Well, it finally happened. I saw the new Star Wars movie this afternoon. The theater was packed, and I had to sit in the very front row. I literally had to lean back in my seat to view the screen comfortably. When I started eating my popcorn, I discovered that there was no salt on it. It was greasy and tasteless. But, as soon as the overture started and the words began to crawl up the screen, everything was good. Better than good. Fantastic.
Sure, there were holes in the story. Unanswered questions. Plot turns I could see coming a mile away. But it was Chewbacca and Han Solo and Princess Leia. The Force and a light saber battle. Basically, it felt like I was ten years old again, and the Death Star had cleared the planet.
I'm sorry if I sound like a Star Wars geek, but that's basically what I am. And, if I play my cards right, my daughter and son will be Star Wars geeks, too.
Today's episode of Classic Saint Marty first aired a year ago, on a Saturday. Christmas was still on my mind, and my daughter taught me a lesson.
December 27, 2014: Special Place, Father/Daughter Disagreement, Joseph Brodsky, "Flight Into Egypt"
All winter Wilbur watched over Charlotte's egg sac as though he
were guarding his own children. He had scooped out a special place in
the manure for the sac, next to the board fence. On very cold nights he
lay so that his breath would warm it. For Wilbur, nothing in life was
so important as this small round object--nothing else mattered...
appoints himself guardian of Charlotte's egg sac. It's his final gift
to his friend. In some way, Wilbur becomes a surrogate father.
Constantly worried. Overly protective. Thinking he knows what's best
for their welfare.
This afternoon, I had a little
father/daughter disagreement. Well, it really wasn't a disagreement.
We were at church in the choir loft. My 14-year-old daughter was
texting her older cousin, and she was complaining about having to go to
church so much. Her cousin texted back, "That's a lot of religion.
When you turn 18 you don't have to do anything they say." The
conversation continued in this vein.
Now, I know what
you're thinking--"Why were you reading her texts?" Well, she was using
my sister's phone, and my sister showed them to me. Of course, I got
quite angry, and I told my daughter that she needed to tell her cousin
to keep her opinions about religion to herself. I told her that giving a
couple hours a weekend to God wasn't a whole lot. "How much time do
you spend at dance in a week?" I said. "And how much time do you spend
gaming in a week?"
By the time church was over, my
daughter was in tears. When we got to the car, she said, "I'm not going
to stop going to church when I turn 18, Daddy."
there for a second, thinking. She looked like her world was coming to
an end, and I felt like a failure as a father. I sighed. "Sweety, I
trust you. I know you know what's right and wrong. I want you to
remember one thing: your mommy and I wouldn't still be married if it
weren't for our faith and trust in God."
She nodded. "I know, Daddy," she said.
"Good," I said.
wasn't one of my prouder parenting moments. I know that my daughter is
testing the waters of adulthood. When I was her age, I remember
skipping church some Sunday mornings and going to Burger King instead.
It's part of being young and stupid and invincible. Like any father, I
want to protect my daughter from making mistakes. Big mistakes.
know I raised my daughter right. Gave her a strong moral and spiritual
foundation. She's a good person. I hear that from teachers and
friends and priests and pastors.
Saint Marty needs to have faith in his little girl.
Another Christmas poem for you--
Flight into Egypt
by: Joseph Brodsky, trans. by Seamus Heaney
In the cave—it sheltered them, at least,
safer than four square-set right angles—
in the cave the threesome felt secure
in the reek of straw and old clobber.
Straw for bedding. Outside the door,
blizzard, sandstorm, howling air,
Mule rubbed ox; they stirred and groaned
like sand and snowflake scourged in wind.
Mary prays; the fire soughs;
Joseph frowns into the blaze.
Too small to be fit to do a thing
but sleep, the infant is just sleeping.
Another day behind them now,
its worries past. And the “ho, ho, ho!”
of Herod who had sent the troops.
And the centuries a day closer too.
That night, as three, they were at peace.
Smoke like a retiring guest
slipped out the door. There was one far-off
heavy sigh from the mule. Or the ox.
The star looked in across the threshold.
The only one of them who could
know the meaning of that look
was the infant. But He did not speak.
Classic Confessions of Saint Marty