Originally published in the Superior Catholic Herald, October 15, 2009
Hey there – I’ve got a quick question for you – do you know what Gorilla Glue is? It seems like everyone I talk to knows the stuff. I wish someone had told me exactly what that cute gorilla-pictured, plastic bottle had in store. For a short moment I was kind of thinking it was just another squeaky toy.
The other day, while the bishop was concentrating on a certain wood project in the garage, I snuck the little bottle of gooey glue out from under his nose. It wasn’t until a few minutes later when the bottle began to squirt out all over me that the bishop took notice. What happened next, I’m not proud of at all. I began to run from the bishop. The more he shouted and ran after me the more fun I had. He’s not very fast you know. At any rate, he did finally catch up and didn’t appear to be in the best of moods. By the time he grabbed me I managed to have the entire contents of the brown, ever expanding, fast drying glue all over this hairy body of mine. It was truly a delightful mess and unfortunately an already hardening one.
Next I remember that it seemed like out of nowhere a huge pair of scissors appeared and feverishly began chopping away all my exceedingly handsome, golden locks of hair. What used to be a perfectly balanced beard soon became a lop-sided goatee. What a disGusting display I made of myself that day!
As I look back, the whole event might have been a bit more orchestrated than I originally had thought or like to now admit. As of recent the bishop has been telling me that I’m barking too much. Now I wonder if just maybe I too did have a clue what Gorilla Glue was, and just maybe had a hidden desire to coat my hairy lips with the stuff, thinking all the while, hey, this might help.
Looking back on my life always gives me a different perspective of things. I look back a lot. Every time I go for a ride in the car I’m looking back. It’s my most prominent view while traveling since I’m always in the cargo area of the Jeep – unless there happens to be groceries. Quite honestly, I rather enjoy my moving digs. I see so many things the bishop never sees. For example, I see a lot of those dark colored cars with their oftentimes flashing lights parked behind trees and other disguising things. I also see all sorts of big and small darting animals crossing the road right after we pass them by. If my driver only knew how many of those speedy critters he just missed! I know for a fact there’s a lot of things he never gets a chance to see sitting way up front.
I do realize, however, that it’s not possible to move forward while always looking back. Life just isn’t lived that way. However, that being said, I do believe it’s good to look back from time to time. I like doing so in order to see how much sense the journey makes. It’s like connecting the dots. This led to that and that has led to this and to the next thing that I’ll be seeing. It all begins to make sense in due time. Even at just 8 months of age I am already convinced that there are tons of amazing patterns within my life’s journey.
I am so grateful for the places I’ve been and also for the places that have brought me to the place where I am today. You know, it’s a lot easier to be grateful for the good in life if the journey includes taking time to reflect on what has been. It’s hard to appreciate and to be grateful for things if we’re always focused on the next turn of events.
I think the bishop is beginning to get what I mean, because when he drives around our beautiful Diocese he so often delights in telling me what great things are soon to come into view. He has seen them before. So in some ways he does reflect on where he has been. Maybe it’s like an examination of conscience at the end of the day, he says. It’s good to reflect on where we’ve been, not just to see the sometimes-disgusting things we do, or to further commit to avoiding troubling circumstances – like making contact with those cars with the flashing red lights. It’s good for us to take time to reflect on our journeys in order that we might see and appreciate the wonderful patterns of the obvious care we’ve been given along the way. There are so many wonderful opportunities and experiences we have all been given by our God as we journey through life.
Believe it or not, I trust that one day the bishop, himself, will look back and laugh out loud when he thinks of me and a certain plastic bottle emptied of all its Gorilla content. Imagine that!
Hey, before I sign off, here’s another question for you my diocesan friends – What do you see out of the rear view window of your life’s journey today?
Until next time – take a bow and a wow to God!