Worried Wednesday: My Promise for Maurice and a Post from Brother Bob

Belief:

Holy Moses. This day took some turns and now my plan for an hour or two to write a post is down to about twenty minutes.

So here are some rambled thoughts…

Maurice Sendak is, simply wonderful. Please join me, if you want to anyway, in praying for him. Pray for anything. His health. His life. His death. (I know that he’s a bit elderly, but doing well in the health department last I heard). His family. His career. His legacy.

Or, pray for his fans. Which would be me.

I made a decision today after spending a long time studying a traveling display at a local library that is about his work as a children’s author. I knew a lot of what I read about his books, and how great that I learned quite a lot more!

The decision?

I am going to write him the most beautiful and heartfelt fan mail that he has ever received. Well, since 1989 anyway, which is when I wrote him last.

I’m not sure how I’ll put this into letter form but I want to tell him that since hearing an NPR interview with him last fall, I’ve prayed for him several times that his final chapter in life is the sweetest one ever. This isn’t how death always goes, but I want it to be a smooth slide none the less.

I’m also going to ask him to pray for a particular intention for me.

And, I’m going to promise to pray for his brother Jack during this Lenten season. Not sure at all why or what that will mean to him as a Jew, but it doesn’t matter. I didn’t know he had a brother Jack, and now I know that he does, or did, and I’m going to pray for the guy.

And trust:

I read a great post this morning about surrender, which by the way is what I have always loved about Sendak’s work. It is so joyful. Honest and joyful in the end.

The post was from a blog on my reading list that has gotten swept away from my attention because I have signed up for so many others. So glad I grabbed a look see this morning, as it related to what I was thinking yesterday, which was that getting anything out of Lent this year is going to take a lot of trust.

So, here is what I read in a blog named Spirlaw, a blog on spirituality and the law, which is written by brother Robert Sylvester, C.S.C. :

Mother Mary Francis, the abbess of the Poor Clare Monastery of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Roswell, New Mexico, makes a simple and useful point.  She says it is easy to say “I believe in God” but harder to say “I believe that God is in control.”

This says to us: to believe is one thing, but to believe and trust is quite another. To believe and to trust exceeds the boundaries of self, and all the anxieties we encounter.  Such belief and trust is liberating – it makes life easier.

This brings to mind St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians in which he admonishes us to abandon life in the futility of the mind which can alienate us from God. Indeed St. Paul reminds us that we are called to put away our former self, our old ways of life in favor of life in and with God through Jesus Christ.  (Eph 4:17-24)

 

Belief and trust.  A frame of reference for the Lenten journey, or anytime.

 

Loving God, grant we pray that we may do more than believe, but that we may believe and trust.

Nice eh?

 

Forgiveness Friday: Fan Mail to Sendak

Did your parents send you out in warm summer rain and force you to dance?

Mine did.

Did your parents tell you to get lost because they were busy reading their mystery books or the New York Times?

Ours did.

Did your parents, some how, some way, help give you the confidence to write a letter to Maurice Sendak with the expectation that he would write back?

Mine did.

And he did. I was a senior in college and felt faint when opening my mail box.

Among replies to the fan mail that I have sent over the years, I have gotten hand written replies from Lou Jacobs (famous Ringling Brothers clown), Maurice Sendak (author of In the Night Kitchen) and most recently, Martin Sheen (lead actor in the recent movie The Way).

Not only did these gentlemen return a reply soon after I wrote my letter of thanks and interest, each of them wrote back by hand.

Who DOES that any more?

And…why me? Mine was certainly not the only letter they received in the mail on whatever day their agents let the letters pass through.

I think, much like I said to a neighbor and new friend yesterday who was so kind as to give our son two hours of wonderful stories of his childhood,

I think that sometimes the Holy Spirit knows who and what we need far better than we do.

In the same way that my son Joe needed Edward’s advice and insight about prejudice yesterday, perhaps Edward needed an eager young boy who is willing to listen closely to what he has to say.

” ’tis a glory hallelujah to believe…”

“…we shall only know the blessing of our founders sweet caressing when they ring the golden bells for you and me.”

~ When They Ring the Golden Bells by Dan­i­el de Mar­belle

* P.S. I was looking for a version of Emmy Lou Harris singing this song, and stumbled instead on to one of my mother’s favorites: Mahalia Jackson. If you click on the song title you can listen to Mahalia on YouTube. ~ Enjoy!