Her name was Sarah and from the day I met her at in my daughter's kindergarten classroom, it was quite clear she was wicked smart. Now Sarah had to come from somewhere and it turns out the parents she had were different than her. They were quiet, measured, thoughtful--but like her-- industrious, smart, and curious; people who held their values firmly as they walked their four children through Cataldo Catholic School and on to Gonzaga Preparatory. Really, really nice people who raised really, really nice kids.
Both these parents worked; they had highly responsible jobs with many commitments and pressures. But I never saw either one of them miss a game, a recital, a play or a meeting as we moved through educating our kids about the world, about history, math and English, about our faith, our community and neighborhood, and about all the paths in which we walk. It is said that Sarah's dad was at the office by 4 am many mornings, in order to break at breakfast, run home and help his wife get their kids off to school. They never left their kids' side for a second and never took their eye off the ball once. Faithful, loyal people.
So as it turns out, Sarah's dad will now be the mayor of our city. He didn't come to it through a traditional route; he did not actively pursue politics of this nature. He has never held mayoral ambitions. His path has been difficult and circuitous, full of the stones of sacrifice and compromise. He has had to have stopped at least several times, and maybe even sat down on one of these big rocks and said "Why me?" or at least, "What the hell?" But now, it's come to pass: it is him and his time is now. And it's for real.
He's such a good man. He is married to such a good woman. Having witnessed the nightmarish machinations of local politics in the last 10 years, it's easy to believe that the next part of their path together will be laced with treachery, betrayal and isolation as they wade neck-deep into local politics, leading the fray of dedicated civil servants and zealous community activists. They will become the consumption of the local media who will be absorbed with Sarah's parents' every move and thought. Will Dennis and Jane still be able to come to the wrestling party at Christmas?
My prayers for them have now taken on a fervant pleading with our Father. I have petitioned my own guardian angel to leave me and follow after, in front and beside them. I hope, I hope, I hope for their children and take it up with Mary each morning. Stay with them. Hold them. Love them. Help them. Keep them safe. But despite my misgivings, I must begin to believe something different than where I naturally wander. Because as this has all come down, it's completely clear that this is how it was meant to be. The time has come and the time is now.
So here is my prayer, with my love, the only thing I can give our old friends who are now in a new school where few are admitted:
Prayer for Dennis and Jane
Father of all children,
walk beside our friends as they labor anew in service of us all.
Shield their eyes from the harsh light of the day, from the smoke of distraction along the path, from the dust of confrontation and fighting.
Hold their hand for courage and and their heart for compromise.
Let the light be light and the dark be dark, so that they know and can see.
Give them peace and hope
Forgiveness and love
Consolation in all things.
The 'Kan EWA