Online Lenten Guide: The Ignatian Solidarity Network

“Following Jesus means to incarnate an attitude, a disposition, an openness,

and a receptivity to the divine offer of grace actuated in loving service;

it means taking up a new way of being in the world for God and for

the flourishing of all God’s creation.” ~ M. Shawn Copeland

Found in The Ignation Solidarity Network Blog

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In Time I Will Fear Not the Day

“You find me where I can’t be seen…

image

(my Granny)

 

before you I’m fallin’,

if it weren’t for your wings I’d be gone…

to grow my own wings I have tried….

merton worthy

 

 

in time I will not fear the day…take me to where I can go.” ~ Kate Rusby, Falling

Intimate Love Can Require Extraordinary Courage

This morning I came across something quite beautiful that was posted on Face Book. Rosa Lee Timm, an outstanding Deaf actress, posted a clip of a wedding. This clip was of the vows that a woman wrote for her soon to be husband and it was incredible. Unfortunately there aren’t any closed captions for this clip that has gone viral on the internet. In Rosa’s comment in the status box above the clip that she shared she explained that she doesn’t know what this woman was saying – but that it certainly looked like a powerful message based on her husband’s reaction. She commented how she admired the beautiful and massive hairstyle of the bride, and I agree! It’s dynamite! Feel free to see for yourself by giving this great looking couple a gander. Back in the day, if I had known about flower covered archways I might have put more eggs in that basket – this one is beautiful! So – the film shows an extraordinary to look at couple who generously share parts of their unique wedding online. What the bride says is about far more than young love though – it was about the reality that accepting life’s greatest experiences often requires an extraordinary amount of courage to endure the worst patches as well. One doesn’t have to be Christian, as she is, to know this to be true. It’s a universal thing – if we are going to experience even a slice of a full life we need to dare to leap, and experience fall, after fall after fall. And intimate relationships are the messiest and most wonderful experience of all: Marriage, parenting, grand kids, nieces nephews, friendship, siblings, pets – it’s all a gamble. Anyway – I enjoyed knowing that I’m not the only relational chicken-sh*t on the planet and the video warmed my heart. BBbGXzPCAAACd-4For those who can’t hear what she said, this is some of what I jotted down from the video: “…sitting with this piece I wrote called “I Waited for You” I realized that you are my sequel. You are what I asked for, and I will be content with whatever the will of God is, and He chose somebody strong enough to deal with me…. I waited for you. Did you know that I’m not her and that I partially agreed to the wait because I didn’t believe that you existed in the first place? But in the slight, rare possibility that you did, you would definitely not want me, because I’m not her. …I choke on words like ‘want’ and ‘need’…I am the one that fairy tales tell you to stay away from. I was never Cinderella…I was never the Princess. I was the fire breathing dragon…yet you chose to knock on the door of this castle: my heart….unaware that an invisible fortress had been built, due to much more experienced pain than a sting… I was in a relationship with pain…and I loved him but I hated him, because pain had been faithful for years... beauty to me was incomplete…there was no heart in the house tonight.. nights like this I would wish and pray ‘Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name, please allow the clouds to gather and the sky to to turn to gray, lead us not into temptation…Oh how I wish that it would rain so that when I look into the sky I can see my reflection’. …(after I met you) I stepped out into the sun. He is the one that knows me. He knows me. He has the ability to foresee and He still loves me. So, I stepped outside…only to see you outside my door and I was terrified… Why couldn’t I believe that your hand placed gently on the back of my neck calms me. I hate the way my heart became a defiant teenager. I got tired of the fight and decided to prove to you that you too would leave…I kept asking myself ‘who are you’ while climbing the attractive Mt. Everest of your mind. I attempted to hike a little higher to take a peek at your soul…your condition of unconditional is where I fell…

your love is too much…

it’s hard to breathe when anyone gets close…stand close and let me inhale your exhale…you collect my tears like wilted, wet bible pages…you remind me that as long as I stay close to Him I’ll never thirst again..

I remember

staring into your eyes for the first time

and it was like

staring into the back of the moon,

only to find out that IT shines too.

You are patience like a tailored suit…we are not Romeo and Juliet…but we too are a beautifully written tragedy…but we will continue and stand in His word and drink Truth… I know they told you ‘good luck’ with her…may the Lord continue to orchestrate this beautiful complex chord progression… today I will let my ‘yes be yes’, and my ‘no be no’, and today my ‘I do’ be ‘I do.’… I vow that I won’t tap out, I won’t give up...I vow not to say things like ‘you complete me’ because you don’t..in Christ I have been made complete…this will be my constant reflection because death on that cross was the greatest display of affection.

I’ve learned that He loved me enough to give me you, and so I vow to you my last breath.”

About Loud Dishwashers and Quiet Strength

handsigns_K“Nothing strengthens authority as much as silence.” Leonardo da Vinci

 

Well now, I hope that da Vinci is right, because the world around me seems to believe and behave otherwise. If I had time this morning, I would figure out what the sound level of my dishwasher is right now. At the moment, my house is silent other than

1: the dishwasher – a noisy one. Very noisy.

2: my dog Paul and the clinking of his dog tag on my feet. and

3: the pleasant chatter of NPR news which I’ve got at a low-level to keep me company and on task.

I’m pretty sure that I can also hear our dog Lennon chomping on some breakfast as well.

Probably this sound mix seems relaxing to some, boring, or maybe annoying as crap to others. My youngest son LOVES noise – he makes a lot of it, and feels anxious if he’s not surrounded by a clashing mix of various people and media streams. Oh, I think that most of us like the IDEA of silence – and maybe even envy those of us who are quiet and highly sensitive souls. I’ll let you research the statistics yourself, and they certainly are out there. Our world is getting louder. Commercials, radios, classrooms, churches, grocery stores. You name it. All of the day to day places we go to have been proven (in first world type of settings) to be really, really loud anymore. So with that in mind, indulge me as I start sharing some tough crap I’m up against of late.

I can’t be the authority of everything I want to control and change – and I can’t perfectly manage my sound environment – after all, I’m not cloistered and I’ve not yet taken a vow of silence. But I LOVE what Da Vinci says, and I want to switch his quote up to something more personal:

“Nothing can, nor has ever strengthened my authority better than silence.”

And, on the flip side – lore has it that the reason VanGogh cut his ear off is not because he1959461_10153074983048810_36322649183088841_n was insane, it was because he had tinnitus – sound that is not sound. It’s fake noise that is created by the brain of someone who is hard of hearing or deaf. It can be related to a lot of things – injury, stress, a reaction to environmental sound, tight jaw muscles, and from what I can tell – it always involves an out of the norm auditory system or event.

I still don’t know why it is true, but I found out a year ago that my hearing status, for now in one ear, is permanently out of the normal range. That may not sound (pun intended) like a big deal, but it really is. It’s a very big deal for me. What I’m up against isn’t as clear as the typical getting older and starting to hear less clearly.

Strangely enough, it is the symptoms that come with what ever is going on in my auditory system that is, I have to say, kind of maddening at times. And what I have going on isn’t even in the ball park of what many hard of hearing and Deaf folks go through. Thankfully, this isn’t my first unexpected life rodeo ride, so for the most part, it’s not too hard to take in stride. world has ended many times I read this morning that one way to deal with tangled feelings from our past is to accept our limitations as deeply and quickly as we can when these limitations become clear. I agree for the most part – I’m a fan of facing the truth, even when it sucks.

So, in a few weeks if at my 6 month hearing test the truth is that my hearing status is the same mild and mysterious scenario, my body is still going to keep telling me: things just are not right. If the ENT is dismissive and says again, “we don’t know what’s going on, there is nothing we can do yet, come back in another six months,” how should I respond?

The discomfort of constant ear pressure and the annoyance of mild tinnitus that I deal with 24/7, again, is nothing compared to many others. I am getting to know a lot of great people who have profoundly difficult symptoms such as frequent vertigo or severe tinnitus. Many of them can’t work, and many of them work anyway…how, I’m not yet sure.

I do know this:

I adore American Sign Language (ASL). It’s not just fun (which it is), it’s not just cute (which it can be) it IS – well, it is indescribably in written word. Because it’s not – it’s not English, and it isn’t written. It is something that we DO and SEE.

It is the BEST language ever, and I would say the same if my hearing was top notch. It conveys feeling, thought, time, time, space, story, history, and details in a way that no other language will ever be able to do.

So, “God willing, if the creek don’t flood,” hopefully between now and mid-April,  I will have the courage to face this ongoing physical limitation by allowing myself to reflect on these difficult questions and not feel ashamed of the resulting fears and anxieties that are about as normal as normal can be.

I’m out of time and brain juice to figure out a way to transition what I’m saying to a recommendation to read these two articles from a friend – so I’ll just add them as a Post Script here. They are all about the topic of this blog: grace.

Take care, and be warm, Kate

10429303_10153075073858810_8420602525960782671_nStaying open to Grace: http://wp.me/p3gSTz-T2

When ‘Happily Ever After’ Meets Life’s Hardships: http://www.everydayhealth.com/columns/therese-borchard-sanity-break/when-happily-ever-after-meets-lifes-hardships/

A Super Duper Beautiful poem: http://youtu.be/9GdawG7CBNo

 

 

 

Ash Wednesday : Your Work Will Be Rewarded

k2773601For those of us who observe Lent, today is a day that we are asked to be brave and remember that some day we will die. It is Ash Wednesday. We remember that we aren’t perfect, and as Christians, we need to renew our awareness that Jesus offered His life in order that we may stumble into God’s light….but not alone. God doesn’t want us to be afraid of failure – but the relentless pressures of life, even the most basic stuff, sometimes feels just like a black smudge right in the middle of my noodle.

So, sometimes I imagine my worst fears, my greatest burdens – I dredge them up and then close my eyes and imagine that I am in a row boat with Jesus. Some days just the undone heaps of laundry are enough to send me into an anxious flurry of worry. But, the boat image – it always helps.

The President of Saint Ambrose University wrote something interesting in an online Lenten reflection:

“The great Psalm 51 is perhaps the ‘classic’ articulation of our awareness of our sinfulness:

‘Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness…For I acknowledge my offense, and my sin is before me always.’

We know that we are need of forgiveness: from God, from each other, even from ourselves. In God’s dealings with humanity as seen in the Scriptures, we see that God asks us to DO something in order to show a sincerity in our search for forgiveness.

I also found some related quotes, and have been pouring through some photos which, to me, don’t smack of failure one bit.

“Time is the coin of your life.

You spend it.

Don’t let others spend it for you.”

Carl Sandburg

paper hats552781_10150679738048810_837678809_9152804_1430953596_n

“Nothing strengthens authority

as much as

silence.”

Leonardo da Vinci

whole wrld

“But as for you,

be strong and

do not give up,

for your work will be rewarded.”

2 Chronicles 15:7

Moving On From this week’s “Worried Wednesday”

Sigh.

Okay, the good news from my little window is that I popped by our youngest son’s school for Mass yesterday, and brought with me a huge load of adult anger and worry about what has popped up on the news of late in Florida.

Thursday is supposed to be my day to move on from my worried Wednesday and point out good things to myself and via this post, but up something, or

some

things

that will get me, or not…to Forgiveness Friday.

Fine thing #1: Those who hate open windows are off to work and school for two days in a row – WHOOSH go the curtains I said!

Fine thing #2: Florida’s best guy (that would be my dad) has the whole thing under control. After a very long talk, I think he may have heard my voice and is bringing and extra $10 to poker night next week.

Fine thing #3: Florida’s second best guy (that would be my uncle) is out on his three-mile walk right now, and has the alligators in his realm under control.

Fine thing #4: What has been one of the longer Lenten seasons that I can remember , yet it seems to be going by faster than I realized, and soon I will be raiding preparing a couple of baskets.

Not fine thing: the news. I am not sure how to describe where I was coming from yesterday as I was trying to process a bit and made my comment about a realization I’m working on about whether or not the world is, or is not “going to Hell in a hand basket”.

Honestly though, by the end of the day yesterday it was a relief to have gotten some of these thoughts down and I realized, that as a Lent goer, doer, lady…whatever you want to name it, I realized that I was doing what I’m supposed to during Lent:

giving myself permission to look at what Royally Sucks in and around my world.

There isn’t the Christmas pressure of joy and happiness that is an odd and complex mix. It’s Lent – it’s okay and we are expected to bravely take a more quiet, a more paced, and a deeper look at, well,

what Royally Sucks in and around my world.

And as the mom of two men and a boy, and Godmother to two men and a boy, and Aunt to two women and a girl, and…and…and….

that’s where, this week anyway, the news story about yet another young male being murdered over Skittles has hit me.

I think I shared in a post a few days back that part of my Lenten “grand” plan was to send the best fan mail letter that illustrator Maurice Sendak has ever received.

This week I remembered too, that Lent is “supposed” to be a time of quiet and gentle reflection, so I’ve downgraded my goal to,

just send him a lovely birthday card, as I just read that he will be turning 88 sometime around when my card should arrive.

Happy Third Day of Spring to Each of Us,

Kate

Worried Wednesday: Hell in a Handbasket, or What?

So, on Wednesday, when I post, I almost always call it “Worried Wednesday.”

This is because, particularly since I have become a mom, I worry. I came up with this theory, I think it was last winter, that I would take my mother’s suggestion to worry with abandon at least one certain time a day for “x” amount of time. I can’t remember if she said ten minutes or an hour, and that for her, “poof” – the worry chore is done and off she would go to the groceries or art or library or lunching she would go.What more could she do until the next wave of anxiety hit? Do something – plan a garden, whip up a poem, make some soup. And then meet worry at the door at “x-o’clock” the next day.

At any rate, at some point in the last year I decided to take up that idea and to work as hard as possible to worry all day on Wednesdays. I was thinking along the lines of the old-fashioned Monday is for laundry rule that my children’s great-grandmother still stands by.

It started as a good plan and worked well for a long time. As a matter of fact, it became a great joke between a friend who was battling a sudden and intense bout of cancer last winter and spring. She knew about my Wednesday plan of sorts, so I could leave phone messages to her or her daughter saying: “It’s Wednesday what’s the deal? Give me some worries, call back with white cell report, having a good day – bring on the worry.”

Okay. I’m not sure if I left that message. I do know I thought of lots of strange messages to both my cancer friend and her oldest daughter.

It’s either very sad or very funny, or a mix of both that social networking has my brain wired this way…into bits and pieces and messages.

At any rate, oddly enough it was me needing to say good-bye on a fairly short notice as we started our adventure to Iowa. My good-bye to her was one of the hardest. We held hand on her porch for a while and she and I exchanged out loud our bottom line mom worries

(hers being – “what if I die before our youngest turns into a teenager?” and mine being, in a nutshell, “now that mine are flying nest, what if the world sucks ALL of their confidence, imagination and serves the devil on a platter and it is, God forbid, one of them that we bury first, then what?”)

I will also admit that, for a fact, I left no less than six bizarre fashion messages to these same friends since last year saying something to the effect of: “No. Not joking. DyING in the changing room. Dress emergency…” Yada.I hate to shop. They love to shop. It’s a fair exchange.

Actually, the last fashion bizarro message, aka: “let’s change the subject about death diversion tactic message” involved a forty minute dash in my new city to find something “appropriate” to wear. The only way I managed the stress of being the new girl on the block that week was to call and leave one more fashion message for my friend (the one with cancer)’s phone saying (tongue in cheek and laughing at this crazy dress situation):

“Okay – I’ve devoted a year’s worth of Wednesday’s to your stupid cancer – drop a knee NOW! and start your crazy novena’s because the next hour is about me and the damn black dress that I never found last year.”

It turned out to be perfect timing because the message ended up on speaker phone to not only my friend, but her other six daughters she was in the car with, as we were all apparently whipping down highways trying to save the day by way of consignment salvation.

I

know

I’m not the only one, nor the first mom, dad, uncle, aunt, person to lose many, many hours of sleep over worries that the fact of the matter is that the world is, generation after generation going to hell in hand basket. It is!

As I did some research to write a post on a racism vigilante tragedy in Florida, I found some other headlines for articles I could have read:

HLN must see, must share:

  • A road made from toilets,
  • coach accused of biting winning coaches ear,
  •  child’s fingers found in dumpster ,
  • cops catch mom choking an 11 month old,
  • sister salutes brother in Afghanistan,
  • Hunger Games and the $140 million weekend?,
  • and in other news Ashton Kutcher is heading to space

You know what I’ve decided this year if I’ve decided anything?

The world has always been going to Hell in a hand basket for children the adults who work to make it, one would hope, the safest, most fun, and maybe even funny place to live.

Not a bad realization to sit with as I think, I am half way done with my first Lent while living West of the Mississippi river.

And yeah. I’ve lost several hours of sleep this week over, no, not needless worry about my son’s becoming men and flying our nest – it’s the real thing! Oh yeah, violence, racism, drug addiction, poverty…. Ack! It keeps me up most of the night every few months.

Last night was one of them.

And the other thing that I’ve decided this year if I’ve decided anything?

I can’t make it through this mom job of getting my sons to adulthood, reasonably in tact, without a lot of laughter.

Maybe it’s just me, but the ’70’s Sesame Street clip in this article I found while avoiding what really has me worried, is for now, the thread of sweetness that I’m going to hang my hat on while I wait on the sun to rise here in a few minutes.

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?