Blogging is a Moving Meditation.

BLOGGING as a MOVING MEDITATION: Liminality's thin passage untangles as it weaves, fits in the ineffable nooks and crannies of my heart's prayer wall, like the cracks in pavement, mile markers on the road, windblown whimsical napkin poems written in eyeliner.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Judge Louis Joseph Camisa - MY DAD... Home with Jesus.


JUDGE LOUIS JOSEPH CAMISA MY DAD
Born in East Orange, NJ on Jul. 11, 1926
Departed on Jun. 6, 2009 and resided in Merrimack, NH.

Welcome HOME Dad....
Thank you for your unconditional love, i know you are being held by the unconditional Living Love of God...

Romans 8: 15-17 The Spirit of Adoption... "Message Version"

"This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It's adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike "What's next, Papa?" God's Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what's coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we're certainly going to go through the good times with him!"
See you when i get there Dad... i love you,
Your daughter - Lovingly,
Claudine-Cathryn


That is what i left on the (online) "guest book" - they didn't have a picture... so thought this was in due order.

Lot's going through my mind and heart at present.... and no wonder- My Dad was and is an amazing man...

I touched in with a few that knew him today....... and that was good. There was and is a lot about him that i still question, and that is no small secret, to him or others- he sure had questions about me. Our relationship was loving yet also, one of brutal honest with etched sarcastic humor in the margins; many pages stained with salty emotions.

There isn't going to be any big memorial or anything, which tugs at many things in my heart....

So i'm sitting here with a glass of wine and a cig... (yes, Dad, i know you wished i'd quit smoking- just not right now)

I spoke with an old Lawyer friend of his ... Andrew Topazio.... of whom my Dad spoke "was like a son in some ways"... (thanks Andy for the return phone call and the nudge to "do everything you feel you are supposed to do right now for him") - this would be one of those things. Andy said that he was just talking about my Dad the other day to some Judge that didn't know him, and after stating that... said that on more than one occasion, he referred to my Dad as "saintly". Which made me laugh, and i know would have made my Dad laugh, if God granted him a pigeon hole to listen in on that convo; I've always said, "my dad would have made a good Monk".

Some of the things i've gleaned from my Dad was due to very long walks with him and his endless question... "Do you know what this word means?" He'd state a word, and then use it in a sentence... to prod my brain in deducing the answer. We'd talk of Scripture and the hermeneutics of theology... and he'd expound at length some days. I would "return volley" and ask... "do you know what this scripture means?" This "Word" and "word" game became a foundation of sorts and part of the reason i consider myself a "closet theologian and philosopher".

Still have to laugh, because he's the only man i know that came to know Jesus primarily using his "left brain"; though he adopted a daughter who functions dominantly via her right brain, which came with some fiery debate.

Though i wasn't as "brainy" as my sister, she's a whiz at some things- I was the "artsy child" as my dad put it... singing, writing poetry, thinking deeply and passionately ...... though he often said, i "should have been a lawyer due to your debating skills and uncanny intuitive insight"- does make me chuckle a bit, he was fond of saying it... and often wondered if he had wished i would have pursued more in that vein of work. I have in some spiritual fashion, been a "justice child"- looking at situations and either voicing my opinion or raising my "sword", usually both, but not having the skilled "tact" of my Dad. Though on a few occasions he'd "loose it" and once yelled in the Court, when two lawyers were waxing off on some point, "Children! Children! must you play so loudly!"

His ways were often "odd" and emotionally "clumsy"- I've told him before that he was like the "absent minded professor relationally". When forced with "showing up" in the numerously pensive family situations, he would always crack a joke, usually a poor one, (hope his jokes get better in heaven ;-) or he'd poke at a pun to diffuse any "uncomfortable reality" that was pressing. He would always frame things in ways of Heaven... in a "why should we worry about this now, in heaven it won't matter.... which sometimes was a good heavenly reality check and other times an "opt out" in order to avoid some "unpleasant emotions".

He loved being a Judge... 46 years on the bench! He never had any intention to retire and would often wax off on wanting to slam his gavel down in decision and then die and wake up in heaven. Unfortunately, due to a "age discriminatory law" he was forced to retire due to his age- which sucked. On the bench he was at home and i often joked with him that this was the way that he lived his life... being high up behind a wooden bench "fortress", refereeing the game of life, without really playing in it. Which i know sounds harsh, but if you knew him, you would be nodding and eyes rolled towards heaven.

He worked as a "Workman's Compensation" Judge..... where his "rulings" could directly affect the well being of some one "hurt on the job". He pursued knowledge as a passion and would often read the "Merek Manual" and other medical journals, digging up information to understand better, the medical girth of a case. Perhaps that is some of the reason i went into the medical field...--------- He would often call me and ask about the "rehab" in a specific situation, like say a "spinal cord injury", wanting to know the "inside out" of the rehab process and what type of regime they would have to go through in order to "get better", of if they weren't going to "get better" what kinds of incurred costs would affect their lives. He was fond of saying that the reason he went into "Administrative Law" and NOT "criminal law" was that.. ....... "there were too many criminals IN criminal law."

He could be opinionated and that cascaded into the way he viewed Faith in God. When i was really young, my Dad almost died and was hospitalized- it was there that he heard a guy on the radio sharing the Gospel and that it was " Faith in Jesus", via the "grace of God", that one was "Saved". Something resonated deep in his heart, that this makes "sense" and he started to pursue "the scriptures" in a more intentional way. Like i said, my Dad was a "left brainer" - so he dug through different "versions" of the Bible, NIV, American Standard, and the Catholic Bible... and compared "notes" - he liked "Scofield's" notes... in order to determine the "most correct format" of the "Word".

He found a Church "home" at First Baptist Church of Bloomfield and rarely missed a service. He had a servants heart and almost every sunday, drove the church van to pick up the "shut in's", he also was on the Board of Trustee's and was often found there on a Saturday morning doing some "painting job"..... Though everyone just called him "The Judge", he really had a humble heart and liked doing "acts of service". (one of his love languages to God)

He also sang in the Choir, which does have a funny story .... The Choir director at the time was Virginia Hughes - a very special Lady... (spoke to her the other day, and learned of this little known secret)

Though my Dad had a very nice "singing voice" - the man could not learn harmony to save his life, she would stick him next to the strongest Bass in order to "learn his part" to no avail. She would hear the same complaints via the other Bass singers.... "Judge just keeps singing the melody!" and my Dad would complain to Virginia that "the guy next to me, is singing OFF KEY". So finally to solve the "problem", she would meet with him after choir practice and teach him the song as if the "Bass part" WAS the melody. She took some delight at telling me this story, because my Dad went on thinking that the others were "off" and he was singing it correctly."

I did do several "Duets" with him and that is a neat memory to have... "In my heart there rings a Melody" was the first duet i ever did with my Dad, and considering the above story, i guess he took the words to it literally.... (oh, yeah, i sang the harmony on it)

In My Heart
There Rings a Melody
Words and Music by Elton M. Roth

Ephesians 5:19
"Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord."

I have a song that Jesus gave me,
It was sent from heaven above;
There never was a sweeter melody,
'Tis a melody of love.

Chorus
In my heart there rings a melody,
There rings a melody with heaven's harmony;
In my heart there rings a melody;
There rings a melody of love!

I love the Christ who died on Calv'ry,
For He washed my sins away;
He put within my heart a melody,
And I know it's there to stay.

Chorus
In my heart there rings a melody,
There rings a melody with heaven's harmony;
In my heart there rings a melody;
There rings a melody of love!

'Twill be my endless theme in glory,
With the angels I will sing;
'Twill be a song with glorious harmony,
When the courts of heaven ring.

Chorus
In my heart there rings a melody,
There rings a melody with heaven's harmony;
In my heart there rings a melody;
There rings a melody of love!

I'm so chuckling as i'm re-reading those words and singing it to myself........ yes, Dad, you got the Melody right!



He really loved my sister Teresa, and would talk of her as the "prize Brain child of the family"... which she is... such a smart cookie! He took great pleasure in the fact that he had some part in "naming her son Joshua".... and was REALLLLLLLLLLLLLY happy that Teresa was taking him to AWANA (a program that he took me and my sister to growing up.) ---- Awana (an acronym for Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed, from 2 Timothy 2:15), is an international evangelical nonprofit organization founded in 1950, headquartered in Streamwood, Illinois. The organization supplies local churches with weekly clubs, programs and Bible training for students in preschool through high school. The goal of Awana is that these students would come to know, love and serve Jesus Christ as Lord. My Dad was always feeding us "the word", often like a he would feed a dog underneath the table, sneaking in really good chewy morsels.

Please don't get me wrong here, i'm not comparing my relationship with my Dad as some "dog" getting scraps........ it's just that "religion was a "bone" of contention (like my pun)......... in our house.... Mom is Catholic and our house was like a mini version of Ireland with the "Protestant and catholic" micro-war going on.... Mom was more than unhappy with our choice of "walking out our faith", other than the "catholic way"... this is no secret- though she does tend to forget that it was HER MOTHER... after some crap that happened in Sacred Heart School, that Grandma pulled us out of Catholic school, and when there was some question of "religious upbringing" stated........ "They will go to your church Lou"....... It was more than a painful issue that resulted in some "not so Godly" outcomes. nuff said.

Though in all of that, it did teach me and him, more and more, that it is a "relationship with Jesus" and not religious pretense, that is the foundation of Faith in God. It's because of my Dad that i began a deeper relationship with Jesus, to that credit, i am eternally grateful.

After a very "faith testing situation" some years ago, where God had given me a "warning dream" of, said situation,......... My Dad better understood some of the "mystical sides" of God... he later said, that "that situation" made him really "look" at God's ability to intervene and speak in profound ways. He acknowledged that some of how "God speaks", was beyond his understanding, but not without his notice. Of it... he said, "you have a very special relationship with Holy Spirit, one of which i am quite jelouse, but i finally understand "the spirit of Adoption" and understand why you call God - ABBA".

We would often pray on the phone together and during those prayers, he would say, "Father God, my daughter calls you Abba, and now I get it... so Abba would you please bless her ........ " Those times on the phone drew us closer and when we prayed together about lots of things.... yet he would always conclude with a salutary note, in thanking God for his salvation through the Cross of Christ and blood bought Redemption.. That always struck me, after all these years, that he would continually "THANK GOD" for his salvation, it was an important part of his prayer life and relationship with Jesus. He was always a bit more stoic than i when it came to praying, but he did "loosen up a bit"... during our prayer time. He was at our house in North Carolina, when before he went to bed, shared that he had some "cancer skin spots" on his head, so phil and i asked if we could pray for him, - we brought out the anointing oil.. to "hit the spots" per say... and my dad closed his eyes while we prayed.... after we said "amen", he pretended to "just wake up" and said, "oh, you're done, must have fallen asleep..... and said amen"... he was always making fun of serious situations..... but my husband looked at me - a bit shocked.... and i said, "no, that's just my dad... the prayer stuck".

Though our relationship was often "strained" by "circumstance"... my dad always encouraged me ... his "British" side of "keeping... chin up" - complete with some "stiff upper lip" mixed with some Italian "sharing a good meal".... bread and vino.. (His mom was English and his dad.. Italian- a mix of which is beyond me... the Italian,- "touchy/ feely"... with the English "not so much".)

Growing up in the North East ... "melting pot" mentality - was not with out prejudice ... and that leaked out at points, i learned some interesting views on culture and the differences of the "they and we", spilled out in speech and "safety" awareness. (my dad got "mugged" one night walking home.. and that didn't help his biases)

We didn't come from "rich roots'... so my Dad could be quite frugal in matters, we only had one car and he rode the bus to work for 46 years... Bloomfield was more "blue collar" than "white collar".... and my Dad took pride in that, being an "ol' time democrat". Though he was a "Judge" and that came with some prestige - he would go into a Salvation Army store and come out with some "find".. of measured worth to him... say a rain coat that cost him 50 cents! Yet, we would often meet in a posh restaurant and he would order the most expensive meal in the joint.. and encourage me to do the same, stating that - "we don't get to do if often, so eat up." - but he would sneak the ketchup containers and the packets of sugar free sweeteners into his pockets, looking quite elegant and sneaking, while the waiters back was turned. He liked "eating like a King", and if you saw his gut, you know that would be more than accurate, but despised much of the elitism. He taught me that "EVERYONE puts their socks on the same way, and even the King of Kings, had to wipe his bum when he voided" - though he would say it in hushed tones, as though speaking of Jesus' bum was a forbidden and might hold a lightening bolt when he stepped outside.

He would joke that the only difference between Catholic guilt and Jewish guilt was this... "the jew says (what a horrible thing to do) and the catholic says... (what a horrible person i am). That, and the only difference between a Jew going to "confession" and a Catholic going to "confession" was this... "The catholic would say "forgive me father, for i have sinned" and the Jew would say... "forgive me Rabbi, for i have sinned, have you met my Lawyer Moshe Goldenberg"....... and then added, if he had to go to Catholic Confession again, he would have said, "forgive me Father for i have sinned, have you met my lawyer, Jesus, "The son of God" the carpenter, but his mother wanted him to be a lawyer."

Growing up in New Jersey came with some colourful nuances, such as "going down the shore" (didn't not matter your geographical location) ... it was always.... "down the shore". It was a 90 min drive from Bloomfield to Point Pleasant ... but with traffic could be 3 hours, so you would have to leave at the "butt crack of dawn", rather than the "crack of dawn", difference being the "butt crack of dawn was a Royal Pain in the Ass". It was a lousy long drive, with my sister and i arguing over who's foot was on their side of the back seat of the car, with the ensuing threat of my dad... "coming back there to settle it".... Truth is - we kind knew our Dad's threats were void of power, but if Mom said it..... it was a different story. I did almost drown once, when i was trying to float on a raft on the water's edge, and a huge wave came up and smashed me under the water... I was lying there, looking up at the water over my head, (still remember thinking)- wow, this is cool, i feel like a fish, (too many aqua-man cartoons i gather)- but it seemed like a long while, the next thing i knew i felt my Dad's arms dragging me out, he was infuriated but relieved that he found me..... He was a good swimmer, (though i had learned the "hard way") so one of our things to do was swim out far beyond the breakers and float.... that frustrated the hell out of my mom, cause she couldn't swim... so the way i knew i could get beyond her grip/reach.. was swim out while she would be screaming on the shore, to "get my *&^%#@$ back here, or your gonna get it"......... i was always getting in trouble for "something"...... Summer trips "down the shore" was a ritual ...... and i loved to walk with him on the beach for hours.... more of our "word games"...... and my endless questioning as to the "why's" of things.. bless him, he really did try and answer things for me, but would generalize and over simplify, and i would have none of it... and persist in my quest for truth. Some where along the discussions, his "truth's" would come out and he often admitted that he "didn't know" and promised to get back to me on the matter... which he would.

His life was a mix of juxtapositions - both in the natural and in spiritual matters... enough so that it had me endlessly scratching my head and raising my eyebrow.... and i'm sure he would say the same about me. Commonly shared strengths and weaknesses, just we played out our lives VERY differently. My dad always said that i had a way of taking his "nice neat little pile of beliefs and throwing a reality bomb in the mix". He once told me that he would have hated to have been the judge in the court room, if i was the lawyer because he would have tried to have thrown the book and the gavel at me, but i would have deflected both and then stated a case that he would have to contend that i was right. Considering my dad was brilliant at such matters, it was both a complement and a side swipe ribbing.

i guess, because he was such a good Judge and of such high esteem, in his profession and in the community, that living under that light was a bit difficult. ( my friend Derek once noted that part of the reason i'm "comfortable" in situations where people were considered "stars", was because i grew up in the fish bowl likened to that of famous people or pastor's kids and i flowed with ease in those waters)

I was always called "the Judges daughter", as if i didn't have a name of my own... and occasionally, i would deny such said pretense and clearly state my name. My dad would often say i was "severely independent" even as a small child... and had a stubborn streak that would rival most bulls. He always would say it with a cheeky grin, almost gleeful at my indignation at system oriented beliefs and rules, as though he was secretly wishing he had more of that in his character. Though he often questioned some of my "decision making", (which he was more than often right about)- he understood that i had a justice side, that was placed there by him in some way and took into consideration, the heart matter on the issue, and encouraged my boldness in matters, that might have seemed "out of character" for him. Once after a matter of much debate, i chose something that he disagreed upon, but i had shared that i had had a dream about and one of those God moments, where things didn't seems to make sense in the natural.... turned out to be a huge break through and when i discussed it later with my dad, he said, "well, i was wrong there, i should always remember you have FRIENDS IN HIGH PLACES..." referring to my dialogue with God on it.

My Dad's judge of Character has highly influenced my life, that with the balance of Grace; that the Grace we extend is often the grace we may need in some matters. It has made me look at things from many angles and not such the myopic limitations of initial reactions. His love for the law and his understanding of Justice with the counter balance of Grace, fell on the rocky, yet fallow ground of my heart.

We live our lives, whether we want to admit it or not, based or biased in shadows of those whom we have been affected/effected and occasionally infected. In thinking about him this past week, i've been astounded and somewhat bewildered at the not so subtle impact that he's had on my life.

He had a relationship with God that profoundly influenced my walk with God... he was one that lived by St. Francis's adage ... "Preach always, when necessary use words" yet, he did share his faith with all that asked, and tried to walk them through the "steps of salvation" as he learned it.

He joked that the proverb that he lived by was..........

Proverbs 25:24 (New International Version)
24 Better to live on a corner of the roof
than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.

but the truer version of his heart was this......

Romans 12:18 (New International Version)

" If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone."

The part of the Word that reminds me most about my Dad is Micah 6....... 2 parts specifically,----

Micah 6

1 "HEAR NOW what the Lord says: Arise, contend and plead your case before the mountains, and let the hills hear your voice."

and the other part..............................

8 "He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, and to love kindness and mercy, and to humble yourself and walk humbly with your God."

Thanks, Dad, for giving me a passion for HIS WORD... permission to live my life in a "contending way" with God and the knowledge that salvation is a gift, i could not earn, and thereby, cannot loose.

In Alabaster Love,
Cathryn

1 comment:

  1. Cat,
    This is totally beautiful and gave me such a beautiful picture of your Dad. AND an amazing picture of you, what a blessing you are to those around you. Thank you for taking the time to type this out, what a legacy he left in you.
    -Melissa

    ReplyDelete