’s to mark a new beginning, a fresh start, with any luck. It’s a time to reset, on the path forward for a better life each day.

Francis puts it this way (via Twitter, no less!):

“As we contemplate Christ’s empty tomb, let us renew our belief that nothing is lost with Him!” The inspiration is simple, in my view. Simple questions, not to answer outright, but to prompt further contemplation. Throughout the season, throughout the year, asking and acting on simple purpose. To be better, to follow what he taught the world, what he meant for humanity.

How can we make small changes to be a better person?

How did it happen? How does it happen?

What were the core lessons he taught? What happens next?

What can we learn not only from him, but from insights shared about the people around him, his friends, those who followed him.

One word: ALLELUIA.

#EasterSeason #Easter2018 #HeIsRisen #Jesus #halffull