Thursday, March 28, 2013

Call Me Michael

My dad's full name was Robert Michael Zelenka. My name is Michael Robert Zelenka.

Call me Michael.

I love my name. I love that my first name was my dad's middle name. And as his middle name it is a part of his name that wasn't shortened. Some people knew my dad as Bob and some from his childhood even continued to call him Bobby even up to the point of his funeral. But Michael was never adulterated. It was always Michael.

Call me Michael.

I love that my name means "He who is like God." I know that I am the furthest thing from being like God. Like St. John the Baptist and St. Paul, I, too, am unfit to even touch Christ's sandal. But, when I think about God as our Father, especially when I consider my own father in relation to the Father, I love the symbolism behind my name - I am like my fathers.

I turned 34 today. Back when my father first passed away I had many and various ideas about how I would like the death of my father to be marked in my life. I still have a list of ways that I want to be sure that I'm different, forever changed because of his death. One of those ways was to use my full name - Michael.

I have other ideas - I want to communicate with people, especially those I love, more and more effectively. I want to pray more often. I want to ensure that I set aside even more time to strengthen my marriage to the most wonderful woman in the world (I love you, Emily). I want to schedule out my time so as to create a healthy balance between work, home, and my personal life that tips in favor of my family.

I wanted to ensure that I was a better man because of the fact that my dad was my dad. I wanted to accomplish, in typical fashion for me, all of this by March 28. Be done with grieving. Be a better dad, more loving husband, more loyal friend. In less than four months. New life isn't even created that quickly.

But, transformations are possible with God. Tomorrow may be Friday. It may be the end of the story for characters like Pilate and Judas, but it isn't for Peter and Joseph of Arimathea and Mary and the other women and disciples and it isn't the end for Jesus either. Sunday and the Resurrection are coming. Jesus is transformed. Peter is transformed. We can be transformed. Made new. Given new life. Given new purpose. Given a new name.

Paul was knocked off of a horse. Peter received his call in a boat. My father died.

It may be Friday, but Sunday's coming. Let this Sunday not only start a new week and a new liturgical season but may it also start a new you, a better you, the you that you were created to be.

The story doesn't end in death. Yours doesn't either. Neither does mine.

Call me Michael.