(((Thank you)))

People.. Before I let another half-well moment pass, thank you! Thank you for your concern and your prayers and your good wishes. Those make up the very air beneath angels’ (and Grandmotherbobs’) feet. I am indebted by heart to you.


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What I learned in (another’s) Kindergarten..

Every afternoon when the littlest schoolchildren line up with their teachers before the waiting ring of parents and grandparents, many more than I are waiting for it.. waiting for Kindergarten Lily who, after she dashes over to her mom/dad, dashes back and — as if made of the most delicate filigree gold — embraces her friend (my granddaughter) in a slow, real hug. Every. Day. It surprised none of us to find out that when granddaughter was down for a few days with side-pain, Lily sat out recess with her — sometimes two. Every. Day.

The look of expectant joy on granddaughter’s face as she waits for Lily to run back to the line.. o, Lord. You have prepared such a world somewhere, right? We all need a Lily.

We are only miles from heartache in any direction. Any. The losses built up until we said, “Enough. Done. Let it be done and over, or let me be done and over.” It has felt that way, hasn’t it?

But… every day at 3, I see this, and I hear it, and I prefer to try one more tomorrow in a belief that too often seems a dream. Don’t cry. Close your eyes, and remember. Remember it. It was and is real.


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“I think that I shall never see…”

I remember reciting aloud as a small child what I’d thought I’d heard, as my mom taught me two evening and morning (anytime!) prayers. I had pretty much escaped correction on the Pater Noster (“Our Father..”) unless someone wanted to point out that like most very northern New Englanders, I’d left out the pronunciation of “r”s all through it (“Ah Fahthah, Who aht in Hevvun…”).

However, there was a glaring error in my attempt at the Angelic Salutation (“Hail, Mary, full of grace..”) — or was there? If I’d known then some of what one may safely presume later, it doesn’t seem outrageous that Mary would be “pale” — and in a manner of speaking, could she not be said to be “full of grapes”?

Reciting aloud is how I memorized Scripture verse later in life. Little did I know then that selecting and memorizing something that reaches out and touches you at your core is a help in times to come (and not only for self, it would seem) and is truly a new prayer, over and over.

You cannot imagine my thrill just now to have looked up my first Biblical memorization and see that it’s from my favorite book (and chapter!) of all time, the Gospel of John — Chapter 14, Verse 23. I’d have been going by whatever it said in the St. Joseph’s Edition and transformed it a bit for memory’s sake, but I still remember it as, “If you love Me, you will keep My word; and my Father will love you, and We will come to you, and make Our abode with you.”

Indeed, my heart’s main mantra for decades has become, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In my Father’s house, there are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go to prepare a place for you, I am coming back to take you with Me, that where I am, you also shall be.”

There were other verse memorizations, and I might even memorize all of Fourteen someday, but while facilitating a top-step Confirmation class one evening using our Bibles, I had the teen girls open to the assigned such-and-such, and had them read it as I “read” aloud. We came to a stop and I looked up to find one girl staring at me incredulously, “Your eyes were closed — you weren’t even reading that!” I was beyond mortified, but I suppose He wanted me to explain that such passages are indeed to mean something very Personal to us — to each of us! I suggested they reread it sometime imagining His voice, speaking directly to each of them. Verse is not a history reading; it is a message from One Who loves us unconditionally, eternally.

I have memorized some poems as well, and it’s really fun to recite them aloud. I don’t do as well memorizing man’s poetry, actually — perhaps because it can’t be meant as personally as Scripture — but poetry is meant to bless its viewers and hearers.  All words, after all, come from the Word — although poetry for the world is not always in words, is it? Some breathe out their prayer/blessing in tune, some paint them, some sculpt them, some bathe, powder, dress, feed and rock them to sleep, and some build an abode for us with wood and nails.


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“O, Jerusalem, Jerusalem..”

Whatever we have seen of love here is, I’m as certain as any mere mortal can be, magnified a zillionfold in God the Father — in Whose image and likeness we are made. Image, yes, in some mysterious Adam-Jesus way — and some perhaps not mysterious way, for the Jesuits tell us that we, too, will behold His begotten Son’s eternal yet human scars of love — o, we will know as we are known, but likeness? How are we like God?

The little reminiscence about Peter giving in to mortal fear (in the post below) made me think of what I didn’t say: That the Lord groans over our plight. And groans with us. We have it in Tradition that the Holy Spirit, The Paraclete, as our advocate, groans in prayer.  And where Mary and Martha and those with them cry over Lazarus’ death, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died,” Scripture tells us Jesus was deeply troubled in spirit. I do believe He groaned then, too, and thus, that day sinking into the water when Peter reaches out and shouts, “Lord, save me!” I can’t help but hear Jesus groan.

We’ve all been in that devastating time when there were no words and there was no point in words: all that escaped us was a groan.  Our groan is of helplessness in the face of suffering and death of His beloved creations. The Lord’s groan is not of helplessness.

I was a few rows from the front one day at Mass when Father B was celebrant. He couldn’t see what we could — a fellow parishioner who had been losing ground, who was skin and bones and whose clothes hung on him, now, balding and yellowed and leaning on a crutch for every painful step in the Communion line. Father B is someone for whom, no one would disagree, there is a quiet spot in between Jesus and Mary with his name on it. When the line cleared and our dying friend became visible to Father B, we nearest heard a groan escape him as he hurried toward the man to save him a few steps. Rushed to him with Jesus, as did Mary to Elizabeth.

And yes, we are like God. In His compassion. Terrible, terrible groans of compassion that could say in all Honesty, “How I have longed to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.”  “Do this in memory of Me.”  “I go to prepare a place for you… and I am coming back to you, to take you to Myself, that where I Am, you will also be.”


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When the quiet stops

Sometimes
when a palm is bruised
despite callouses
or a new finger slice appears,
necessitating bandages
worn under the rubber gloves
for a while,
I am reminded
of whom I most certainly am not
and that I was once loved forever —
once and for all, forever..
and I see no little shards
of lightning
in the Blood or the Bruise
we’ve come to share,
but I know they’re there;
I close my hands as I bring them
up to my crownless brow
and soon enough determine
to try again.

8/2/17

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Steadily depressing, low down, mind-messing..

That’s the main problem, at least for me, in being a Christian. It is true that all fall short of glory, but it is also true that, to a Christian, everything in life can be and often is substandard for nearly everyone: We are as spiritual as we are corporeal; few enough have ever run to feed us spiritually, but now it has become de rigueur to avoid the whole reality of our two natures, the fruit of which is glaringly ugly.

If we don’t see the eternal/glorifiable person before us (and I’m almost always as guilty as any in this failure to see), we’re simply going to hide our own joined nature, and everyone is going to starve to death way deep inside. Whether in capitalism or otherwise, an employer or landowner is not going to be considering (nor even pretending to address) our spiritual self, nor his own.

I don’t know how we can address this problem except to remain in a state of prayer (holy union) with the One Who sees properly, fully. In the hour of mercy especially (from 3 pm to 4), I ask for merciful eyes. I finish up all my petitions, my (sometimes grudging) gratitude, and praise with an Our Father offered for my co-workers-to-be, with whom I’ll now gather within moments.  It fails a lot, or rather, I fail.  Fail to see eternal selves, fail to see whom Jesus was looking at just before He uttered, “Consummatum est.” But I want to.  And I’ll keep on asking to.

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Not everybody’s working for the weekend

Sort of a microcosm of America, there, all within walking distance.

A pond that is often fished, whose downstream dam still runs (though its mill doesn’t), surrounded by campsites; working farms replete with John Deere equipment leaving hay rolls around to dry on the rolling hills; the big courthouse; the big jail; an animal doctor; an animal shelter; a doggie daycare; a halfway house for opioid survivors; a home for the aged; a shooting range, and.. a hospice.

There was a family over there this eve during my first break. Judging by how far away from the hospice parking lot they walked, I imagined that their loved one had died. They appeared to be adult children from where I sat, and lost as kittens. Then, I think someone called them back in, as they moved rapidly as one toward the front door. When I came out on my second break, they were leaving in three vehicles. They all drove slowly, especially the leader. Gently. To somewhere. Somewhere else, now.

And both break times, my little couple passed by the doors. She’s getting better. I could hear her talking, and down by the three-way, he pretended he wanted to go left and she was tugging him right, and you see how much better she is, now — they were joking with each other! Her gait is still stiff, but she’s not, and he’s not. They are two as one, again, no longer the one as two.

And three seagulls found something irresistible above a parked combine or hayrack or whatever the thing was over in that field. They swooped and circled over and over, and I had to go in before they showed me what in a hay field would hold a seagull’s attention. But it didn’t matter; I had already lived three lifetimes by then, because on my way over, I’d passed a different couple than last week’s, this one had a little girl with them, fishing from the bridgeway at the prettiest part of the pond.

As I came out at last, I saw a man in a black pickup across the length of the parking lot steady his camera on his truck bed side to photograph the startlingly beautiful sunset.  Solid, delineated pink and brilliant orange hues nestled into the soft gray dove feathers of dusk. You see why I stay there, all but a (too-tired) pauper for it. I would miss all this, and the deer, the turkeys, the baby robins, the hawk, the owl, a handful of coyotes, crow dances, the snapping flags, sweetly whispering trees, a mockingbird..

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