Should I? Which way? How?

Ah, look at that.. today’s Prompt is my middle name! “Relax Dilemma Emmanuel” — which is confusing, I know. To be of Emmanuel, what could be a real dilemma?

Nothing — except to continue to be of that bedrock, or not. I shall, but I am also an over-insured underpaid wife, mother, grandmother, cousin, friend and co-worker in the world… one with no working clothes dryer in the household of a bunch of clothing-wearers and a new one arriving any day!

And yes, I wish that were the only dilemma or only one of the most serious. In comparison, it doesn’t even register on the Scale of Temporal Troubles. It’s all but a frivolous concern. A dryer might be coming sooner rather than later, but it will not fix much, overall.

However, as I used to say back in the days of being between many familial dyings (not to mention between roof falls), “What? None of us are actively perishing? It’s a good day.” New England stoicism, that. Well, a blend of that, womanhood, and Catholicism.

Who knows, a dryerless New England winter might be just what the Doctor ordered for my toughening up — so far, I can only bend spoons with my level of dithering. I do need to get to the point of affecting steel and concrete, after all! (Yes — hearts and faith.)



It’s only a mirror

She looked to see why she felt a new pain.. ah, a bruised palm.  Why had she never expected that? Her co-worker nodded at her shock, “Yeah.. it’s probably from the vacuum cleaner.”  Or had she said “the mop”? Either way, it was confirmation of her having fallen off the map.

She knew her mother was the only one who’d have cared about this further wounding of her. She’d wanted to sing, “Look what they’ve done to my hands, Ma,” but there was no “they.”  It was her own self who’d done this to her.  Apparently, she had been determined to find the end of the map.

Plus, her mother used to look at her hands, too.  She would sigh.  Now, she knew why.

She thought of how folks said, “Don’t let the bastards get you down.”  She marveled that so many had gotten the quote wrong.  It was really, “Don’t let the bastards in the mirror get you down.”

Either way, nothing ever got her down for long. Unless this was down — the feeling sorry for herself because no one else knew exactly what they were looking at.  Bruised palms don’t exactly blossom into womanly arts, do they?  But look, if she really flexed her hands back, palms up, there was a large “V” in the middle of each.  She nodded.

Down?  Well, tomorrow is a new day, isn’t it?  Oh, it’ll have its bastards — and *they* will interfere with peace, commitment, and goodwill as well.  There will be custody battles or health issues blowing up on special family-days like the beaut during the baby shower, or like the one before.. seems to be every weekend, now, while awaiting court.. and she’ll be worked to the bone for a monkey’s pay.

But she carries two V’s, right in her palms.  Like He did.  V for Victory. That’s what Ma would sing back, these days.


A rose by any other name..

Generous is a word I can only apply to others, because I know what I withhold in any giving. I am learning, however, to be a generous receiver.

That is not an attribute that will knock God off His chair, exactly, but He knows even more than do I that it is one way and perhaps the best way to truly appreciate another’s giving from the heart.

Which apparently is something that even tech billionaires do.

Not the widow’s mite, exactly, but again, gen-credit where it’s due. I hope they can find that great success.


Somewhere between the halt and the busy

Silence is a rich fruit the secular rarely taste.

There is a difference between quiet and silence.  Silent is the snowbank witnessing the dormant roses’ preparations.  Quiet is crucial for our thinking so.

I’ve been told I’m too quiet (believe it or not!).  It makes people uncomfortable.  Chattering, small-talking seems an anomaly to me, like dogs meowing.  Naturally, then, DH lives for it!  He could small-talk ’til the cows come home, and then some. He’s probably far more human than am I.

Silence is the Sacrifice of the Mass no matter how chattery, screeching and sneezily it has arrived in our midst.  Silence, too, is when a man painfully wends his way to the Eucharist on his crutches — his bald head, his now-gaunt frame and deeply yellowed skin giving away death’s rush to whisk him off. All are rooting for him to get there in one piece, all are thinking that there is Viaticum, indeed.

Even the children sense it, that their parents have become the snowbank.  There will be roses, and not only for those who believe in them.





Ad Jesum per Mariam..

A priest friend just celebrated the 25th year mark of his ordination, and when I say “celebrated,” I should elaborate: With more work, and no party — not even cake. Or at least, that would be his choice — perhaps his house of active contemplatives insisted upon at least a collective smile. He’s of Ukrainian descent and was of the Byzantine rite exclusively until recently, hence, it rained Hemingways (even when the sun was bright) for most of his life!  Trust me, he makes similar dour-jokes at his own expense, or else I absolutely would not.

He is now learning the Roman rite of Mass, for his is a small but slowly-growing house of priests who offer Masses as well as Divine Liturgy in the community around them (along with retreats for priests). He has worked enormously hard in first his monastery as Abbot for many years, and almost as hard since then as an active contemplative these past few years.

He has been through half of hell. That goes without saying, doesn’t it? Who does hell go after harder than priests? The rest of us are small potatoes in comparison. He came close to dying and to losing part of his faith and his marbles. It set its sights on him long before his mop-up list, and then his (now bedrock) Marian devotion.

The “mop-up” list was gained by anyone who was facing death that day, soon (or ultimately) who seemed unlikely to convert his or her heart in time. His priestly intention at the offering was for these, even as Abbot. One can easily imagine hell’s ire at its coming losses. It was fierce — and sustained.  Years.

I have made the mop-up list (at my request!), but I have made the other list, too, these dozen years. Somehow, somehow, we will always be friends. Always, as in now and forever and ever, right down to the soul. He gives me certain people to pray for, and even says “we” when speaking of the work of prayer! He was always much too busy for much communication which I always honored, and I understand at least somewhat that the quiet must only increase for a contemplative, but oh my gosh, I miss his hilarity and extremely kind counsel. And his book-writing.

Thankfully, some of these children of his (as I referred to the books) not only still can be found at publishing houses but have even made their way into China, translated by another who is passionate about this priest of God’s Passionate message.

This good priest was once a rock band musician (which now horrifies him), until that day when the scent of Florida’s orange blossoms held the whisper of a much different life.. The Lord works in mysterious ways, indeed!











One body, one horizon

Ah, “together“.. what a word! Life is such that we are inordinately pleased to see otters holding hands as they rest and drift on the water’s surface. Life is also such that if one otter should sicken and die, then (like we do) the survivor knows the opposite of “together.”

There are many words and phrases of emotions (else, there’d be no such animal as poetry), but perhaps there’s only one accurate word for “alone” and only one perfect word for “together.”

Many years ago while facilitating a Confirmation prep class, Father gave a talk about the One Who truly facilitates anything to do with the everlasting soul: the Holy Spirit, or as I’ve liked to call Him from childhood, the Paraclete. Perhaps I have mistakenly assumed matters — maybe it’s the Paraclete Who prefers my calling Him that!

Indeed, the concept of the third Person of the Trinity is verrrry hard to understand — every bit as God as the Father and/or God the Son, yet to what may His nature be likened?? Father put it in story form, saying that there was a little saltwater fish swimming around with its mom day after day. One morning, the little guy said, “Mother, I’d love to see the ocean — may we?” She replied that although they can’t see it, their whole surroundings, their whole lives — every breath — existed in and were maintained in the ocean. If not for the ocean, they would not be alive!

Finally!  A way to understand, “We live and move and have our being in Him” — and thus, a way for us all to believe that we are never truly alone, and perhaps even always together. That doesn’t seem to stop some little fishes from freezing or starving to death, though they were made for their habitat and their habitat made exactly for them.  It doesn’t seem to stop some from committing suicide, either, but our Ocean has done, does, and shall do all that our Ocean should; the rest of all our living — and more fully understanding the concept of “together” — must be up to us.