Tonight I went to the memorial of Father Bob Scott.
|Fr. Bob Scott and I in May 2007
I met Father Bob when I first came to UT back in 2006. I didn\’t really know very many people. I had just transferred from UT-Arlington and was trying to get a hold of what it meant to be in Austin and a Longhorn at that. I found my home away from home at the University Catholic Center (like so many Catholic students do). Back then, I spent an inordinate amount of time at the UCC. I was living alone in the Castilian and because I *need* social interaction, I spent many a night hanging out upstairs at the UCC, pretending to study, but mainly talking to all the other people who were looking for a break. It\’s how I made virtually all of my friends in Austin and it\’s where Fr. Bob was. I think he was probably mainly a priest at St. Austin\’s, but he was around the UCC a lot back then. He gave mass, hung out, gave advice and was simply \”with\” all of us.
I was very fortunate to have gotten to meet him. His health started declining in 2009-10, so he wasn\’t able to be around. He also went to Horseshoe Bay for a while before that and wasn\’t around much. I noticed the total lack of students at the memorial tonight, which is unusual for the UCC at any time, but then it occurred to me. The students at the UCC now probably never met him. If they were lucky, they heard his yearly \”Good Stop\” homily. But I met him. I had conversations with him. He was constantly pushing marriage on me and my boyfriend at the time, reminding me of the importance of being with a religious man. I ate spaghetti with him on Wednesday afternoons and he would tell stories about life as a younger man. My favorite he told me was this:
\”When I was younger, I went on a date with a girl and when I leaned in to kiss her….I missed!\” he whispered as if it was an embarrassing secret, and yet he seemed gleeful about it. He always had that twinkle in his eye. \”At that point I knew. I was going to become a priest.\”
I always liked that story. It was lighthearted and yet so down-to-earth and so incredibly joyful. He was always super joyful. He always \”got the point\” of what life was all about. He loved being a priest and he loved being a Catholic, but he loved being a child of God more. He loved living his life, which you could tell he did.
There are a few people in my life that emanate the same kind of joy and peace and, dare I say it, enlightenment. These are the people that have experienced both joy and suffering and have come out on the other side more in tune with what life is all about. These are the teachers, the gurus, the leaders. These are the ones who help us on our own journey and inspire to be better than we are. These are the ones who make you stop and realize that religion isn\’t about the ritual you do, or the belief you hold or how \”holy\” you are. It\’s about connecting with one another and ultimately connecting with God, or Allah, or the Buddha, or even just the goodness inside the humanity within yourself and others. Ultimately, these people are in every religion.
Fr. Bob was right. The UCC was a good stop. If it weren\’t for the UCC, I never would have met my future husband. I wouldn\’t have met my wonderful friends. I would never have had the college experiences I was fortunate to have. I am very grateful to have met Fr. Bob and to witness such a pure example of compassion, joy and peace. Now, at his final resting place, Fr. Bob is no longer at a \”Good Stop\”. He is at a \”Great Stop\”.