Tuesday, August 10, 2010

August 10: Saint Lawrence

I'm baaaaa-aaaaack!

Sorry about my prolonged absence from the blog.  For my two or three loyal readers, I will try to make it up to you by writing a couple posts this week.  However, I was on vacation for the last week or so.  No where near a computer, keyboard, monitor, i-Pad, whatever.  Basically, all I've been doing is reading; playing with my almost-two-year-old son and almost-tween daughter; spending some much-needed quality time with my wife; and soaking up the final hot days of summer before the long slide into autumn.

So I have a few points of business to take care of.  First, my friend from Georgia had an operation and is recuperating, so I want anyone who reads this to send healing thoughts and prayers her way.  Second, my pastor friend and his wife had a baby last Friday night, so I want to send a shout-out to the little Twilight girl (that's an inside joke--sorry, I try not to be cryptic and cutesie in my posts, but I'm just coming off a ten-day break; my inner sarcastic child has not woken up yet).

I didn't do anything spiritually fulfilling during my time off.  I didn't build a school in the Ozarks.  I didn't volunteer in a soup kitchen in inner-city Detroit.  I didn't work for Habitat for Humanity (you don't want to see me with power tools, believe me!).  The closest thing I did  for charity was purchase The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner.  For those of you who don't know, for each copy of the book that is sold, one dollar is donated to the American Red Cross.  So, I killed two birds with one stone.  I got a birthday present for a friend and assuaged my Christian guilt a little bit.  Not much.  A little.

I'm not sure I've ever read about a saint taking a vacation.  But it's gotta get tiring being holy 24-7.  I know I couldn't handle it.  I'm way too self-absorbed, to quote a good friend.  Lawrence, the saint for today, is the patron of the poor and of cooks.  The reason he's the patron of the poor:  when he was ordered to turn over the "treasures of the Church" to the Roman government, Lawrence gathered over a thousand beggars, street people, and destitute children.  All the gold and silver the Roman Prefect was seeking had been sold as alms for the assembled crowd.  The reason Lawrence is the patron of cooks:  the Prefect had him roasted over a fire pit for his defiance of Rome.  Lawrence is reputed to have told his torturers, "This side's done, turn me over and have a bite."  On a side note, he's also the patron saint of comedians.

I don't think Lawrence took any paid time off.  If he had, I'm sure he would have skipped the barbecue.  I also don't think he and I were cut from the same cloth, although I appreciate his sense of humor.  I could see his death as part of a Monty Python skit, with John Cleese as the saint-kabob.  Like Lawrence, most of the holy people I've read about seem to think having time away from work has to involve fasting 40 days in the desert.

Me, I opt for a trip to a water park, a bag of Cheetos, and a trashy novel.

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