My family and I were out in the Virginia country for a wedding. We took the minivan. Although us kids were becoming adults by this point, we still sat in the same positions we always had: Andrew and Emily in the captain seats in the middle row, me on the right side of the bucket seat in the back. I liked having my own space.
I was crying.
We had just attended the wedding of a friend of the family, the daughter of a couple that knew my parents from way back in their hippy days. I remember the reception but not the wedding. That and the weather.
Also, I remember meeting a man after the wedding in all the commotion after the newlyweds drove away. He introduced himself as Fr. Tom, and he said he knew my parents from way back in the day. He seemed very pleased to meet me, but I didn’t know why.
As we chatted, I noticed my parents watching from a few feet away. They didn’t join in the conversation–they just watched with expressions that I couldn’t place.
The reception was a short drive away, so we all piled into the minivan before long. Mom turned around from the passenger seat and said, “Jamey, do you know who that man was?”
I said, “Sure, he said his name was Fr. Tom.”
Mom nodded. “Do you remember him?”
Then it hit me. Fr. Tom. There’s only one Fr. Tom for me.
He was the man who facilitated my adoption. He was the man who heard my biological mother’s wish for me to go to a Catholic family. He was the man who knew my parents were considering adoption, and so he arranged the whole thing.
I hadn’t seen him since my parents picked me up in New York three days after I was born.
And so I cried.
Fr. Tom was the middle man for my life. He connected a little baby without a family to the boy that my parents would name Jamey. Baby Jamey, teenage Jamey, adult Jamey. Fr. Tom was the middle man between the most important event of my life–being born–and all the blessings that would follow.
I could type the word “grateful” a million times and it wouldn’t encapsulate the gratitude I feel for this man. In fact, simply due to the single act of connecting me to my parents, any e-mails I’ve received from Fr. Tom since that wedding have gone in the “family” folder in my e-mail inbox.
He died yesterday.
When I got the news, I didn’t know what to think or feel. Honestly, I didn’t think or feel much. Despite his significant impact on my life, I don’t know Fr. Tom well. And I knew he was sick–at least now he is no longer sick.
As I write this, though, the tears are flowing. Just like that short drive in the car after the wedding, the impact that Fr. Tom had on my life is hitting me in full force. Similar to yesterday’s entry about my mind being unable to comprehend certain levels of beauty, it’s tough for my mind to comprehend what he did for me.
Fr. Tom, thank you for being the middle man for my life. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Have there been any important middle men/women in your life? People that provided a key connection between one stage and another? Perhaps a teacher who took the time to write a recommendation, or a friend who got you an interview at your dream job. Let’s celebrate the middle men today.