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About that time with the cursing priest

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I was late. The morning started with this observation. I’d forgotten about an early morning event at a local church and needed to hurry if I was to make it at least close to the beginning.

I quickly dressed, asked for some help getting my daughter dressed, and left the house. Luckily, the Princess’s daycare was on the way to the venue.

I dropped her off and headed to the event. Of course, the teachers at the daycare were surprised by how early we were. Any time they see us before 9 am is a reason for a double take followed by a glance at the clock. Our early arrivals apparently alarm them.

At the venue, all ticket holders entered the church from the back entrance which faces the main parking lot. A greeter met us at the door. Two more sat at the front desk. Along the corridor to the main event area, more greeters welcomed us every thirty feet. I was tired of saying good morning by the time I reached the end of that hallway.

There were more people in the main sanctuary than I thought would attend. A pleasant surprise. I found a spot in the third row about two sections to the right of the podium, grabbed my pen and a journal, and prepared to be amazed.

Amazed, I was. It wasn’t the stories per se. It was his delivery. I marveled at the way Father Boyle weaved in and out of stories entertaining and educating along the way.

One minute, we were laughing. The next minute, we were nodding and writing notes. Then, he did it.

I looked around the room in search of another shocked expression. I saw none. I was so stunned by the comment, when I returned to my journal I’d forgotten the thought I was going to record.

Ten minutes later, it happened again! Did I just hear this priest curse? I searched the sanctuary for a second time. Still, no one in the audience seemed concerned but me.

Is that okay? Is it cool for clergy to do that? Does that mean I can? Obviously, I can. With this revelation, I now feel empowered to leave the occasional expletive in my talks if it serves my purpose. Usually, I keep them to myself cursing under my breath or in my head. Hell, I’d been wasting good material this entire time!

Okay, let me clear this up… Father Boyle explained in his follow up interview that he’d cleaned up his presentation that day because sometimes people would be so appalled by his word choice they’d leave in the middle of his speech. (Moderation is apparently a virtue for profanity usage. Who knew?)

Anyway, the point of this message is how stories carry a message better than details…

There was one story in particular about a homey named Mario that stood at to me. He was giving his first presentation and got choked up when a lady from the audience asked what his message was. He cried out of the love for his children whom he told the crowd he didn’t want to grow up like him. That was the answer he gave. 

“I just don’t want them to be like me.”

The lady from the audience who’d asked the question reminded him how loving, caring, and compassionate he was. And, that his children should want to be like him. More tears and emotion welled up in him as the full audience stood to their feet applauding the tattoed man in from of them telling his story to a room of strangers.

Father Greg filled his talk with stories just as memorable. He did the same in his book, Tattoos on the Heart, which documents his time building Homeboy Industries, a place for ex-gang members in Los Angeles to change their lives and their futures.

At the end of the event, I had two ideas underlined in my journal. Both centered on this final thought: God is exhausted. My bad. That’s not right. (You had to be there for that joke.) 

Don’t bore God with your life. That’s the thought to remember.

I mean that. Live a life worth writing about. Then, write about it. 

I bet you’ve had a good start. You’ve been through some stuff that others haven’t and you’ve survived.

Amen. Time to leverage your story like a shameless profanity slanging Jesuit priest. Click here to get started: 

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