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

Forgiveness Friday: Faith is Suspension of Disbelief

My Dad. Actor, director, tech guy and teacher.

Transcendent faith only works when we willingly suspend our disbelief.

That is why God invented a lot of things, but I’m on a Maurice Sendak roll, so today I am celebrating charcoal pencils, watercolors and the printed book industry.

The suspension of disbelief is a theater term. According to my father, who is King of all that is Drama,  entertainment should be the obvious goal of a show. Not all directors or actors agree with him, but they should. He is King.

A good show suspends our disbelief that, whatever. That our bills will get paid, our kids will ever grow up, that our nation will thrive despite ourselves. If a show is done right, even the intermission is a buzz of non-rememberance that the snow piling up outside the box office door is anything but that: just snow. But inside, a real or fanatical story is put to stage by real people, and hopefully, the audience is engaged in most anything but their worries and doubts. For a few minutes anyway. It is a few hours of possibility.

Maybe an interesting lesson is taught in the meantime, or a cool story is told – but for me, the gift of that time in the dark for the audience is that we are forcefully faithful. Why else pay the ticket price if you aren’t going to try to believe in something? For a while anyway.

Okay, I guess this post actually is about theater, and that’s okay. Maybe some other day I will draw out (pun intended) why I put the work of Sendak in my same personal category file of favorites which includes Samuel Beckett, Alvin Ailey and Juliet Child.

Instead I’m going to hunt up a photo of my second favorite actor, who I can only guess agrees with my sermon of the day. Here he is suspending your disbelief, if you care to have it gone for a short time:

Whoopsie. I can’t find my photos of Bud Thorpe, my father’s student who went on to study and act with Samuel Beckett. The Count works just as well I hope.

And here is a quote to keep it real:

“The tears of the world are a constant quantity. For each one who begins to weep somewhere else another stops. The same is true of the laugh. Let us not then speak ill of our generation, it is not any unhappier than its predecessors. Let us not speak well of it either. Let us not speak of it at all. It is true the population has increased.”
– Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot

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!