Reminders from Thomas Merton and St. Francis and a Mute Button about Small Favors

popeILY“My mom’s home care nurse called. She was having distressed breathing. Her pulse ox level was 83 which is poor. She was struggling to breath. Having pain. Ambulance was called…I am beside myself….

Gracie’s pain is being managed to the best they think we can do without surgical intervention….

Today we will be discharged…we will be making (her 90th brain) surgery date in the next few days. Grace has had a wonderful spirit through all of this. She just wants to not have pain anymore. Team Amazing Grace needs prayers for wisdom and peace…

Please pray for. Grace we are turning back to go to the. ER … I am over an hour out and she is. 10 pain. She is not well…”

Those are just a few of the frantic Facebook status updates that a friend of mine has been putting up in the past two weeks as she asks for prayer from her huge circle of online friends. She is one of a small handful of women that I’ve tried to keep in touch with for almost fifteen years on the internet. I met them while looking for information about adoption before our youngest was born. Lately contact with them has dwindled to a lot of clicking of Facebook “likes” or these cute cartoons that have a bit more flare in a response and “save time” for a “real” response. Two of us have been going in a new directions – one as a writer and me with my American Sign Language studies. One of us has been doing a lot of elder care and is busting out all over with pride as her daughter is stepping into her own skin and singing like no other all over her town.

In this small group of friends two of us, the mom whose status updates I quoted and another mom – have during that 15 years buried three children. One child took his own life and two other boys died from genetic illness. Another mom’s child has been diagnosed with a lot of maybes – but a “probably” that he is struggling with neuro sensory issues that are along the lines of autism. He is a complicated puzzle of emotions. He is a delight and she sometimes shares quotes of what he is saying out loud that are at times hysterical. Other times his quotes are heart wrenching observations about the world that should be coming from an old man, not a Ninja Turtle who is barely old enough to read chapter books.

What I appreciate about this group of friends that I have never met is that because we’ve grieved together with prayer for those three sons that died – we don’t, well I don’t anyway, always necessarily explain what prayer is being asked for when one of us requests an all out bended knee effort. And we And I feel comfortable with not always having the time to explain the details of what is going on with me or my kids when I share with any one of this small bunch – I have sort of a code phrase that is about the song “row, row, row your boat.” If I make a swing by comment about that song it means either that I know that their mom heart is in a state of worry, or it’s a general announcement that I’m in a bind and don’t have time or space to explain why I am a ball of nerves and doubt.

merton worthy

I have to share something really cool that just happened…but I promised my husband I would do an important chore in a few minutes, so forgive me if I don’t make sense.

Early this morning I read what could be a day old status update that my friend’s daughter is needing her 90th brain surgery to help with hydrocephalus – I started looking for some music to send her way. Her oldest child is a wonderful musician. And I went with a liturgical dance video that I found yesterday while looking for videos of church sign language interpreting.

But…as I mentioned in my last post, music sometimes hurts my ears of late – especially violin or high pitched vocals. I read a recommendation to listen to cello music because the frequency is lower.

So, I’m watching the liturgical dance video and wondering if I should share it, got cranky that the music was ruining the video for me, and clicked off the sound button on the video itself.

I had forgotten that I had Pandora running at the same time and an instrumental song called “Expression” was being played by Helen Jane Long. (The link I attached to her name is not the same song – but just as pretty).

Here is the amazing thing: the instrumental song, when I replayed it in the background, but watched to video in front of it (remember now, the actual music that was being used in the video was turned off) – when I paired the instrumental words with the St. Francis prayer dance – they were PERFECTLY in step – seriously. Don’t quote me but I think it was in 3/4 time – and in any case, there are a few moments of silence after the song finishes and she finishes her dance prayer.

Maybe it’s just me, but I find that 15 minutes of my day much more interesting than the day of chores I have ahead. And I may not be able to to check in on my friend and her little girl until tomorrow – but I firmly believe that the music, and the dance video, and my friend’s pain, and my sadness about singing out of key- all of it – got a really, very, super nice fifteen minute reprieve.

We can’t do it all, can we now?

But every once in a while, we get a deep breath from out of what seems like no where at all.

Thank God for small favors, eh?

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Global Sharing and My Noisy Night to Come

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O God of All the Earth

 

December 22

 

We are not the beginning and the end of the universe. We are part of a vision of humankind, seen in Jesus, and yet to be achieved in us, a vision of global sharing, universal peace and individual security.

— Joan D. Chittister, OSB

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Happy Feast of Epiphany to those who celebrate! Without a doubt at all, is my favorite feast of the whole Christian year.

Always has, always will be.

Our family thankfully fell into some Harlem Globetrotter tickets, so that is where I will celebrate the (not so quiet) end of this year’s Christmas and Epiphany Season.

More soon, Kate

I’ve already growled at my family twice, And you?

So many of us in the U.S.  may be feeling like my two oldest sons (who are now men!) did on that 4th of July years ago. I woke up this morning both elated that Election 2012 is finally here, and a bit miserable as well. 

I have been exchanging anxious messages with a college friend on Twitter, and thankfully a second friend has joined us this week. She doesn’t get quite as over excited as my other friend and I, so she is doing a good job of diverting our mouse clicking with some silly conversation as well.

It’s only 8:00 and I’ve already growled at my family twice, so this could be a long day. To that end, I’m making myself listen to the full 21 minutes of prayer by Benedictine nuns. I think it is from Erie, which makes it at least near a chapel that I went to retreat in as a teenager from Meadville PA. I find it odd that at age 45 I’m far less able to sit still that long. I’ve had to restart the podcast twice already. I suppose it could be that my rebellious years have just begun.

How is everyone else doing so far this morning? Let me know.

riverhills90@gmail.com

@kateocoop on Twitter,

or the comment box below.  : )

I doubt that I am alone in my excitement and worry today. This is how I spent the afternoon trying to Get Out the Vote yesterday. ( YouTube by trial and error )

(Updated Post) One Word, One Photo: Hope

July 9, 2013

I originally found this old photo for the WordPress Photo Challenge theme: “hope.”

When I published it in the winter of 2012, these two sons would have been in the fourth and tenth grades. It was also our first winter living away from their older brother, and our first winter living away from our country home in southern Ohio.

(check out this Homer Baily photo about last week’s no-hitter: http://espn.go.com/mlb/player/photos/_/id/28668/photoId/3075336/homer-bailey)

I’d have to consult their dad about when that hotel window snapshot was taken, because sizes are deceiving in that photo. Our youngest son was a giant as a toddler and preschooler. Yet, I don’t remember pullups on that trip to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, so he must be somewhere around four years old.

This memory jog also helps explain why the other handsome guy in the photo was the one of my three boys to have the best time on that trip. He wasn’t a pesky preschooler melting down in the gift shop, nor did he have the world of worry that was distracting his early adolescent brother in between being amazed by various music legends.

If I spend too much time thinking about all of this…I may become a little bit sad.

Our youngest starts Junior High School in early August, and it is a matter of months before the current sparks of little boy perspective will no longer be front and center in our home.

Thankfully, our youngest is very extroverted. Shockingly private already, but very extroverted none the less. This results in constant dirt as the front door seems to revolve, but having frequent guests makes it fairly easy to get the local preteen scoop from various angles.

So, I predict that if we are sensitive enough, and the normal amount of more often not all all swag (aka:insensitive), it will all even out and we will keep having glimpses into the reality that we still are raising one boy and two men. For a few more years anyway.

I’m not sure why, but this little reflection excercise is not resulting in a sad moment at all. I guess it’s the assigned photo challenge word from a couple of years ago…

Ha! look at what popped up first on my “Good Reads” quote search:

“Don’t cry because it’s over,

smile because it happened.”

 

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(Muppet images from Fan Pop)


― Dr. Seuss

Better stop typing while I’m ahead. Have a good day ~ Kate