The recent hiatus in posting to this blog page was due to my current dual role of Cornerstone Forum’s chief cook and bottle washer, as well as grandpa and helper to my daughter’s family in Maryland as they awaited the arrival of their second child. The long days of waiting ended on Wednesday of last week with the birth of their son. Mother and baby are doing fine. Grandpa and Grandma are very happy and grateful all went well.
On the the other side of the continent Gil Bailie has been working on extracting his next book from notes collected over the past twenty years. I will be sharing bits of his drafts here as they become available. However, Gil took some time over the past days to post on the Cornerstone Forum Facebook page the following quote from Charles Péguy and a reflection….
“There is only one adventurer in the world, as can be seen very clearly in the modern world, the father of a family. Even the most desperate adventurers are nothing compared with him. Everything in the modern world, even and perhaps most of all contempt, is organized against that fool, that imprudent, daring fool … the unruly, audacious man who is daring enough to have a wife and family. Everything is against him. Savagely organized against him. Everything turns and combines against him. … Everything is against the father of a family, the pater familias; and consequently against the family. He alone is literally “engaged” in the world, in the age. He alone is an adventurer. The rest are at most engaged with their heads, which is nothing. He is engaged with all his limbs. The rest suffer for themselves. In the first degree. He alone suffers through others. He makes others suffer; he is responsible. He alone has given hostages, wife and child, so that sickness and death can strike him in all his members. The others can take in their sails. He alone is exposed, constrained to expose an enormous spread of canvas, to the storms of the sea. And whatever the weather, he is bound to sail with all sails set.”
A father is only as happy as his least happy child.
Both the Péguy quote and Gil’s pithy sentence on one aspect of a father’s happiness resonate with my experience as a father and grandfather. I will end this with a kind of ‘father’s prayer’ by Leonard Cohen that echos my feelings on yesterday’s dual celebration of the feast of Corpus Christi and Fathers Day:
You who question souls, and you to whom souls must answer, do not cut off the soul of my son on my account. Let the strength of his childhood lead him to you, and the joy of his body stand him upright in your eyes.
May he discern my prayer for him, and to whom it is uttered, and in what shame. I received the living waters and I held them in a stagnant pool. I was taught but I did not teach. I was loved but I did not love. I weakened the name that spoke me, and I chased the light with my own understanding.
Whisper in his ear. Direct him to a place of learning. Illuminate
his child’s belief in mightiness. Rescue him from those who want
him with no soul, who have their channels in the bedrooms of the rich and poor, to draw the children into death. Let him see me coming back to you. Allow us to bring forth our souls together to make a place for your name.
If I am too late, redeem my yearning in his heart, bless him with a soul that remembers you, that he may uncover it with careful husbandry. They who wish to devour him have grown powerful on my idleness. They have a number for him, and a chain. Let him see them withered in the light of your name. Let him see their dead kingdom from the mountain of your word. Stand him up upon his soul, bless him with the truth of manhood.