At first I posted this as "there are no words". Maybe that's true, but now another day I realize that there are many words and maybe I was just taking the easy way out by not telling just a bit of this story. For it is worth telling.
You see, when I met Father Bob I was just 18. I had recently graduated High School and moved to college. I had everything figured out. I knew what I wanted to be, how to become that. I was happy but shy. Fulfilled in my wonderful childhood, but devastated that that part was over. I didn't know until I got to college and moved in that my mom and dad driving away would be the hardest thing I had ever faced. I know that sounds innocent but I loved home. I loved my family, and in those first few weeks there were times I thought I couldn't breathe. I can smile about that now because God had a plan. I knew my happy little life was shaken a bit. I knew I ached from homesickness and longed to just hear my parents voice on the one pay phone in the middle of the hallway.
And then I met Father Bob. One Mass and I knew I had found my place on campus. Yes, others find sororities and drinking buddies; I found my Catholicism in a new a profound way.
The story is long (19 years now I've known Father Bob) but he has blessed my life in wonderful ways. I am grateful to him and his gentle direction over those 4 years at college and many beyond.
Maybe one day I'll have the chance to scan all of the pictures I have of us together and tell more about my sweet journey with him. For now it simply brings tears to my eyes when I see him with my girls. How happy I am that he knows them.
And yes, I know there are hundreds that feel this way about this priest, Father Bob. Maybe I feel like Scott and I have that special bond after all these years. Perhaps we do, but I know that is part of (for lack of a better word that I can't find right now) his magic. Everyone feels this way. Just 5 minutes with Father Bob and you are blessed.
So with tears in my eyes, thank you Father Bob for all that you've done, all that you are to me, to all of your "kids" from Wescon, to the many at CUA, and now to the very lucky families at your home parish. We are so glad you are just a short drive away.
Father Bob meeting Anna for the first time. September 2004 at Ryan and Shelia's wedding.