Too much, mostly

Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve noticed a real benefit to cell phones for that segment of the population who might once have been thought vulnerable outer-casts, most especially awkward teens who haven’t yet found the muscles and beautiful gender attributes still hiding under their food-medicating results; those who would be alone on the street, if not for the cell. Now, waiting for a bus is not so much a problem. Or walking home, one is not alone. One fits in, now.  Everyone’s on their cells, texting or checking Facebook or whatever social site(s). No one’s looking at them with mean-sport ideas.

I knew people long ago who developed an over-toughness to such unwanted attention, after they went through many hells. Cell phones would’ve been a Godsend to them.. so, for that much, we all must be grateful.  However, cells (or similar screens) seem to also have an addictive quality — a drug-like addiction — because it negates real communication even when two or more are face to face in the flesh!

There will have to come a mandatory deprogramming/regulatory effort by 7th or 8th grade, I think, because it’s not healthy to prefer the virtual over the real, and because we don’t want to end up looking like aliens (big head from big brain from too much constant info, big eyes to track 84 screens at the same time, tiny nostrils from reduced breathing/never working up a panting sweat from physical activity, and a slit of a mouth because of no verbalized communicating for so long).

As I say, maybe it’s just me, but I’d rather none of us end up that way. Texting is great — it gets to the heart of the matter, but it can also be a quieter, easier weapon that works against both parties far more grievously than we might guess. We need to see and use eyes (truly, windows to a person’s essence, if not understood to be windows to the soul) as well as hear each other’s voices, and laughter, and singing, and sweet sounds of togetherness. Much of our inner lives are so alone already.

None of us will ever unplug all the way, now, but I think many of us would opt for an unplugged day — announced or not. We have to be the bosses of our lives. And we have to interchange and meld for real.  We were not created to be bots (nor even bumblebees who dance out locations). We were created for love. That’s a verb. Love cannot be texted; it cannot be virtual. After all, we are not descended from angels. We are descended from far greater than the angels. For a reason.  Technology always moves us away from the Reason.  (Yes, sort of Luddite, here, but only because there’s a Good reason.)  Social media always makes the grass seem greener on the other side. That should send up a warning flag for us think-ers and love-ers, always!

We are love-able, as is.


I has them.

It would’ve gone alright with the rest as a middle name for real: Relax Qualm McGillicuddy, though it works better as a statement — a comma after Relax would’ve been perfect.

I had qualms about everything. If I didn’t, I imported them. I was my mother’s daughter, which is to say not half Irish just yet, which is to say French Canadian. My neighborhoods in a historic seaport were incredibly diverse, so I was surrounded by Italian qualms, many French Canadian ones, and the rarer Irish qualm (who had qualms about having qualms but had them anyway, only slightly moreso than did the Greeks).

The problem was, we were mostly of the Catholic working class persuasion, and that was rife with qualms. The only Jewish girl I knew didn’t seem to suffer them. She was joyful, animated, sure of herself. I desperately wanted to be Jewish for a while, back when I didn’t realize one could be Jewish and yet not religiously so.

I continue qualmward. Not because it’s mandatory for the conscience — that’s only how it got a foothold. I need qualms, the awkward 50-lb butterflies of doubt, to warn me off of what I think I want to go for — or at least make me think longer, consider more.

Or, angelqualms.


Noon would be good..

This house has been known for its hospitality. It’s also been known for shades or blinds down or curtains closed for way past the morning hour. Mornings will not exist in my Heaven. (It’ll be all-morning all the time in the other place, though, so I try to behave.)

Over the years, I’ve been hospitable to the point of foolish, even if based on hospitality houses of sweet holy note, like Catholic Worker houses — only on a smaller and not holy scale, and if still based somewhat in works of mercy.  It was also based on my mother’s example in the world (that only took from her, which didn’t stop her from giving). It might be easier to say who hasn’t lived here a spell, but it’s very easy to say the give-and-take here in my life has been fairly mutual.

We’ve had someone living in with us for many decades, really, but as an example of recent years and not counting pets, in 2014, there were 9 of us living in this old woman’s shoe. In 2015, we had dramatically dropped to 8, which was true of 2016 as well, though one face had been traded out for another. For most of 2017, we’ve been 7. And a lot of visiting from a significant other, so we could call it 7.5.

I always plan to donate to Casa Juan Diego every Christmas. The hospitality there is undeniably holy. But so is it out on the other coast, in a house of consecrated contemplatives — as is the never-failing other grandpa’s transportation of two little ones to far-away locations to see Dad who has no wheels, yet. Gasoline isn’t free, least of all in a mid-sized Chevy pickup which shows up religiously to save the psyches of many people every week.

I’m all stretched out on physical hospitality, here, but I do what I can for that which is extended by others.  To give the first hour’s pay of the work week, having thought of the person(s) and prayed for their intentions in that hour, is probably the best I can do these days.

Sometimes I’ve thought we’re not an overly hospitable region, but then how to explain the many refugees that have come from Rwanda and Indonesia especially, who are doing alright, here, now that we’re not shocked by anyone who isn’t white Irish or French? They bring their loved ones here as soon as they can. We must be thinking/saying/giving/doing something right. 🙂

The Son of Man had nowhere to lay His head, and we think we cannot help that 2000 years later, but He purposely identified with the poor, called Himself one with them (just as we are to consider our neighbors and us as one), that we might always have an unlimited option.



“I know My sheep, and…”


“…the rest of that changes more every day.”

It’s Good Shepherd Sunday, also celebrating the World Day of Prayer for Vocations.

In this state, today is one more thing:  Suicide Prevention Sunday.

This is a tiny little bodunk if historical state (said with lavish affection), but even here, suicide is the second leading cause of death among… ready?

10 to 14 year olds.

The bulletin goes on to say that every day, 22 veterans commit suicide in America.

We have a lot to pray for.  An awful lot.



A Sharing: He hides (recycled) giants…

(Relax note:  I particularly love “Sleeping Louis,” who was built on a former homeless persons’ sleeping site. Check out all Thomas Dambo’s work from here.  [And all the more now, I cannot help but think that even the most radical terrorist (or activist) would transformatively benefit from a walk in some woods.])