And The Wolf Turned Into A Butterfly
When I was a teenager, I worked at a summer camp called Anglican Island. It was some of the greatest summers of my life. Getting paid to live away from home, at a camp and resort on Lake of The Woods. On top of all that, I made some of the best friends I have ever had. Most of us are still in touch one way or another to this day. Some of us are very close. But all of us, I think, would be there for one another in the blink of an eye when needed.
These people that came into my life in the summer of 1994 are part of a community that expanded into spiritual weekends held during the winter months, church services, dances, and regular social activities. It wasn’t culty. It wasn’t weird. It was a community full of love and fun and shared faith. And we all grew up together, and supported each other through the hard times and the easy ones.
At the center of this community was a man named Jim Wolf. He was a large, burly man with a beard and a slightly bent over walk. From afar he looked like any regular person. Up close, he had the kindest, warmest eyes I have ever known. Despite his size, his demeanor was gentle, and full of understanding. He could listen and interact with a bunch of teenagers and twenty somethings and never get bored. He never made you feel like your problem was too small to be heard. He was full of love, and made you feel so.
I swear, when Jesus said we should be more like Him, Jim Wolf listened. He walked the walk and talked the talk. He suffered his own personal tragedies, and it never changed him from what we all knew him to be.
I think its amazing when any adult is able to positively impact the lives of so many young people, but even more so when it is a priest. What group of teenagers wants to hang out with a middle aged priest?
We did. He became a significant adult in our lives that we could confide in. That we could turn to without ever feeling judged. And who always had an anecdote or piece of advice that made sense to us. We loved him like a parent.
And now, two days after this world has lost a soul that truly made it a better place, I find myself deeply sad and reminiscent of the time I spent with him in my life. I find myself grateful to have known him. And regretful to not have seen him for many years.
Our world was better with you in it. You will be deeply missed, Jim. Our hearts are heavy today, but yours is light. You finally are reaping the rewards of all the good you have done for so many. You used to talk about metanoia. How we needed to change into (metaphorical) butterflies for our faith to be complete . You helped us change for the better.
Your metanoia is complete….so fly butterfly, fly.