by Father Mark Goldasich
Sometimes a trip down Memory Lane can trip you up. At least, it did me.
On Aug. 16, I headed to the Twin Cities for a few days, specifically to attend a barbecue with longtime friends. Five friends were from high school days at Savior of the World Seminary, now Savior Pastoral Center. An additional 10 friends were from college days.
What was jarring was the numbers game: I’d been friends with the “Savior guys” for 53 years now! Hearing them talk about their children and GRANDCHILDREN blew my mind. I’d have thought they were kidding had not their wives been part of our gathering. (I’d been privileged to know many of those wives from college days as well.)
I was drawn back in time, too, to hear people call me “Goldy,” a nickname I’ve had since high school and college. The name originated from shortening my last name of Goldasich, making it much easier to pronounce. And, during the times when these wonderful people first knew me, I had blond curly hair, reminding them of Goldilocks. The nickname for the most part went the way of my golden (now gray) locks (now almost nonexistent!).
As happens, though, when close friends get together, the intervening years melt away, and the love, fun and laughter increase exponentially. That whole evening, I was flooded with a profound sense of gratitude that I had the honor of walking through life with these incredible people.
Before we tucked in for the delicious meal, we gathered in a circle in the kitchen of our hosts, Carole and Mike Koch, where they led us in a beautiful prayer. Afterwards, I asked for a copy and have “appropriated” it for the rest of this column. (You can too!) Here’s the prayer, edited a bit for space:
We stand this evening in the joyful presence of dear friends and with our God.
God of raging fires, devastating floods and parched earth, calm the storms in our lives. Awaken us to become responsible stewards. . . . Bring relief to those who have lost homes and possessions.
Mary and Joseph, models of parenting, bless our adult children that they may continue to practice wise judgment, devoted relationships and servant leadership in their professional lives.
Spirit of God, sustain our energy to lead, listen and respond to your call to build communities of faith. From humble home churches to soaring cathedrals, may we be instruments of your peace in the world.
Lover of children, hold our grandchildren in safety and wellness. Fill them with joy, the kind that bubbles over daily. Allow their childhood to be free from anxiety, discrimination, violence and political unrest.
God of consolation, bring healing and renewed hope to those grieving the absence of loved ones. . . . Strengthen all in these pandemic times to regain their stamina in mind and body.
Spirit of friendship, you who bind our storied lives together over so many years, live in our presence this evening as we honor our individual and collective journeys.
Let all God’s people say: