Over the course of the past 2 months, I have fielded dozens of calls and messages from associates and old friends offering me support for my election campaign. Of course, I’m not running for anything, despite the name on the ballot. I’ll repeat, I am NOT running for Brevard County Commissioner in District 4.
I did quite a double-take the first time I drove by one of “my” roadsigns. I’ve waved to him numerous times as he stands at the intersections holding “my” signs in an attempt to garner support. Sometimes I even honk enthusiastically, even though the likelihood of success in a field of seven is anyone’s guess. I just hope we don’t get embarrassed, with like 3 votes. And in the long-shot that I do win, I surely hope I’m not a crook! Heck, I can make myself look bad all by myself! I don’t need some other guy making it worse. He probably thinks the same thing as he sees the lines of people waiting to see me on Saturdays. “Crap, I sure hope that vet knows what he’s doing!”
I realize this is all quite silly, and my wife Sharon thinks I’m nuts. “Just last night, she said, “Babe, you do realize you’re not running, right?”
So what’s in a name, anyway? What if your reputation really did depend on someone else? I imagine Daddy looking down at me, with his brow furrowed much of the time, wondering just what the hell I think I’m doing. He shook his head in bewilderment, and thought we were so different when he was alive. Mostly, I hope he’s smiling because lots of my good stuff come from him, I think now he’s OK with those things we were so different on. I hope he’s happy with how I’ve carried his father’s name, with the reputation, the image our family name is remembered with.
And of course, I was Mom’s baby boy, and so I could do no wrong in her eyes. Now that she has her Beatific Vision” of Heaven, she sees right through me! I’m embarrassed at the times I look back and did the wrong things. I was so relieved that she didn’t know; I didn’t want to disappoint her! Now she’s laughing out loud – of course she knew all along. Somehow she pointed me in the right direction, guiding me to get back up and learn from my mistakes, without even letting on that she knew everything I was up to.
Good parenting requires knowing your children. An insightful father knows his children long before they know themselves.
And I’m quite sure my son Cullen also watches us. You know that feeling you get when you’re “alone,” but you just feel someone watching you? I get that all the time. Sometimes I lose my cool or get short with someone, or say something out of frustration, and I swear I can hear him laughing at me, saying, “That’s my dad!” But other times, when I find myself correcting someone’s close-mindedness or bigotry, I get really warm all over, and I smile. I realize that I’m not the same man I was, and I hope he’s proud of me, because so much of what’s better in me is because of him.
I also think of my Heavenly Father looking down on us. One of my contemplations involves the Trinity looking down at our globe, and discussing how things have turned out. Are they pleased with us? I’m unable to judge others through Their eyes, so I’m just talking about myself, and mine. If I call myself a Christian, I’m representing Him in everything I say, and do. Of course I don’t hold myself to this standard of perfection, but others may hold me accountable.
As a visible Christian, I am the only Christ some people will ever see. In that context I carry a huge responsibility. Of course I’m just a human with all human weaknesses and failings, but to many that I encounter, I represent Church, and all things Christ.
Regardless of whether or not Gandhi actually said the words, lots of people claim he said, “I don’t reject Christ. I love Christ. It’s just that so many of you Christians are so unlike Christ.”
I can only imagine Jesus looking down at us, shaking his head in frustration, at one time or another, in frustration. Just like my parents.
So again, what’s in a name, anyway? What if your reputation really did depend on someone else?
Which reminds me of a prayer led by a Jesuit mentor:
Most of all, Lord, Let nothing that I shall ever do, serve to keep any of my brothers from finding you.