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 Danâ€™s habitual closing line to any missive was â€œLove you bunches.â€ I write in the book that pretty much anyone who received mail from him, probably including lawyers and repairmen, was loved bunches.
You didnâ€™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. Itâ€™s a bitter pill. He loved all of us, even people I had no use forâ€”even those people, Father Dan loved bunches.
It didnâ€™t mean nobody annoyed him. Itâ€™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 â€œworkedâ€ is the word. It wasnâ€™t always easy to love everyone. It was his lifeâ€™s work. Literally.
Iâ€™d like to be more like Father Dan, but to be honest I donâ€™t know if I really want to be as loving. Being disgruntled and dissatisfied with everyone has its pleasures. Thatâ€™s where Iâ€™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, thatâ€™s the thing. He buffed and scrubbed and shined his heart until he could say â€œLove you bunchesâ€ on every message and mean it.
â€Lead Me, Guide Me: The Life and Example of Father Dan Beginâ€ is now available at Shanti Arts and can be ordered from your local bookstore. (Also, soon, on Amazon, but support your local bookstore instead.)