Sunday, June 18, 2017

June 18: Father's Day, Classic Saint Marty, "Pie Jesu"

Happy Father's Day to everyone.

I have had a fairly relaxing day, as Father's Days go.  I went to church this morning.  Dropped my daughter off at Bible camp this afternoon.  I just spent an hour or so grading some papers.  Now, I am blogging.  Nothing really out of the ordinary, except releasing my daughter into the woods of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to learn a few things about God.

I'm not a guy who likes surprises, if you haven't figured that out yet.  This has been a good Father's Day because it was a run-of-the-mill Sunday for me.  I got a card from my sister.  I have a gift to open up from my kids when I get home.  Later tonight, I will watch one of my favorite movies.  I haven't decided which one.  Probably something a little sad. 

Today's episode of Classic Saint Marty first aired on Father's Day four years ago.  Another run-of-the-mill Sunday in June . . .

June 14, 2014:  Saint Vitus's Dance, Recitals, New Poem, "Pie Jesu"

"What kind of acrobat do you think I am?" said Charlotte in disgust.  "I would have to have St. Vitus's Dance to weave a word like that into my web."

Charlotte's reference to St. Vitus pretty much defines my weekend.  St. Vitus is the patron saint of dancers, and today, June 15, is his feast day.  My whole weekend has been dedicated to dance.  I spent all Saturday in a dark auditorium, watching my daughter rehearse for her dance recital.  Saturday night, my daughter danced.  This afternoon, my daughter danced.  Tonight, her feet are sore, and she's a cranky teenager.  But she, and my son, danced and made their father very happy on Father's Day weekend.

I know I'm not a normal dad.  I don't watch football on TV.  I could care less who wins the Stanley Cup.  I don't go fishing.  Can't stand to touch worms or fish.  I don't restore old cars, and I don't have a bunch of woodworking tools in my backyard.

I like dance.  And foreign films.  500-page novels.  Art exhibits.  Musicals.  Poetry.  It is Father's Day night, and, as a treat, I'm watching Midnight in Paris.  I'm not normal.  I'm waiting to see if my son ever realizes his father is from another planet.  Right now, he just thinks I'm really funny.  I'll take that.  It's better than being an embarrassment.  That time will come when he's a teenager.

Last night, when I got home from the dance recital, I sat down with my journal and finished my Father's Day poem for church.  All the pieces sort of fell together for me.  I simply stepped out of the way and let the poem finally emerge.  I started writing at 11 p.m. and finished around 1:30 a.m.  I went to bed very satisfied.

I read my poem this morning during the worship service at church.  It was, of course, dedicated to fathers and father figures.  I read the poem, and then my cohorts in the praise band sang Andrew Lloyd Webber's Pie Jesu.  By the time the music was over, there wasn't a dry eye in the church.  The pastor had to stand at the lectern for about twenty seconds to compose himself.

I'm not sure if all that means that my poem is any good, but I do think that the Holy Spirit was really present in church this morning.  I could almost see the tongues of fire.

Saint Marty was blessed this weekend.

Pie Jesu

by:  Martin Achatz

At my brother's funeral,
my father made sounds
I'd never heard him
make before.  Ancient sounds.
Meteor smashing into Earth
sounds, shifting the planet
from brachiosaurus to Ice Age.
Noah loading up the ark
sounds, the heavens a black
boil of rain, mud, tsunami.
Vesuvius opening above Pompeii
sounds, a highway of magma
rolling over house, dog, mother, suckling child.
Abraham on the mountain
sounds, his son climbing like an ibex
ahead of him, higher and higher,
to that stone altar.  Sacrifice
is a part of the deal, giving
up something precious.
The last piece of pizza or
a night of sleep or
a grandfather's watch or
the marrow of your bone.
My father worked twelve-hour
days, fixed toilets, faucets,
unplugged plugged sewers.
His hands, hard as permafrost,
could tear Detroit phone books in half.
Yet, when he had to let go
of my brother, my father broke.
He sat next to me, made sounds
like a charging mammoth,
drowning lion.  Like an old man
asked to give up his last breath.
I think he was waiting, like Abraham,
to hear the whisper of angel wing
in his ear, singing Pie Jesu.
Lord, have mercy.

1 comment:

  1. Good job on being an uncommon dad. Keep up the uncommon work.