Search This Blog

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Dog Bite, Que Pasa USA and the Summer Olympics…

Pretty scary night...
We had quite a scare last Friday night.

We were heading to grab a quick dinner, before going back home to watch the opening ceremonies of the Summer Olympics and, on our way, stopped for a minute at my wife’s aunt’s house to say goodbye to her cousin and her kids, who were here on vacation but were heading home to Virginia the next day.

Well, our night turned almost as frightening as the opening ceremonies. My soon to be five-year-old son went to say goodbye to their dog (a Cocker/ Springer Spaniel mix) and the dog snapped at him, biting him in the face.

The dog’s teeth caught him just below the right eye (thanks to God it missed) down to the upper lip. One of the canines actually punctured the skin just above the lip and went through into his mouth, drawing blood.

Needless to say, the happy farewell turned into a scene from Que Pasa USA. It was mayhem; blood, people scrambling in all directions, hysterical crying (and that doesn’t include my son), my seven-year-old daughter freaking out, concerns about blood dripping on shirts (me!), ice packs, gauzes, etc. All that was missing was a fight breaking out between Abuela and Carmensita.

We had to rush to Miami Children’s Hospital, where we spent the next three and a half hours watching the opening ceremonies in the emergency room and, later, the room, where my son was treated (which, aside from the skit of the Queen jumping from an airplane with James Bond and Sir Paul’s appearance, were as dreary as our night!). Fun times!

On the bright side, the ER doctors told us that, as far as dog bites go, this was one of the more moderate ones that they have seen in recent months.

By the time we left the hospital, we were all starving and ended up having dinner at a Latin America Restaurant at about 11pm at night. Strangely, despite getting there at that time of the night with three kids, nobody even raised an eyebrow. I guess there are a lot of us irresponsible parents in Miami!

Anyway, fortunately, after the initial shock wore down, it doesn't appear that my son suffered any lasting effects from the bite. Aside from wanting us to tell everyone at the restaurant that he had been bitten by a dog and survived! (Battle-scar-pride even so young!), all he kept saying was that Ringo was a "bad boy." (The dog, not the Beetle but I'm sure, at times, he can be too!)

My biggest concern was that it would make him afraid of dogs, which he loves, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. Sunday night, as we watched a commercial with a dog during the Olympics, he asked when we were getting a new dog (our dogs died a couple of years ago); so, much for lasting effects.

It is also amazing how fast a child’s skin regenerates. Four days later, between the oral antibiotics and a topical cream, the wounds are healing incredibly well and, aside from what looks like a light scratch on his face and minor swelling, you can hardly tell.

Thank you, God...


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Summer Under the Big Tent in Sanibel Gives Life Meaning...

The tent is where it's at...
There’s nothing like good food and libations to bring a family together (Then again, even bad food with good libations works just as well). Add the sun, the beach, a tent and, this year, even a volleyball net, and it’s our annual family vacation at Sanibel Island Beach in the Gulf Coast of Florida.

Alright, I must admit, despite living in South Florida, it’s probably one of the few times of the year that I venture onto a beach.  I hate sand!  I hate being in wet sticky clothes and lugging around beach chairs, an umbrella, a cooler and plastic beach toys.  And, I'm not exactly partial to the sun; although I usually end up looking like an old black-face minstrel act by the last day!  (Then again, what else can you expect under the big tent?) 

Nevertheless, I guess it's a small price to pay to spend quality time with my wife, kids, extended family, including my parents, and several close friends.

As a matter of fact, unlike the first couple of years, where I would get bored just relaxing and doing nothing but reading, conversing, eating and drinking (if you could imagine that!), and preferred hanging out indoors in the air conditioner and out of the sun (Sanibel is hot!), after fifteen years of going with my wife's family, and more recently, since my kids were born, with my parents, I've grown to love just kicking back under the big tent; enjoying a constant flow of fresh caught fish fry, pan con lechon, bocaditos con pastica, pigs in a blanket, tostones, brie with guava and crackers, and my wife’s uncle’s famous Miami Wamis (a delicious rum concoction that has become synonymous with the annual trip for decades).

Needless to say, the kids love it. They practically get unbridled independence (although that may be overstated since there are always plenty of adults to keep an eye on them) and spend time swimming, playing with their cousins and friends, riding on my wife's cousin's boat, canoeing or, this year, paddle boarding, having sleepovers, and staying up late.

It kind of reminds me of my summers with my cousins at the Jefferson Hotel in Miami Beach (although we were a little more mischievous). Aside from the endless hours diving, swimming and doing cannonballs and can opener jumps in the pool (I always hated sand!), I remember many hours of causing havoc running around the Jefferson (where we stayed every year before it burned down and was replaced by a restaurant and shopping plaza), playing tag, hide-and-go-seek and making noise into the late hours of the night.  We were often told to pipe it down by the hotel staff!

Even worse, I recall running through our hotel and neighboring hotel hallways playing ding-dong ditch (although we called it by its less politically correct name) and twice forcing the evacuation of  buildings by ringing the fire alarms (It was my cousin's idea!).

In any case, at least so far, our kids are more innocent.

The weather was better than usual this year; instead of the daily afternoon shower, we only had one afternoon and another morning washed out because of rain.

Like every year, my wife took the week to prove to the world (and her family and me) that she is in better shape than women half her age.  Every morning, she got up at 7am and went out to run, anywhere from five to eight miles, depending on the day, then got back to our beachfront apartment and did an exercise video; all before breakfast!

Meanwhile, I caught up on lost sleep and, when she would get back, I had a chance to attend daily Mass, which because of a change in my work schedule, I haven't been able to do since April; so it was fine by me.

In fact, aside from my mother telling me I reminded her of my fat uncle coming out of the water one day, things couldn’t have been better (that’s the thing about family; you get the brutal truth whether you want to hear it or not!).

Although, we didn't do our annual bike trek to Captiva Island, and my brother, who is working in Oregon, and sister-in-law, who is walking the Way of St. James pilgrimage with her husband through Spain for her 40th birthday (Oops, should I have volunteered her age?), were not there this year, and I never went on a romantic walk with my wife to the historic Sanibel lighthouse like we do every year, we did have our traditional cousins' dinner (my wife's cousins, spouses and good friends sans kids), which was an amazing meal at the Mad Hatter in Captiva.

I had the scallops, which were outstanding and practically melted in my mouth, although I could have eaten at least one more than the three on the plate and, at least, another mini ice-cream-size scoop of mashed potatoes than the one they served me! Fortunately for me, my wife left her yucca fries side on her filet mignon dish, which I devoured before she had a chance to change her mind! (Hey, it’s not easy maintaining that robust uncle-esque figure!)

By all accounts, it was a wonderful week.  At one point, my son was lying in a puddle of water (created by the low tide), like if he were contemplating the meaning of life, my younger daughter was reading a book under an umbrella next to my wife, who was also reading, my oldest daughter was with a cousin in the water, and I had a Corona in my hand and The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene in the other.  I thought, “This is what life is all about!” In fact, if I had a third hand to hold a cigar, it would have been perfect!

On Sunday, after returning from our trip, my family and I were sitting at Mass and, during the homily, our pastor reflected on the passage in the Gospel of Mark, where the Apostles had just returned from having spent weeks walking throughout the region proclaiming the kingdom with nothing but the clothes on their backs and the sandles on their feet and Jesus tells them, "Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while." 

The priest pointed out that in today's world, we are often overwhelmed and bombarded by distractions and noise; TV, computers, cell phones, emails, Facebook, Twitter, work, sresponsibilities, etc. (not to mention; people emailing their blogs!) that keep us busy but separate us from God.

We seem to always be rushing here or there and usually never have enough time to disconnect to a deserted place, as Christ suggested, to just get away from it all and rest, pray, spend quite time alone with our thoughts and allow the Holy Spirit to work within us. Then, he went on to say something that, although not original, brought our week-long vacation with my family home to me; "Work to live and not live to work."

The homily reminded me of a quote by sixteenth century statesman and martyr,  St. Thomas More, who once wrote, "The ordinary acts we practice everyday at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest." 

Therefore, no matter how hot the sun may be or how much I hate the sand and lugging beach chairs and plastic toys, that week with my family and friends, where I disconnect from the world and just try to focus on them and my thoughts, is more than just the eating, drinking and relaxing that we do under the big tent.  It's a profound therapy for my body and soul and chance to live the gospel by spending time in a deserted place focusing on my family and God.  I can't wait until next year!...

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Paya: More than Just a Voice Crying in the Cuban Wilderness...

Audience with Pope John Paul II 
Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."

He could well have been referring to Cuba's opposition leader Oswaldo Paya, who like King, was a symbol of unwavering faith in God and of peaceful activism for a civil and just society.

At the age of 16, while serving a mandatory military stint under Cuba’s Communist regime, Paya refused to transport political prisoners, defying the orders of his superiors. The incident, despite his convictions, didn’t go over too well and earned him three years at a hard labor camp.

It was the first of many run-ins, arguably the most widely recognized and renowned human rights activist in Cuba’s opposition movement would have with the dictatorship and epitomizes the life of faith, principals, humility and deep sense of compassion for others, especially the oppressed in his homeland, that Paya lived from an early age. 

Tuesday morning, before the arrests of dozens of demonstrators, who started chanting, "Freedom!," during the funeral procession to the cemetery, hundreds of family, friends, and supporters crowded into the Savior of the World Catholic Church in Havana to remember that life and say a final farewell to this tireless voice for human dignity and peaceful transition on the island; who died under suspicious circumstances at the age of 60, along with another dissident, Harold Cepero, when the car they were traveling in with two foreign activists went off the road and plowed into a tree on Sunday afternoon.

According to reports, the Mass in his home-parish in the neighborhood of El Cerro, where Paya was baptized, confirmed, married and had been actively involved as a catechist and church council member, was full to capacity.

A letter of condolences by Pope Benedict XVI to Paya's wife, Ofelia Acevedo, and three adult children was read during the liturgical ceremony, which was celebrated by Cuban Cardinal Jaime Ortega and other clergy from the parish.

In a press release, Archbishop of Miami Thomas Wenski, who met and had held several conversations with Paya through the years, stated:

Cuba and the world mourn Oswaldo PayĆ”. The unexpected and tragic death of this human rights activist is certainly a blow and a setback for Cuba's small civil society; yet, his example and his courage will continue to inspire those both inside and outside of Cuba who work and struggle for a peaceful but real transition in Cuba to a democratic form of government in which both human rights and the rule of law are protected. Oswaldo PayĆ” was both a patriot and a committed Catholic layman: his vision for Cuba was founded as much in Catholic social teachings as in the thought of Felix Varela and Jose Marti. As a man of Christian faith he was not afraid to witness to hope in charity and in truth.
Paya gained international recognition when he founded a grass-root movement, called the Christian Liberation Movement, that drafted and spearheaded the Proyecto Varela, which called for a public referendum, among other things, to guarantee free elections, freedom of speech, of the press, of enterprise and amnesty for political prisoners in 2002.  The initiative was named after revered 19th Century Cuban priest Fr. Felix Varela,

Despite threats and constant harassment from the government, including being put under constant surveillance, arrests and repudiation rallies in front of his house, the group managed to collect over 25,000 signatures from average Cuban citizens, including 14,000 after forty of Paya's colleagues were arrested in what became known as the “Black Spring,” where seventy-five men were arrested under trumped up charges of violating national sovereignty and were sentenced to 12-28 years in prison in 2003.

The signatures were presented to the Castro government, who immediately rejected them.

Not long after, he was honored with the European Parliament’s prestigious Sakharov award for human rights, and received several other international honors, including in the U.S., where he was awarded the W. Averell Harriman Prize by the National Democratic Institute and an honorary Doctorate Degree of Law from Columbia University, and met with several presidents, prime ministers and government officials from around the world. He was also nominated at least four times for a Noble Peace Prize.

However, most of those who knew him well say Paya was, above all, a devout Catholic, husband and father.

He once said of his initiative, "The rights that we demand in the Varela Project are enunciated in the constitution.  But, we also have them because we are human beings; sons of God.  And, because of that, we will continue demanding them for all Cubans, with the faith that we will achieve them."

In the Book of Sirach, it states, "Call no man happy before his death, for by how he ends, a man is known."  Obviously, despite the tragic ending to his life on earth, Paya's true measure is the hope he brought to so many people, and going back to the MLK quote, in his relentless and tireless efforts for the sake of his countrymen, despite the hardships that he and his family may have had to endure.

Farewell to a great man, who will always be remembered in the hearts of Cubans in and out of the island...

Monday, July 16, 2012

After Brush with Scientology, Katie Holmes Comes Home...

Back aboard the Ark of Peter?
Word from several news outlets that Katie Holmes is returning to the Roman Catholic Church, where she was raised before marrying superstar Scientologist Tom Cruise, has been causing a stir in the entertainment community and on the Internet since early last week.

According to reports, the 33-year-old actress has registered as a parishioner at the historic Church of St. Francis Xavier in New York City, which dates back to 1847, and enrolled her six-year-old daughter, Suri, in the Convent of the Sacred Heart, an all-girl Catholic school.

Church officials are not commenting on the matter and neither is Holmes but there have been unnamed sources that have confirmed the information to the press.

Holmes was baptized Catholic, attended Christ the King Church in Toledo, Ohio, and graduated from the all-girl Catholic high school,  Notre Dame Academy, where she earned a 4.0 grade point average.

Although it has never been clear if Holmes fully embraced the beliefs of the Church of Scientology, she did marry Cruise, himself a former Catholic, in a Scientology ceremony in Italy in 2006.

However, according to press reports, the reason for the abrupt divorce, was that Holmes feared the couple's daughter would be indoctrinated into Scientology and was concerned for her safety.

Their divorce was announced last week after a settlement was reached, where reportedly one of the conditions was that Suri would live with Holmes and be raised in her faith.

In fact, reports indicate Holmes was so adamant about keeping her daughter away from Scientology that she insisted on an "ironclad" clause that would prevent Cruise from taking Suri, not only to any of the organization's churches or centers but, to parties, if they have any link to Scientology.

The Church of Scientology has been under the microscope over the last several years, including an FBI investigation into alleged mental and physical abuse of people who want to leave.

In fact, a 2011 New Yorker magazine expose revealed that defectors are regularly hunted down and placed into "reeducation" camps sometimes for years, according to former members.

The in-depth 24-thousand-words-plus story highlighted the case of Hollywood director and screenwriter Paul Haggis, of Million Dollar Baby and Crash fame, who after nearly 35 years in the church, founded by followers of science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard in 1954, and which boasts a large following in Hollywood including Cruise, John Travolta, Kristie Alley and Anne Archer, among many others, left it in 2009, because, of all things, the church supported California's Proposition 8 that stated marriage should be between a man and a woman.

Haggis' resignation came after reading a St. Petersburg Times investigation, which reported that executives in the sect were subjecting other Scientologists to physical and psychological abuse, and, after a bit of soul searching and coming to terms with a slew of inconsistencies and doubts he had encountered over the years, including the fact that Scientologists are encouraged to "disconnect" from family and friends, who were critical of the sect (Haggis' own wife was forced to break relations with her parents because of something trivial done 25 years prior), he resigned.

In any event, according to close friends, Holmes had to plan her break from the church carefully so that no one would find out and have a chance to stop her.

Whether all this played a roll in her break up with Cruise is yet to be determined but what is known is that the actress left him and now is apparently coming home to Rome, as they say.

And since, according to Roman Catholic beliefs, once a Christian receives the sacraments of initiation; Baptism, Confirmation and First Holy Communion, as Holmes most likely received during her childhood, they have been marked for life; and since, the Catholic Church also teaches that Jesus gave His Apostles, and their descendants, the power to forgive sins; then for Holmes, it may be just be a matter of repenting and going to confession in order to be restored into the full sacramental life of the Church.

Furthermore, considering its gnostic and cult-like qualities and practices, such as believing one can ascend into a higher state of being (interestingly, according to Scientology, Tom Cruise, and many others like him, have reached a higher state of being than Jesus Christ had!) and the belief in reincarnation, Holmes may be able to follow in the footsteps of Cruise's second wife, Nicole Kidman, who apparently got an annulment from the Mission Impossible star (ironic considering this is his third divorce) and later married in the Catholic Church.

In any case, if the stories are true; welcome home, Katie Holmes...

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Ageing, Marriage Woes and Happy Endings...

Formal Wear?...
Sometime around mid-morning on a recent Sunday, after stopping for some pastelitos at Ricky Bakery (which may not have been the best choice after failing to fit into my tuxedo for a black-tie affair the previous night), as we headed to pick up our kids for lunch in Key Biscayne, where they had stayed for the weekend, I turned to my wife, put my arms around her ever so gently, looked into her eyes and said in earnest, “We’re not spring chickens anymore!”

On another day, she may have taken exception to my comment and shot back, “Speak for yourself!” After all, despite having had three kids, she is weighing as much as she did when we first got married 14 years ago, has run a marathon, two half marathons and competed in several triathlons (Meanwhile, I play softball once a year!).

But, on this morning, she reluctantly conceded, “No, we’re not.” And that may have been an understatement, after two nights of overindulging in food and drink, some soul searching, dancing and rock-and-rolling.

Heck, at this point in our lives, we may be more like an autumn hen and an old rooster (to avoid using the other term that rhymes with mock, although I’m sure she would say I can be that at times too), who nevertheless still has some crow left, if you know what I mean!

In any case, it promised to be a fabulous weekend. We were sending the kids away because we had a busy weekend planned and my mother-in-law offered to take them so they could go to the beach.  As the guy in the Guinness Beer commercials says, "Brilliant!"

It was perfect. We had not sent them away for a weekend for quite some time.  So, I thought, we would stay out late, sleep in and spend some quality time alone (wink, wink); just like the “good old days.”

And I can honestly say, for the most part, it was a fabulous weekend. Only, it wasn’t as I had envisioned or remembered the "good old days" to be.

Friday night, we went to a dinner party/meeting of our marriage covenant group, which usually meets once a month but, because of one thing or another, we had not attended in several months, including to the yearly scavenger hunt, which we truly enjoy!

To throw in a plug for our marriage covenant group, the meetings are always a lot of fun.  It gives us an opportunity to spend time with other like-minded couples, who we admire, and share in our commitment to God, our marriages and our families (in that order, since without God, we have no marriage and without marriage, we have no family), in a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere, where we normally participate in exercises and activities to help us improve our relationships; especially our communication, which most experts agree is the key to a successful marriage.

Moreover, the outings give my wife and me a chance to focus on each other and just talk, without the constant interruptions from our kids.

And, it could not have come at a better time for us.

It’s funny, as I said, after 14 years of marriage, it is easy to get into a funk and just start going through the motions. We get so wrapped up in our kids’ lives, work, chores and responsibilities that we sometimes neglect what should be the most important human relationship we have; our spouse.

And, as can be expected, when we don’t make time for each other and go out on “dates,” as we have always done throughout our marriage up until recently, it’s easy to neglect each other, and as a result, our communication suffers.  Sooner or later, frustration builds and we start arguing over sometimes trivial or not-so-trivial things.

Leading up to Friday’s meeting; we had spent several weeks at that point and so, the dinner party was God-sent; literally speaking. 

We even played a communication game, where we broke off into individual couples and randomly selected “feelings” from a list compiled by author Gary Chapman, of The 5 Love Languages fame, and had to express to our spouse when we had felt that way recently and when we could recall feeling that way for the first time when we were kids.  It’s an exercise meant to help us express our feelings, reflect on our pasts and learn a little more about each other. It worked!

My words were “fascinated” and “lucky,” which after our great conversation and the exercise; I was hoping to get when we got home! Meanwhile, one of my wife’s words was “coy.” Hmmm.

Anyway, between mingling with friends and talking to each other, we probably drank a little more wine than St. Paul suggested that Timothy should drink to relieve his ailments.

By the time we got home and went to sleep, it was past midnight.  

It’s amazing how romantically you envision a weekend of sleeping in and resting without little feet coming to interrupt your slumber in the early morning hours and then reality sets in. 

The truth of the matter is that now, in my late 40’s, and with my body being used to waking up before the crack of dawn every day, I can’t sleep in! No matter how late we go to bed or how hung over I may feel (as a night of drinking non-stop wine has a tendency to do to me), I wake up early anyway.  Isn't that a sure sign of ageing?

I reluctantly got up and realized I was in time to make it to morning Mass and, when I got home, my wife was already up so we went to breakfast.  Then we went our separate ways to run errands for a wedding that we were attending that night.  

She needed to buy a bag to wrap the gift we had gotten and then had a hair appointment, and I had to get the car washed (our version of romance is no longer walking around Paris in the rain, as we did in our honeymoon, although, in the coldness of March, it wasn't what it was cracked up to be anyway!).

That night as I am getting ready for the black-tie wedding, I quickly realize I should have tried my tux on beforehand and not waited until an hour before we had to be at the church.  The pants needed about two inches to be able to buckle!  And, after trying on a couple of other suits that didn't fit either, I had to wear a sports jacket and a pair of slacks. Nice formal wear!  (At least, my wife thought I looked nice)

Nevertheless, there's something about weddings that always gets me nostalgic.  As I sat there at the church, I couldn’t help but think about our weddings; our civil nuptials fourteen years ago and then our church wedding ten years later, especially when the couple started saying their vows.  In fact, the groom appeared to choke up while saying his lines and, caught up in the moment, I did too. 

Anyway, it was a wonderful ceremony.  The Congregational Minister kept it lighthearted, and though at times may have taken the center of attention from the couple getting married, the ceremony itself was at times emotional and inspiring.

In fact, the first reading from the Bible was one that we used during our church wedding, which is from St. Paul's letter to the Ephesians, and one of my favorites versus, which states, "Husbands love your wives even as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her..."

The second reading was another staple at weddings, St. Paul's description of love in his first letter to the Corinthians, which unfortunately, many couples forget after their wedding day, which states "Love is patient.  Love is kind.  It is not jealous, pompous or inflated.  It is not rude, or seeks its own interests... It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things."

After the ceremony, as we were walking out, we ran into an old friend, whose first words to us was, "I love you guys.  You're so cute together.  You are an inspiration to all married couples."  That's a pretty powerful comment.  It would be the first of several compliments we would hear that night.  

We went to the reception at an upscale hotel in Coconut Grove and, amid mingling with new and old friends, laughing, taking pictures and conspiring to attract the waiters and waitresses passing the appetizers around the room, we started drinking.  My wife was having Apple Martinis and I was having Johnnie Walker Black on the rocks.

Somewhere, during the extended cocktail hour, we got another compliment from a single woman who used to work with me, "You guys give me hope."      

By the time we were let into the ballroom for dinner, and about three drinks into the night, we already feeling "happy."

In other words, if we were around during the Wedding at Cana with Jesus and the Apostles, we might have been responsible for the wine running short (since they didn't have Johnnie Black back then), and probably drank more than our share of one of those 20-30 gallons stone jars that the Lord turned into wine.

As Fulton Sheen once said, "You gotta love a guy whose first miracle was to keep the party going!" 

On any account, we had a blast.  As a matter of fact, they couldn't get the fat dude with the sports coat (me) off the dance floor.  At one point, I was dancing by myself because my wife took a breather to have dessert.

Sometime, between a salsa and a Luis Miguel ballad, a co-worker came up to us and said, "You guys are amazing.  I want to be just like you one day." 

It was the topper on a night full of joy, hope and love (not only for the wedding couple but for us!).

At about 11pm, I noticed a text message from a friend who told me that he and his wife and several other of our friends were at Taurus Bar, which was only a few blocks away, where they had gone to watch another friend, who is a lawyer by day and a singer in a rock-and-roll band by night, perform. We decided to join them and continued the party until finally getting home at about 2am.

On Sunday, as we headed to pick up the kids, we were hurting.  

In retrospect, I guess it was like the good old days, with “old” being the operative word.  But, while we will never be spring chickens anymore and, I may never fit into my tux again, our relationship may actually be getting better (to keep the theme going; like fine wine).  What struck me most about the night, as I thought about it later in the week, was the many compliments that we got about our marriage.  

In other words, despite any struggle and funk we may get into, we serve as an example to others, like those who serve as an example to us in our marriage covenant group.  And, in a society, where many couples are opting for the easy way out, and may be unwilling to make sacrifices during difficult times, it is a great responsibility.

Therefore, no matter what we may be going through, what I think makes our friends admire our relationship is that our love for one another shines through. And going back to the words of St. Paul to the Corinthians, love is patient, kind and selfless (which we may not have mastered yet), but most of all, it bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things...