Joan Chittister: “The Place in Which I Stand.”

walk paul

To be enlightened is to know that heaven is not “coming.”

Heaven is here.

We have simply not been able to realize that yet because, like King Arthur and his search for the Holy Grail, we look in all the wrong places, worship all the wrong idols,

get fixated on all the wrong notions of God.

We are always on our way to somewhere else when this place,

the place in which I stand,

wherever it is,

is the place of my procession into God,

the site of my union with the Life that gives Life.

~Joan Chittister, from “Illuminated Life”

My friend Ned put that in a Facebook message yesterday – and it’s awesome.

I don’t know about you but I started out this Lent with all kinds of plans – the kind that involved trying to figure out what I feel guilty about and a plan of action about how to make those wrongs right.

One of our local pastors gave a most dynamite Ash Wednesday sermon, complete with asking us to listen closely to “The Man in Mirror” by Michael Jackson and to come up with some Lenten activities that involve doing something that brings about social justice.

Well….I haven’t done that.

I’ve done a lot of reading. And a whole lot of thinking – particularly about audism (oppression from the hearing world toward the deaf world).

But….nope. The heavy hitting Lenten reads that I signed up for are still in my email inbox – but are dutifully flagged for another time.

My idea to give up TV and listen to music – not really a sacrifice – it was a trend that was already happening. Because of my hearing loss TV is more frustrating than enjoyable most times and I tend to use the head phones and binge watch during school breaks.


And, I also started out the semester with an assignment in my Linguistics class which was to come up with three MEASURABLE and DOABLE goals. My instructor for that class is fantastically patient – which is good, because the first few things I sent for this assignment were….a little bit over the top shall we say.

After a few weeks she mentioned to the group of us that “some of you might want to consider being a bit less hard on yourselves and adjusting your goals and measurements to the reality of your daily lives.”

So – I asked one of my classmates – the one who is typically quiet, and will be brutally honest if you ask her to be. I wanted brutally honest.

“I need you to red pen this thing” I said to her during break.

She took one look at the goal assignment on the computer screen and, to my delight, burst out in laughter and expletives.

I’m proud to say that the red penned goal list is working quite well. I hit most of the goals but not always, and they include practical things like remembering to do laundry and playing with markers on a regular basis. I’m too embarrassed to admit how complicated and impossible my first list was.

Why do we do this to ourselves?

Why do we think that the good stuff is yet to come?

Why do we ask “Where does the time go?” What does that question even mean?

When will we appreciate what we have, right here, right now?

So …thus far…Lent 2016 has been about friendship – and becoming utterly dependent on friends in addition to family. Not just relearning how to make new friends…I figured that out last year.

But, telling the truth to friends, and…I hate this…


asking for help.

Here’s the view from my window yesterday morning:



And, this was the sunset in the neighborhood park last weekend:

park sunset


What more could I possibly ask for….

“…the place in which I stand,

wherever it is,

is the place of my procession into God,

the site of my union with the Life that gives Life.”

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