Thursday, January 26, 2012

Take Me with You

On this memorial of Sts. Timothy and Titus I am struck by the words from the Magnificat that tie together a very important message for us all. Who are we hanging around and can we ride their coat tails to the pearly gates or they ours? Look around and see who's in your crowd. "St. Paul was so powerful and attractive a personality that he was able to draw such different types of men as Luke, Timothy and Titus, and to make them his collaborators." Hang on to Paul because he'd be glad to drag you along, but there is much work to be done walking with him as he works for Christ.
In the meditation from St. Teresa of Avila - "For God does not deny himself to anyone who perseveres. If beginners with the assistance of God struggle to reach the summit of perfection, I believe they will never go to heaven alone; they will always lead many people along after them. Like good captains they will give whoever marches in their company to God." Worth the struggle! All I could think was, SOMEONE take me with you. As I sat reading this in Mass, one of the deacons sat down next to me and said, "Good morning." Okay, good company. Then, a young mom who's oldest daughter will be going with my daughter to the same high school next year patted my shoulder and said, "Morning Julie." Ahhhh, more good company. And, a co-worker walked down and sat a few pews ahead of me as well as several others I see around the church quite often. I will have to hang around there more often because surely someone here will "lead me along after them."
My thought is that as parents, as co-workers, as people bound by a common community, we impact one another. It's as simple as that. We make a positive or a negative impact on one another by our words or our actions or our lack of either or both. I believe the challenge for us today is the same it was for Titus and Timothy and is what St. Teresa is talking about and that is, either be the person who brings others to Christ or hang around one who's going to bring you to Him. Because, as we all know, this world is passing and if we don't associate ourselves with the right people or work hard to change the one's we're around, when the sickle wields or when the good captain calls the troops, we may not land in the place we favor. Something to seriously think about. Am I leading others to Christ and if I'm not, am I hanging around someone who will lead me?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Plain Ol' Fun

This past weekend I took three eighth graders and two fourth graders to see Beauty and the Beast 3D. Lemme just say that I cannot wait for the new Dr. Seuss Movie in 3D. But, this was pure and simple fun for me. The type of fun I used to have when my family and the O'Rourke family all crammed into our station wagon and my mom paid for a carload at the drive-in (which by the way was in our neighborhood...those were the days). Because of the expense of going to the movies, I rarely go but when I do I remember just how much I love the big screen. Of course, it never hurts to sit next to two fourth graders who reach out to try to touch objects coming off the screen and who ooooo and aaaaahhhh over everything. Sitting there, I remembered how many tons of times my mom took us to the drive-in and the Belcourt and the Belle Meade Theatres. It was plain ol' fun back then and it's still plain ol' fun.
Beauty and the Beast is all about seeing others for who they really are and not how they look or how they act. I love sharing that with these girls. Both ages need to hear that right now and both ages "get it". Wouldn't hurt to have a few more Belles in this world. Wouldn't hurt to have the adventures of the castle. And, it just never hurts to have a weekend of plain ol' fun. We had that all my life when I was growing up and I need to remember to pass that on to my kids and their friends. Simple lessons and good fun.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Excuses, Excuses, Excuses

I was going to write today about how difficult it is to pray or to read or to write when you're sick. Then, I read another blog from a writer I absolutely love who was giving excuses for why she may not be called to be a writer. I suddenly realized that I often think of all sorts of excuses not to sit and write. Writing is not easy, especially for someone like me who has no "formal training". I read a lot, I pray a lot, I try to listen and I practice, practice, practice and still, I seem to think of every excuse not to sit and work on what I believe I should be working on. Writing can be scary. Rejection can occur. Criticism does occur. You work and work and work and oftentimes your personal life lay wide open for all to see. It can be frightening. But, if you love something, just do it. So, I'm thinking that it's time for me to stop thinking up excuses and sit and write. No fear.
Handed down from my parents as well as my grandparents is a whole lot of "don't give me any excuses" and "I don't want to hear it". So. Let's go. Get on with it. Write. Not whether I believe I'm called or not, not when I can find the time and not when I start feeling better...Now.
And, for those who are not writers but maybe are painters or who have some projects lurking and have found more time for excuses than the work itself, stop...go to it... get on with it. No excuses. No excuses. No excuses.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Gifts From Above

Christmas can be a magical time; a time for family and friends sharing the birth of Christ with gifts to one another. December 25th also happens to be my father's birthday. This year my brother and sister-in-law invited the entire family over Christmas night for soup and salad and birthday cake. All the children and grandchildren made a card and put them in a large bowl for him to read later. The night was quite the success. As people finished eating, my brother gathered us all and handed each of the eight children an envelope and called upon his wife to tell a little about the contents. Seems my brother had found some unclaimed money that belonged to my grandmother and his wife went to great pains to retrieve the cash and split it between her grandchildren. Many times she went back to the claims office with larger sizes of licenses and other identification. You'd think the people really did not want the money to be claimed. Imagine that! But, my sister-in-law was persistent because she knew, and she's right, that my grandmother and grandfather worked hard for every penny and she would want to have what she deserved. So, my sister-in-law, on her crutches from knee surgery, went back again and again until she got what my grandmother left behind. Each card had three bills and the note that you see above. I was touched by my brother and sister-in-law's hard work and by their persistence and by the sharing of the story and the remembering of the life. My grandmother loved to spend Christmas with us. The cake she always had for my father said, "Happy Birthday Jesus and Bill!" She was incredibly giving and I loved that she was a part of my dad's big birthday and our Christmas. Gift after gift. Memory after memory. An awesome gift from above!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Since It's Been a Week...I Feel I Can Talk

Welcome all to the New Year! I've been a little under the weather recovering from surgery. Seems I am special. And fortunate! Christmas night, I didn't feel so well. My husband had a stomach virus the previous two days so I figured that I had the same thing. Then, on the 26th, I felt worse. Just piercing pains in my lower abdomen but still, I was sick. No fever. Nothing else. Just pain. My daughters suggested the hospital, suggested the possibility of appendicitis, but I knew that was not possible. By 8:00 p.m., I begged my husband to take me to the emergency room and the next morning my appendix was removed. My poor, perforated, toxic appendix was taken from me. What makes me so special? Fortunate? The darn thing had loped up over my colon and the perforated side with all the toxins wanting to escape into my body and make me reallllly sick were pressed tightly against my colon. Doc said he'd never seen such luck. Doc said he had to work long and hard after realizing what had happened but that he could handle it all arthroscopically because the infection had been contained. Thank You God!
Here's my point to telling you this story other than allowing you to feel a little sorry for me. Hahaha. My husband has told me story after story shared with him every time he mentioned the reason for my absence. Oh my goodness. Crazy, awful stories. I truly am fortunate. And, I'm also fortunate in my faith community. I had people show up each day to bring me Communion and I received the Sacrament of the Sick. A priest happened by the bookstore, asked about me and came right over. I am truly blessed and I am grateful. I believe. I believe that evil can lurk in the oddest places and can show it's ugly head in the weirdest ways and at the worst times. I believe that we can bring one another strength through our visits and through our prayers. I believe that God means for us to take care of one another, to allow for help, to overcome all that is tough in this world and to live in community. I believe.