Filed Under:  OpEd, Opinion

Make problems a prayer, not a strikeout

16th September 2013   ·   0 Comments

By Fr. Jerome LeDoux
Contributing Columnist

Gloria Greene’s homegoing Resurrection Mass was a vibrant, joyful celebration of her life whose afterglow lingered at Greenwood Mausoleum in northwest Fort Worth. On cue after the final blessing, I jumped into my car heading for DFW Airport with sufficient but no extra time to spare before takeoff for Oakland, California. Obstacles began to arise.

There was that first critical left where I was behind a car with its left signal blinking. Not overly bad, the long red light finally changed, but the driver ahead of me did not move, perhaps engrossed in talking on the phone, texting or – God knows – just lollygagging. By the time I decided to drive around, the driver shot ahead neither left nor through. Strike one.

Figuring to get, if not a quicker light, a chance to pause and turn right on red, I went a block up, U-turned and came to the light from the opposite side. However, with cars ahead of me, I had to wait for that long light again. I had gained nothing but frustration. Strike two.

Finally on the road to the bridge spanning the Trinity River basin, I saw misleading detour signs that I had not seen farther back, necessitating going backwards and around to the construction-related detour to the south. “Strike three?” I wondered as the detour carried me toward DFW knowing that I would have to scoot through security without a holdup.

“Well, I gave it my best shot!” was my thought as I moved along pressed for time but unhurried vis-à-vis the traffic laws. With considerable construction lying before me, I made it to the Terminal E parking lot, but it read “FULL.” Thinking there had to be an uncounted space atop the roof, I circled my way up there and discovered an empty parking slot.

Praise God! Suitcase in tow, I was off and moving quickly for the gate. With minimal fuss, security let me through. Thank God for moving walkways that double your speed when you walk briskly while they are ferrying you down the never-ending corridors!

Seated at length and seatbelted with my cell phone turned off, I leaned back and took in the Airbus A320 that resembled so much the Boeing 737 that became the generic template
for the short-haul, feeder jets in 1967. However, I felt keen disappointment that the seats do not recline at all, forcing a sleeper to strain a bit to stay upright or pitch forward awkwardly.

Watching for a drink, I waited in vain, for Spirit Airlines provides only what one pays for. “Oh, well, I’ll convert this 3-hour-30-minute flight into a mini-retreat.” That was easy, for I quickly lapsed into a half-sleep Beta stage snooze that featured a half-trance with several hymns from Gloria’s homegoing running through my head during the entire flight.

Preeminent were “All night, all day, the angels keep awatching over me, my Lord” and “We are standing on holy ground, and I know that there are angels all around.”

Some 20 minutes out of Oakland, the flight Captain advised us, “Those tall clouds you see to the right come from the smoke of wildfires.” Shaped like ill-formed, titanic, dirty columns, they were very tall indeed, but some of the ugliest clouds I have ever seen. It was a weird, creepy feeling to know how they originated with the extreme mischief blazing below.

Gliding into the Other City by the Bay, I was greeted and picked up by my cousin, retired dental surgeon James Perry, with whom I grew up in Lake Charles, Lou­isiana. On the way home, we made our favorite stop at vegan-friendly Farmer Joe’s, a marketplace that has an abundance of practically every kind of fresh produce one could ever dream of eating.

Since the hour was beyond five in the evening, rush-hour traffic precluded any hope we might have harbored of getting to the wake of our friend, Sha­ron Jones, in San Fran­cisco. So we went home and threw together some vegan jambalaya and sweet potato casserole with fresh pineapple and walnuts. We contacted Sharon’s daughter Sharonda later in the evening.

Rebuilt very tall and gothic in 1916 after the original church had been destroyed in the 1906 earthquake, St. Benedict Church at Bush and Steiner Streets in San Francisco stands as a community rock for the Black folks and a smattering of other ethnics there.

Even though the homegoing Mass was inspiring, I consider it shameful that only 25 or so people were there to honor Sharon who worked tirelessly for years to bring justice, equality and dignity to the residents of the Martin Luther King/Marcus Garvey Apartments.

Yet, recognition is not our motivation for doing good, since virtue is its own reward. Sharon’s very dedicated Christian life wrote her eulogy, homegoing celebration and epitaph.

This article originally published in the September 16, 2013 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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