Just Couldn’t Do It

February 6th, 2023

I wanted to go to the meeting. I really did.

I didn’t go. I just couldn’t do it.

A committee at our church sponsored a listening session last night with a panel of speakers from the Racine Interfaith Coalition (RIC). Our parish, St. Rita, is part of that coalition, and the Human Concerns Commission invited three people to come and talk to members of the church about “Catholic Social Teaching: Call to Community and Participation”. That sort of thing is right down my alley. I used to be very involved as a volunteer with community projects (e.g., teaching a citizenship class). But that was B.C. (Before Covid) and B.A. (Before Asher).

One of the speakers is a friend of mine, Carl Fields, and he was one reason for me to go. He’s a wonderful person, and I truly admire him. Carl did prison time for shooting at a cop. When he got out, he started getting busy. He has done extensive work to aid fellow ex-prisoners. Carl runs (or ran) a meal program in Racine for homeless persons. The man has totally turned his life around, and he has helped numerous other people turn around their lives. I hadn’t seen Carl for quite a while, and I wanted to talk with him at the church meeting. Also, two people from church had asked me to be there. I didn’t want to let them down.

My wife, Karin, and I are legal guardians for our toddler grandson, Asher. We care for him 24/7/365. He has been our responsibility for two years. Asher is a blessing to us. He gives us purpose and joy. He also consumes all of our time and energy. We’re okay with that. We volunteered to watch over him, and it is what we are meant to do at this point in our lives. It might be our calling for the rest of our lives.

Attending the meeting with the speakers from RIC was always going to be an iffy proposition. Caring for Asher is often a two-person job. If I went to the meeting in the evening, Karin would have to get clean up the supper dishes and then Asher ready for bed. Asher wasn’t feeling that well yesterday. Karin was tired out. Asher had not slept well the night before yesterday, so my wife hadn’t either. I was feeling worn out too. I get up pre-dawn to get ready for the little boy.

About late-afternoon, Asher needed a diaper change. He had a diarrhea blowout. What should have been a simple diaper swap turned into a hazmat cleanup operation. It was nasty. I was frustrated and irritable, and I lost my temper. Karin told me,

“If you’re really tired, why don’t you just stay home?”

I agreed with her. As it turned out, both of us needed to be at home to watch over Asher. I was exhausted by 7:00 PM. Asher crashed at 8:30. Karin lied down with him.

The episode was a lesson for me. There may come a time when I can go back to being a social activist, but that time is not now. While Asher is in our care, I can’t plan on doing anything besides being with our little buddy. I just can’t. Other people will have to do work in the community. My work is in our home.

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