Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Last to Know...

[Warning: flagrant bragging ensues]

One of my favorite 80s bands, the Police, released an album called “Synchronicity” a couple of decades ago now (just another little reality check there). Although only about half the songs (I’m old enough to remember when they were called “cuts”, as in LP vinyl) were worth replaying, the idea of synchronicity fascinated me then, and still does.

Or, as I used to think of it when the thought first occurred-- the simultaneity of life; the simple idea that while certain events are happening Here, activities and passages of different sorts are taking place There, and There, and There—virtually ad infinitum—at the very same moment. It would take someone or something supernatural to grasp it all, let alone oversee it. And, most fortunately, God does. To paraphrases T.S. Eliot again, Christ is “the still point of the turning world.”

Throw in that other oft-overlooked truth that “the secret things belong to God” [Deut. 29:29], and it’s a safe bet that there will be times in life when it pays to “hold on to your hat.”

One side effect of this mortal phenomenon is that things happen, even to those closest to us, of which we are usually unaware. Such has been the case around here lately---well, all the time to be literal about it.

But, here’s the point.

Ben, or Someone wearing his appearance and identity, has been developing a bit of positive notoriety of late. And who is the last to know? Your Faithful Correspondent, [Clouseau accent]: “but, of course!”

This afternoon, as I diligently graded more mind-numbing grammar worksheets at a tot-sized table (my turn to work as the office assistant at John’s and Cecily’s school today), another friend-mom casually mentioned, “So, Ben is on Court.”


My Ben? What court? Another of my offspring has been visiting a court of a very different nature lately (as in traffic court), so the term does not default to a positive connotation for me.

No, silly. Homecoming Court. Ben has been voted onto Homecoming Court. Our elf.

This is very cool, and we are pleasantly taken aback. “Who’d a thunk it?!”
On the other hand, since everyone in residence here SPEAKS ENGLISH, can someone clue me in?!!! Everyone in the world knows these things but me!!! I’m developing a complex. I still don’t even know when this happened.

And, there’s more. [“But, of course!”]

In fairness, we were made aware of this Next Installment, but the communication was at the instigation of Ben’s ever-faithful Coach, who made him call us here at home. But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

The Fall Retreat for Ben’s high school took place this past Thursday and Friday up at Lake Geneva Conference Center. Other than eating food of varying quality, hearing sessions with a guest speaker, and participating in praise and worship time, I am still in the dark as to what else ever takes place at these annual outings. (Bear in mind that Son #1 was graduated from this same institution and participated in these retreats during his own high school career—but we learned early on not to expect any info from him.)

We were about three-quarters of the way through our favorite spy show (“MI-5” on PBS) when the phone rang, showing Coach’s cell phone number. Probably not good.

As Bill wandered into a different room with the phone pressed to his ear, my curiosity was piqued, and my usual one-side-of-the-conversation discernment skills failed me.

After he rang off, Bill explained that Ben had just been voted Torch Bearer by the senior class at the retreat, an honor that left him humbled and nonplussed. Evidently, this takes place each year in this setting, and the person named is then considered a spiritual leader for the class for the remainder of the school year. At least, that’s my best understanding.

Not so many months ago, I’m told, Ben was grappling with the expected confusion and anger that comes in the wake of a complex hospitalization. “There will be a light at the end of this tunnel, Ben,” his coach assured him.

Last week, standing on a picnic table an hour or so north of here, Ben held aloft a torch—indisputably a light—and experienced a tangible demonstration of God’s engagement in life.

Just today, I was told that the torch had to be replaced and relit several times during the retreat’s closing prayer time, owing to the number of students joining in. I’m hoping there might be a photo or two out there but will need to investigate that.

Can there be any more to this story? Certainly, or I wouldn’t have asked.

Less than a week after assuring me that he had NO interest in attending his senior year Homecoming banquet, that same Someone, answering to the name of Ben, apparently changed his mind.

The eyewitness account runs like this: ‘We were in the middle of playing “Captain, Captain, may we cross your ship?” [I know], when Ben asked me to ad lib it a little. So, when they asked to cross, I answered, “Only if C---- will go to Homecoming with Ben Holliday!” Allegedly, heads swiveled around to see Ben the Gallant down on one knee.

And you think you know a person. (Yes, she accepted.)

To tie the proverbial bow on this little installment, I note the reaction of Ben’s older brother when I shared the foregoing account.

“MY brother?!?!”

Yup, that’s kind of what I said, too.

Then the not-quite-suppressed half smile appeared.

“Well, Mom, you know what it is…it’s that old Holliday Male Charm.”

And what can I say? It worked on me.

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