LET IT aLL sTART hERE
For Catholics who care...
Sunday morning, our small, quaint, usually joy filled Catholic Church in Grand Gorge, NY, was filled with many grieving parishioners. Women wept and men cast their eyes down, as men do in such moments, as our pastor shared the sad news of the untimely passing of our friend and fellow disciple, Dave Martin. Dave lived in the house directly across the street from St. Philip Neri, he greeted each day by gazing out his window at our church, and he was pleased. It was a dwelling that Dave knew well having been Baptized at its font and he considered “this” church his second home.
As Fr. Cambi spoke, I glanced over at the pew that was Dave’s place in our congregation and I could almost see him standing there in his St. Philip Neri “Got Faith?” T-shirt, and Levys with that ornate black belt that he always wore. For a long time Dave had a little girl with him who resembled Cindy Lou Hoo. She was his companion in Christ. She was his gift to God and to God’s people each Sunday. She was his granddaughter, Briell. And that little girl reminded us not only of how beautiful innocence is, but also how we need to restore or cultivate more of her child-like nature in ourselves. But, alas, the little girl moved away, so her place beside “Pa-pa” was vacant, and one could sense how much he missed her...how much we all missed her.
I mention Dave’s black belt because it was an unusual belt; as unusual as the man who wore it. I recognize now that, for me, it has become a symbol of this friend I met in Church. The years had distressed the strip of black leather. It was not pretty, but it was soft and had great character…like Dave. The belt was strong and durable and constant… like Dave. It was adorned with several silver conchae that were scuffed and chinked from life’s wear and tear, but still gleamed and reflected Light…like Dave. It was a cool-looking belt, and I had wanted it for myself for years. Dave was a cool guy, and had a quality about him that I wanted for myself as well: It was a joyful generosity that came from his 100 percent certainty that he was a child of God.