Wednesday, May 18, 2011
All shall be well...
He responds, "Finer than a frog's hair" when asked, "How are you?" And I have heard more times than I can count, "Well, it's better than being poked in the eye with a sharp stick!"... usually in response to the donations that come in the mail! And it's also not too unusual to hear him say something like, "Be at peace" when trying to reassure any of his Vandy Catholic souls that God is in control. He is a family man in that he has a deep love for his father and his sister and he is a family man in that he has a crazy love for his Bride the Church and the souls that God has entrusted to his care; his children. He would not be caught dead drinking milkshakes or eating cheese and he has a year supply of soy milk in the fridge thanks to Frances. He always has somewhere around 634 e-mails unread (at least he did today) and he tends to lack in that area we call sleep... he doesn't do too much of that... and I have never known anyone to have a more packed schedule than him. These are only a few small details that begin to characterize my boss, Fr. John Sims Baker.
He had a reputation with me long before I met him... first, just hearing through the grapevine while I was in Atlanta that there was this new super orthodox priest at Vanderbilt, and then while I worked at St. Pius X, Mr. John Saenz sang his praises all day long. I had wondered who this holy priest was. After hearing that he was looking for an assistant and being totally fried after teaching for 3 years, I passed along the word I was interested and he called me... or maybe I called him... I can't remember. All I know is that the conversation ended something like... "No, you don't need to interview. If you want the job you can have it. I need someone to keep me in line and you seem pretty spunky like my sister, so I think you'll do great!" It wasn't long before Vanderbilt Catholic became my new home and love.
Fr. Baker helped Patrick and I through the miscarriage of our first baby, he courageously put up with the deathly morning sickness I had with Gabriel, he brought us the Eucharist while I was in labor, he baptized our first baby, and got through a 2nd pregnancy, baby and maternity leave... all the while being patient and supportive. When he made his vow of celibacy I am not sure that he ever expected to have had so much experience with all this baby stuff!
I will so miss my job. I will not miss the database, the people from Hillmont at meal time or leaving my sweet boys at home while I go to work, but I will surely miss the hustle and bustle of the Frassati House around 4pm on any given day, the number of people I watch walk into the chapel to pray, the number of souls I watch walk into his office for Confession, and the times I see how the sacramental life at Vanderbilt... thanks to Fr. Baker... introduce Jesus Christ to more souls every day. Jesus was right next to my office every day I worked. It was such a gift. I am so grateful for it.
I have been so blessed to be on the inside of this operation. It is truly a gift God has given me for my life... to have worked so closely with such a faithful, holy priest. Thank you, Fr. Baker, first for your fidelity. I have learned to love better and bigger in my marriage after watching how you love your Bride, the Church. Thank you for being a father to me... for always being concerned about me, my family, my spiritual well being, for hearing my Confession any time I asked (even though you are always so busy) and for teaching me with your life the necessity of Christ in mine. Thank you for being an example to my husband and for loving my children.
Forgive me... for never being on time, for stuffing the desk drawers with oreos when I was pregnant, and for double booking you a few times. Yikes.
Thank you for allowing me to serve in this mission with Vanderbilt Catholic to bring Jesus to more souls. After fighting the fact that it was God's will for me to work part time even after having two babies, I have surely now fought the fact that it's God's will for me leave. I promise to visit. I promise to answer my phone if you forget where I keep something, but most of all I promise to pray for you and your vocation as a priest. Thank you for the gift of your priesthood. I have to say that, after spending the past 3 years with you and watching the joy that comes with your vocation, I would be the proudest mommy ever to have a son who was a priest. God Bless you! Pray for me. I'm gonna need it. And always remember that all shall be well...