Some things deserve more attention than Washington political battles

One cannot live by politics alone. The past few weeks we’ve certainly had our share of it. Wall-to-wall coverage of the fine and not-so-fine points of government and politics is the norm when not much is going on. When real news happens, as has been the case recently, there is seemingly no escape.

The news is everywhere. It’s on every television channel, in every newspaper and magazine. It’s what everyone is talking about everywhere you go. You can’t get away from it. It’s the downside (there is no upside) of the 24-hour news cycle.

Fortunately for this family, though, one of life’s milestones came along last week and provided a pleasant diversion from the constant chatter about debt ceilings and taxes and spending and deficits and cutting this and cutting that and on and on and on.

It’s all important — very important. But there are things that matter more. We were reminded of that last Saturday when Kathy and I and my daughter and son-inlaw, their four-month-old son, Beck, and Beck’s other grandparents and aunt and uncle gathered in the Chapel of the Transfiguration in Grand Teton National Park for Beck’s baptism.

The Chapel of the Transfiguration is an Episcopal Church that sits on about one acre of private land inside the national park.

It’s a tiny log building that seats 70 people. The cross on the altar is nothing more than two small logs fastened together. A large window behind the altar frames the Grand Teton, perhaps the most iconic of all the peaks in the Rockies. It was the backdrop as original sin was symbolically washed away from our only grandchild.

That Sam and Liz decided to have Beck christened was not totally serendipitous. Nor was it something I always thought they would do.

My late father-in-law always said I was part of the “C and E crowd” at church. That translates to Christmas and Easter. He wasn’t too far off. My wife and daughter did a little better. As did the Meyer family, who were to become Liz’s in-laws.

Liz and Sam both grew up as somewhat regular members of St. Matthews Episcopal Church. They were often acolytes together. I remember Pat Gormley saying one time after watching them fire up the candles at St. Matts that he thought there might be something between the two of them. I don’t know what he saw, but he was correct.

One thing, as they say, led to another and four months ago little Beck Meyer joined the clan. Since Liz and Sam and Beck live in Jackson Hole, Wyo., the fact that we all gathered last week in Grand Teton National Park makes perfect sense.

That’s the very abridged history of what led us to the Chapel of the Transfiguration. It’s condensed because what I did on my summer vacation is of little interest to you.

It was instructive to me because it was a reminder that it’s too easy to get too wrapped up in things that may seem like they’re important when they’re really not. Or at least not as important as they seem. The trip to Wyoming came at the end of several days of too much immersion in the minutiae of the debt-ceiling debate.

There comes a time when we mere mortals, those of us who can’t really do anything about the problem because we’re not members of Congress, need to step back and let the politicians do the heavy lifting we elected them to do. They’ll bungle it just fine for a few days without our help.

That’s what I did. I’m not a terribly religious person, just a C and E guy really. Some years I’m just a C guy, or an E guy, and some years no letter at all. But in a little log church in the far northwest corner of Wyoming last week, I was reminded of what’s really important in this world.

It’s not debt ceilings, or deficits, or spending cuts, or revenue increases, or tax rates, or credit ratings. Nope. It’s none of those things.

What’s really important is family and the people around you — and the perfect summer getaway.

Denny Herzog is the retired executive editor of The Daily Sentinel. E-mail him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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