Friday, July 20, 2012


It's an interesting word - metanoia.  I've heard it defined as a spiritual turning of sorts.  Wikipedia offers several possible meanings.  Mirriam-Webster defines it as "a transformative change of heart."  It's what we are called to do.  On an ongoing basis, I think.

It has been a long summer in some ways.  Lots - did you hear me LOTS - of family togetherness.  Can you have too much?  My boys have not participated in any extra activities this summer (their choice), my husband has worked very little (not his choice), and with limited funds, I have mostly kept the car parked.

I have also resented it.  With my husband's anxiety, he has made it known that he likes it best when everyone is home.  So I have gone with the flow.  By default, he has had things the way he has wanted them in that respect, but he doesn't seem much happier.  And for me...."Absence makes the heart grow fonder?"  There hasn't been near enough absence, I assure you!

By the end of last week, I could feel a weight somewhere inside.  It was really nothing anyone had done, but I knew a bunch of feelings were brewing below the surface.  (Side note to interject that the seemingly unrelated pictures were taken last night as a storm gathered. The reddish tint made things look really weird).  I finally found some time to visit Jesus at the little Adoration chapel near the house Sunday evening.  I took my journal and I wrote... Peeled back some of the layers to see what was below the surface.

I was able to return again on Monday and as I sat, I asked Jesus, "If I were to go to confession soon, what would I tell you?"  Well, I don't know about you, but He is always pretty accommodating in answering that question for me!  Again I wrote.  And there was The List.

I almost always prefer to show up for confession within the scheduled time frames, but this time, I knew I wanted more than my share of the 10 minutes allotted before daily Mass.  So, needing wisdom, I emailed my  confessor and asked if he had time after Mass one day soon. "... See you tomorrow," he replied.  

I began by saying that I didn't mean for this to be a complaint session about current issues, and he uncharacteristically stopped me.  "When there are issues - and there are - don't apologize for being honest with God.  We are not doing this to be slanderous, but to give the issues to Jesus."   I continued.  There was stuff.  Sin is icky.  Attitudes and thoughts and feelings which I will spare you.  Discouragement and doubt in spite of God's goodness.  Tiredness.  

He listens.  Really listens.  He hears where I am at - not just the sin list.  He speaks.  Little by little, he turns things just a bit.  What he says really does nothing to change the situation I am dealing with.  But what he says changes the way I view (and respond to) the situation I am dealing with.  He pulls forth a little compassion that has been dormant for far too long.  Not by chastising, but by pointing the way.  Slowly, gently, chipping away at some of the hardness of heart.  

Sometimes it seems that everything I do has a cost - the disapproving look or thoughtless rude comment.  The good priest does nothing to change that fact, but acknowledges that it is probably true.  To be a follower of Jesus, we do have to share in His Life - in the Paschal Mystery.  And here is my chance!  Not only does it have a cost, but I can take that and offer it back to God on behalf of and to benefit the other.  That's about the best economic news I've heard in a while.  Nothing is wasted!  

Twenty or so minutes later we are done.  I leave, not embarrassed or ashamed, but filled with hope and encouragement.  This may forever be one of the mysteries that I don't understand.  How one can [nervously] walk into a little room in the back of the church, sit and admit to another human the worst of who you can be, and then float out hope-filled and encouraged mere minutes later.  But it happens - often.  God's good grace is simply amazing!

Just a little different way of looking at things, and everything seems to change.  Metanoia?  A transformative change of heart?  Correction?  Healing? Embracing thoughts beyond our present limitations?   All of the above?  God is so very good!

happy birthday

Can I just post a picture with very little other commentary?  Because some day I'm going to do some really awesome birthday posts for my pictures...all of that.  But for now, I'm just documenting the event.   Birthdays are pretty low-key at our house.  My first born turned 17 on the 17th!!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

riding shotgun with Jesus

I've mentioned Ad Altare Dei before, I think.  It's a religious award that Boy Scouts can work on.  It takes an in-depth look at each sacrament and tries to draw connections between the sacraments, scouts, and real-life, I think.

My little group started working on it in earnest in January, 2011.  We took off the summer (moving, vacations, summer camp) and most of the fall of 2011, and got things rolling again in 2012.  We have been through Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist, Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick, and Holy Orders.  Only Marriage remains.  Saving the most difficult or the best for last??

As part of Anointing of the Sick, the boys are supposed to spend a month (?) helping the sick or elderly in some form or fashion.  We weren't really that enthused about going to a hospital (too many super-icky germs there) and not real comfortable with nursing home service.

So I emailed the husband of a couple I have gotten to be friends with through church.  He and his wife are my parents' ages, and she had surgery back in February.  There were many complications...a stroke during surgery that caused a loss of sight (they are hopeful this will improve some, but it has been months), diabetes that has caused the wound to heal painfully slowly, chronic diarrhea that makes it risky to go in public.  I had visited them one afternoon earlier in the summer and quite enjoyed myself, and thought that perhaps the boys could be of assistance to them.

Yes, he said, there were flower beds that needed weeding.  And so we set the time for Friday evening, when it would be cooler.  As luck would have it, it has rained all week, and the flower beds were a little soggy, but I knew my friends were looking forward to company.  I also know that our priest has visited them once in the months since the surgery (he has had a lot going on), but I know I would not want to go months at a time without the Eucharist.  So I asked if I could take Communion to them.  We had to work out some bugs (like I had to get the sacristan to open the church in the evening so I could get the Blessed Sacrament and I had to borrow a pyx from my SIL), but it all worked out!

My teen drove while Jesus and I rode shotgun. (Nothing could be better with a teen driver!)  I held the pyx in my hands, conscious of the incredible privilege.  My boys tried to avoid questionable language.

My friends were so happy to see us and Jesus!  As soon as I could work it in to the conversation, (did I mention they were happy to see us?) we had a brief communion service...a few prayers, a reading from the day's Gospel, a short discussion/homily, the Lord's prayer and Communion.  It was special to be a part of.

After that, we visited.  My boys did not turn their noses up at the talk of adult diapers, scabs, and wounds.  They got a good feel for the frustration and isolation of someone who is house-bound.  They enjoyed talking about the sports they participate in at school, things they are doing in Scouts and heard stories about our hosts' grandchildren. I saw them smiling and laughing.  It was really a wonderful evening.  We enjoyed strawberry cupcakes and a couple of hours later left with some to take home.  It did my heart good to hear my boys say that they had enjoyed the evening, rather than acting like they were being tortured to fulfill this particular requirement.  Before we left - we looked at the flower beds....we'll be back!

We are called to bring Jesus to others, to be Gift for others.  Most often, it is in an abstract way, but this time  it was in a literal, concrete, truly present way.  But in the awesome, perfect way that Jesus works, we all left richer!

Friday, July 13, 2012

reunion anticipation I am missing my laptop.  The screen has stopped working. So my options for blogging are to use the desktop or to disconnect the monitor from the desktop and connect it to the laptop (which pretty much turns the laptop into a desktop - just in a different location).  But the desktop is so old and slow, and it has no slot to put the SD card from my camera....

It makes blogging harder than it should be.  And my iPad - as much as I love it - is still not a fully functioning computer.  There are some things that it just does not do and interacting easily with Blogger is one of those things.  And posting pictures....still haven't figured that out.


My THIRTY year high school reunion is coming up at the end of this month!  I went ahead and pre-registered.  My high school was such a neat place.

(Image from )

It was built in 1925, and has undergone major renovations during the past 2 years.  It was a special place to be then, and I am excited to see how it has been updated.  I have memories of climbing out of windows and eating lunch on the front lawn.  When I attended there in the late 70's/early 80's the curriculum had been changed to a magnet format that attracted those interested in academics and fine arts.  Our football, baseball, and basketball teams had been discontinued, but we had gymnastics, cross country, and fencing that no one could touch!  No cheerleaders, but classical ballet and full scale dramatic productions.  Radio and TV stations.  German, Russian, Latin, French and Spanish.  No marching band, but vocal music, orchestras and jazz bands...sometimes playing at lunch.  It was a whole high school of the Geek Squad!

We came from hellacious middle school experiences (judging from this past week's Facebook postings) from all over the parish (the Louisiana equivalent of county).  Some of us arrived our freshman year knowing no one.  But I think the overwhelming majority of us found acceptance and freedom.  Because of that acceptance that I found then, I am not too nervous about our reunion.  We were generally drama free, even if we didn't move in the same circles.

A picture of me and my BFF - probably our Senior year.  I would guess that it is before school, and we are sitting in front of our locker on the third floor, outside of French class doing last minute homework.  I am the stick-figure on the right!

This is a picture of us 20-some-odd years later.... I'm a little sad that she won't be at the reunion...that darn vow of enclosure thing.

But at least a few from our gang will be there.  There is a walking tour of the school scheduled for Saturday morning, and then some of us will be meeting for lunch.  A big shin dig that evening, and that makes me the most nervous.  What if my purse doesn't match my shoes?  I don't like make-up and never wear it.  Should I make an exception?  What about my hair?  It so has a mind of its own,  Should I buy a new dress or just go with one of the two in my closet?  Sigh.

A picture of our gang.  ^^^  My BFF is second from the left. I think the two on the right will be with us on Saturday, plus a couple of others.  We determined that this was taken the morning of graduation rehearsal (probably with my Kodak Instamatic!)  Don't we look ready to take on the world??

So real point to my ramblings.  Just recording, documenting, putting the little bit of nervousness and anticipation out there!

Anyone else with reunion anticipation??