Surely man must be exposed to the light of Grace gradually, as if catching a slicing glint off distant metal from a passing reflection of the sun. We have been illumined by the knowledge that we see through the glass or possibly into the mirror darkly, while somehow knowing innately therein radiates the face of God; more appropriately – G_d. I imagine the darkening of our vision is both a blessing protecting our mortal fragility and also a mountain of love to be encouraged up. I believe, dare I say ‘know’ (umm… sorta), that holy ground awaits our tired feet atop its pinnacle. Although I have not reached the mountain provided for me, this very cross given for my betterment, my very own passion making up what Christ lacked in His perfect sacrifice, I was allowed to observe one leave his final footprints. The darkened mind comfortably rejecting the light of all men, is dazzled more by the mere foolishness of this opiate of the masses following a narrow path. The very hate of Christ is narrowly matched by the world’s rejection of humility. A thick skin does well in a capitalistic food chain whereas humility thins the skin. Maybe humility is that metaphor of glass allowing grace to glow through our shameless translucence. Despite my continuous battle to surrender layers of my vanity, greed, and pride, I was once again encouraged by introduction to both the gifts of purity and long-suffering. This holiness indwelling within a young boy who patiently bore the wounds of brain cancer, chemotherapy, and experimental procedures for five years beckoned a growing community of unstoppable prayer, burgeoning faith, and unrelenting hope. The Friday before the passion of Jack surrendered his final, shallow breath, I was allowed to sit with Jack atop his mountain. This was truly a holy place, one of peace unlike no other. The veil was thinner at this altitude while I gently rested my hand on his foot as I sat and prayed. I have watched seemingly thousands of my daughter’s soccer games, hundreds of my son’s basketball competitions, yet I have never once thought what it would be like to witness angels in anticipation. One day, when you see the beautiful blues of his glorification, I’ll let Jack tell you who else was in the room. This peace, was a reality that communed with my soul overwhelming any thought or mantra of prayer with awe and wonder. Innocence, Jack’s purity, was cleansing torrent to my rabid and restless thoughts. Although grief lingered, it paled in comparison to victory. Jack’s young and abundantly blessed parents gracefully surrendered to this bejeweled yoke of coming grief and triumph. As I prayed, the thought of St. Francis and how he led us to self-discovery as channels of peace. There, breathing in the final throes of his permitted passion, the power of the very promise of Christ, the little foot I held was not connected to a channel anymore but a floodgate of God’s capacity. I tremble more now since I was simply awestruck then. If you ever heard of the “Little Way”, then it would lift your hearts to know that Jack’s little way of purity and longsuffering to light a small town in Ohio with a peace that transcends its definition.
What started with a PrayForJack bumper sticker now begins with ‘little signs’ that JackPraysForUs.
To the clear, bright eyes that pulled empathy from my heart.
To a beautiful boy I could see as my son.
To the boy that stopped our breathing by calming his
parents with the words, “Trust in Jesus.”
To my ’little’ brother and mentor.
To The Boss
To Jack Fineske.