Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to another Grateful Heart Monday, a time for sharing a slice of gratitude from my life, which for today is for my good friend Frank, who just so also happens to be a priest of over 40 years.

Being that I’m not Catholic and never have been, it’s almost strange to think that one of my closest friends from this area is a priest, and in his late 70’s at that. How we met actually came under some pretty sad circumstances though in that one of his nephews happened to also be one of my first sponsees here, who tragically overdosed back in the summer of 2014. I spoke at his nephew’s funeral, after which he and I got to talking, where his initial interest was to have me speak in his town about alcohol and drug addiction. While that speaking engagement never quite came to fruition, what did was an unexpected friendship with someone who has ever since become a pretty close buddy in my life.

Frank is one of those friends you can share anything with and trust it will remain with him and him only. In today’s day and age, where gossip seems to be the norm for far too many people, Frank values and respects the privacy of others at a very deep level. I’m sure his long-standing service as a priest has led to such a good personal attribute, but in all reality, I tend to believe it’s just in his nature to be this way.

Frank is also an extremely generous guy. From the start he initially consistently wanted to treat me to any of the meals we had together. Eventually we settled on alternating who treats who, yet time and time again, he’s usually the first person to offer to pick up the tab when circumstances arise for a guest to join us. But his generosity doesn’t stop there, as Frank is also extremely generous with his time. I’ve seen him volunteer on a number of fundraisers for good causes even though he’s now retired. He continues to do several services a week in his spare time as well and in addition, frequently visits people in their homes, travels long distances just to see a friend who’s incarcerated, regularly offers personal counseling for anyone who may need it, presides over many funerals and weddings, and a lot more. If anything, I think Frank is probably going to be of service until his body won’t let him anymore, as it’s just who he is. Oddly enough, Frank even still takes large groups of people on tours to places like Germany and Italy, where there he provides his groups a wealth of knowledge on the various tours they embark upon.

But, the biggest thing I treasure about Frank, that thing I’m most grateful for when it comes to him, is that I know he would be there for me in any dire circumstance. He’s told me I’d have a place to stay if I ever became homeless, would visit me if I somehow landed a stint in the hospital, provided a shoulder for me to cry on countless times, and has continued to pray for me multiple times a day for years now, all because of my longstanding bout with physical pain and suffering.

While I know that the Catholic church and priests in general haven’t had the best of reputation in the past decade or two with all the scandals that have arisen, I can promise you that my friend Frank is someone who stands far apart from all of that. Frank has been a loyal servant of God and given himself to the Lord more than anyone I’ve ever personally known. It’s a big reason why I’m so proud to call Frank one of my dearest friends and am very thankful that God brought him into my life here, as he truly has helped to curb some of the feeling of loneliness and depression I regularly feel inside.

So yes, I have plenty to be grateful for when it comes to my friend Frank, as much as I believe that God is very grateful for Frank too, as Frank is someone who definitely has helped to make this world a much better and brighter place to be in for what I can see has been the bulk of his life…

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson