Luke 12:13-21Â – The 11th Sunday of Ordinary Time â€“ for Sunday, August 4, 2013
â€œFor one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.” (Luke 12:15)
My wife asked, â€œWhereâ€™d you get those scratches?â€ She fingered a nick on my elbow and pointed to a curved red slash on my leg.
â€œI got it from the dog when we were playing a couple of hours ago.â€
Our dog Hannah has raggedy claws and can be energetic. Three cats own us and one, Moses, treats my flesh like a pincushion. While biking, an errant branch might slap my cheek. I cook with sharp objects and boiling liquids. However, sometimes Iâ€™m clueless about what caused an â€œowie.â€ And while some wounds are easily seen, others are invisible.
In 1975â€™s Jaws, I enjoyed the scene** where Richard Dreyfuss and Robert Shawâ€™s characters compared scars. As they one-upped each other with horrific tales of danger from knives and fangs and worse, they and the viewer grew closer. Wounds are stories.
A few years ago I attempted to heal an unseen wound. I tried to manipulate my father into telling me that he loved me. It didnâ€™t work. I understand . . . and yet not.
Dad had dementia in the final years of his life. When ninety-four, we placed him into a memory care facility not too far from where Mom lived. I tried to visit on a monthly basis. Each visit to the facility was brief and typically with my mother. Weâ€™d eat with Dad and usually tidy his room. Until the last year of his life, I could nudge fractured stories from him about his service during World War II. A question about cars likely brought a reaction: Â heâ€™d recall the used Chrysler Imperial from the 1950s with the miniature turntable in the dashboard or the new Cadillac Seville he didnâ€™t like and sold soon after the purchase. Mom once calculated Dad had owned forty cars by their fortieth wedding anniversary. Yes indeed, cars could always prompt a few words from my father.
On one particular visit, he seemed in a good mood. Just as we were leaving, I reached out my hand. He grasped it.
â€œGood to see you Dad.â€
Silence. Seconds passed. Then he softly replied, â€œGood to see you.â€ Had he mimicked me? Did he know what he was saying?
And then I manipulated him. I told him, gazing at his mostly blank face, â€œI love you Dad.â€ Continue reading →