Anyone who knew Father Dan Begin knows why I bought this bottle of wine. I buy wine infrequently, and this bottle cost more money than I usually spend, but I couldn’t pass it up.
Father Dan’s habitual closing line to any missive was “Love you bunches.” I write in the book that pretty much anyone who received mail from him, probably including lawyers and repairmen, was loved bunches.
You didn’t have to do much at all to be loved bunches. That was the thing. We all thought we were his favorite, but his love was all inclusive. It’s a bitter pill. He loved all of us, even people I had no use for—even those people, Father Dan loved bunches.
It didn’t mean nobody annoyed him. It’s just that he figured out a way to love the annoying ones, too. He worked out ways to find them sympathetic or funny or interesting. And “worked” is the word. It wasn’t always easy to love everyone. It was his life’s work. Literally.
I’d like to be more like Father Dan, but to be honest I don’t know if I really want to be as loving. Being disgruntled and dissatisfied with everyone has its pleasures. That’s where I’d have to start. Working at wanting to love more. Making myself a person who genuinely wants to be more loving.
He used to preach about having a clean heart, and he had the cleanest heart of anyone I know. It took effort, that’s the thing. He buffed and scrubbed and shined his heart until he could say “Love you bunches” on every message and mean it.
”Lead Me, Guide Me: The Life and Example of Father Dan Begin” is now available at Shanti Arts and can be ordered from your local bookstore. (Also, soon, on Amazon, but support your local bookstore instead.)