Luke 2:16-21

“Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.”

Last night as I walked in Golden Gate Park talking, giving socks, and food, but mainly listening, I pondered  how fragile each person I hung with is. Some one told me recently, “You handled the death of your son well,” and I thought how stupid. Zac is always with me, in each person in whose eyes  I look, each person I feed, each person I spend time with, he is present. I was so young when he was conceived, and missed so many years with him, and had so few when I found him, but he is always present.

My brother is always present. I remember so many years ago when he was killed a minister friend telling me I would be making a number of choices–either stay in my narrow world of a local church or I would simply bust out, be wild. He had a friend who had lost his son, and he became a car racer, and I became the priest who lives on the edge, whose friends are wild and feral, and in many ways like I am. I pondered Stacy in my heart last night.

I became ill, chills, and as I headed home I pondered with a lot of guilt how lucky I am–I have a home to go to, an electric blanket to sleep under, health insurance to take care of me, and these guys in the Park have nothing.

I pondered this past year, and the struggle with injury and the depression, the rejection of a number of people, the intense loneliness, and in that there was always the presence of Christ, sometimes in the form of the Virgin Mary, and in the form of Matt, Jacob,, Brandon, Aaron, Jonathan, Edwin, Cindy, Karen, Vicki, Kevin,  Mary, David, and others who reached out.  I understand this is where I am supposed to me and I walk to the road to which I am called, regardless of the consequences to myself. The Angel of Death flutters around me, and we are very good friends these days, but she is around, and until she takes me home, I am here.

I was recently called by a person wanting to talk to me about being given a reward, and I just laughed. I told her, my name is followed by so many letters now, and all they are are simply letters, what defines me, gives me meaning   is giving a cup of water, a pair of socks, a smile, and listening, that is all that matters. My ego is big enough as it is, and I would love to knock it down more, so no, give it to someone else.

As I pondered last night as my fever rose, I saw the cross on my bookshelf, the flickering of Our Lady of Guadalupe Candle and to me that is all that matters any more. To follow the One who could care less about anything accept us, who loves us, and gives us grace. All else is nothing.  We are called to love, to love inclusively, and that is what I will attempt to do. Only Christ matters, and following him his way of love.

Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Fr. River Damien Sims, sfw, D.Min., D.S.T.

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164



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