Stories from this weekend are going to come in fragments--so here's one...
Before the wedding weekend, I can't say that I knew my sister's fiance well. In fact, I believe I had only met him once in passing at an event with lots of people. So I was glad to have a chance to spend an evening with him in Louisville just before he married my sister. He suggested that he introduce me, properly, to Kentucky Bourbon. What a great idea, I thought!
So we went downtown to a bar with a good selection and spent the first part of our night sampling a "flight" of about 9 fine bourbons. About half an ounce of each was poured into a sample glass and arrayed in front of us. By comparing them to each other we could discover all kinds of subtle distinctions and flavors. I realized, then, that my new brother is a connoisseur! I might have guessed this from the fact that he writes about things like art and food for a living, but I suppose one could write about those things without being a real connoisseur. Being a connoisseur is a disposition of the heart, a Tao of experiencing, that I greatly admire. I like fine things, too, but to be a connoisseur means also spending the time to really learn about the things you enjoy. It's closely tied to sacramental spirituality--in ability to see God in "stuff." Very incarnational. I remember saying to Bob after one memorable sip, "This tastes True." I kept thinking of memorable Single Malt Scotches I've enjoyed with Bede.
From there we went to the Maker's Mark Restaurant on 4th Street. We had another (smaller) flight of Bourbons and talked more about our lives and families and the kinds of things guys talk about to feel close. For supper I had an excellent salad and steak (Rare, of course). BTW, my new Brother-in-Law is far more sophisticated in his ideas about religion and spirituality than the average person. He clearly likes to think about the things that matter to him.
As we were walking back on 4th Street we came to a historical plaque that caught my eye:
in Louisville on the corner of Fourth and Walnut, in the middle of the shopping district, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all these people, that they were mine and I was theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers ... I have the immense joy of being human, a member of the race in which God himself became incarnate. As if the sorrows and stupidities of the human condition could overwhelm me, now that I realize what we all are. If only everybody could realize this! But it cannot be explained. there is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the Sun. (From Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander)
I was stunned. This is the very corner that my Spiritual Director, Bede, mentioned in his blog a week ago. Bede was talking about interconnectedness. How True does that taste?
So after that evening I feel like I know the guy in the way that guys know each other. He's a "good guy" I would say approvingly!