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Archive for November, 2015

Advent Post

As the 2015 Advent season begins on this Sunday, I reflect on a few of its themes and how they play out in my life.

There is always………the waiting.

Waiting, with the action of one step at a time going on simultaneously. For I cannot afford to be paralyzed by inactivity nor lack of faith. I need to find myself in this very moment, and how  this moment blesses me, what this moment calls me to be.

This moment is like a prism, turning and shining in the light. Facets of the call, all present at once: I can be supportive, I can be kind, I can be taking care of self, I can hold belief, love and gratitude for this grace and gift of the moment. I don’t have to wait for any of those things.

I can wait to proclaim or judge by appearances. I can wait to label falsely. But, most of all, I am called to believe in the light…the light that the darkness could not put out. The light present before, through and after all creation. It still, shines brightly in our crazed world of gigantic needs.

This is the light that shines in me and in all others. This is the light that Advent calls us to see.

Father Alfred Delp, S.J was a German Jesuit priest condemned to death by the Nazis in Berlin, Germany. He wrote the following, as he was imprisoned:

Those who wait for you will not be disappointed.” Ps 25:3

“Despite this gloomy time, with a certitude about life and faith, we have set up the Advent wreath, even though no one knows how long it will stand or whether all four of its candles will be lit.

…”the course of the liturgical year and the message continues and we keep on doing things — but not for sake of custom or tradition. It comes from a sense of certitude about things and mankind and revelation — things that are fixed and valid in and of themselves.” (My italics)

These give mankind the right to light candles and to believe in the light and brightness of existence.

The basic message of this First Sunday of Advent is to attain to the Source. It enlightens our lives and dismisses what is questionable, so that we can believe in the brightness.

The human being we are must realize that he is a wayfarer, a scout, hungering and restless. He is dependent upon an angel approaching and touching him with the wing stroke reminder of a higher message.”

These words from Father Delp, written in the 1940s ring truth for me today in 2015.  I have felt the wing strokes of the angels swiftly touching me, particularly in the past couple of months during a time when I truly needed reminders of a higher message.

The wing strokes came from the graciousness of nature, in its splendid autumn colors, and the first cool breezes of winter approaching and a fresh first snowfall, which always brings joy to me. These messages have come from friends and family and prayer warriors helping bridge a time of diagnosis, surgeries and healing for my love partner husband in life. And not even being able to see the wings upon their backs, the higher messages have come through the skilled medical personnel, who performed their missions of healing and care throughout this time.

The light was present in the quietness of daily prayer, reflection, reading and meditation.

Carriers of the light…..we look to and upon each other.  And the darkness cannot put it out.

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black cat halloween

Anne Lamott is one of my favorite authors and commentators on life in general, and life of a recovering addict in particular. I came across her post on Facebook today, and found in between the lines,  many meandering thoughts of like kind wandering through my mind lately. Especially the ebb and flow of life, the learnings along the way, and the inevitable march of time into older-age, which I am experiencing.

This morning, I put out the bag of roasted and salted almonds (but not, I noticed, as salted as they used to be which I liked; must have cut back in the name of nutrition, darn). Anyway I put them out and munched on a few, so I would bypass the bag (one of each) of mini Musketeers and Snickers.

To no avail…..after having downed one of each, I now have them behind closed doors of the closet awaiting the first ding-dong (oh, there’s another sweet, none in sight) of the front door bell tonight.

The fact that I have a little community in this “avoid sweets” attempt made life a little lighter for me today. All that’s left is to attack and accomplish the cleanings of two bathrooms on this rainy Saturday afternoon, watch a little football comfortably, as the MSU Spartans are having a rest day, and play some games on my Kindle Fire. Pretty easy.

Happy Halloween.

From Anne Lamott:  GUEST BLOG

“I have finally isolated the problem: that we were born at all. That we have bodies, and minds. Also, parents. Who made us go to school. Where a third of the children were absolute beasts, especially on the blacktop, when teachers weren’t looking. At about the time a grandparent or cat died, and we began to realize everything and everyone was going to die. Even Mom! Who was insane, who either had to be highly medicated, or who cleaned between the piano keys with Q-tips, or hated Dad, or adored Dad, who hated her.

This is all by five years old, before most children can even read, i.e. begin to learn about the full nightmare of life in one’s own bizarre family, let alone slums, Stalin, alcoholism, manic-depression, JFK, cancer, acne, and what eventually happens to most animals at the pound.

This advance is not available to most children until they are at least six years old.

Right? I mean, let’s put aside the fact that our hearts get broken–everyone’s hearts get badly broken here, trust me; shattered–and maybe we have children and they have awful problems, and their hearts get shattered, and you want to die, but eventually maybe they find a great husband, say, whom you adore, who, when the twins are ten, they divorce. Then your best women friends gets breast cancer. Plus your cat, who is the main reason you can even stand being here at all some days, is on his last legs.

So yeah, maybe we’re a bit more tense than the average bear.

Yeah, maybe we’ve shut down a little. Maybe at six years old (see above) we’ve developed armor, like very articulate, high-achieving armadillos. We’re obsessed with what other people think of us. Some of us drink or eat a little more than would be ideal. We know we are a little off balance, a little out of whack, because we binge on this or that, or starve, or have developed tiny, tiny control issues, and maybe struggle EVERY so often with judgment, hardly worth mentioning; or cannot turn the TV; and the cell phone is destroying our lives, our chance to be spiritually awake and present, and makes us hate the worst offenders. Plus, you know, the little death thing.

I promise, if I were in charge of more, if I were God’s West Coast representative, I would have a much better system.  But I’m not.

So what is the plan? I’m so glad you asked, because while I have some heartbreaking and highly stressful things going on even as we speak, as everyone does, and it is Halloween, which I hate on every level, not just because I have eaten all the fugging Mounds, which I thought I could keep around because I don’t love them, I am in a dangerously good mood.

Why? Because I have community. I have several friends who are so On Beyond Zebra in terms of greatness and loyalty, that we will never be alone in our struggles and suffering guns craziness. Because I got a second chance at life. Because God has to love me-that’s His or Her job.

Because the day is young, and only I can wreck it. I’ve done my prayers, meditation and been to the Church of the New York Times. I am in my own home, where there are pets, autumn apples, unread books, clean sheets on the bed (!!!!!), not all that many more Mounds bars to shovel in. I get to go for an hour’s hike. And then, OMG, a hot shower. I get to put lotion of my beautifully, ripply, sturdy, work-horse thigh; the laying on of hands.

And then all of these sober people who love me more than life itself–and I them–are going to meet and roar with laughter, or cry, and listen intently to one another, and remember that most of our problems are mental–our minds are for entertainment purposes only. So we will change channels. We will turn off K-Fucked Radio, and be where our feet and hearts are, with each other, sticking together, sharing our water and gum. We remind each other to eat, that we get even worse when we don’t. Like Jesus telling his disciples, “You are all driving me a bit crazy here today, but there is a fish roast going on at the beach. So everyone go eat, share, savor; breathe. And we’ll meet back here later. Deal?”

Then I am going to flirt with every old lonely person I see. And I am going to walk with my dogs through the ‘Hood, even though Bodhi is old and aches, and I will pick up litter, even though there will be more tomorrow, because that is not my business. Love and service are my business. Walking the dogs is my business. Radical self-care is my business: hence the autumn apple as and clean sheets, and remembering to look up. Asking myself if I want to be right or kind is my business. Law of the American Jungle: Remain Calm, and Share Your Bananas. Period.

I have to get up tomorrow at 4:00 a.m. and fly to Alabama, but that is tomorrow. Not my problem. Just today. I have you, you have me. The friends, the changing leaves,the unread books. The dogs. The cat, who is perhaps the tiniest bit bitter, about the dogs. The Mounds, which are actually damn good. Our hearts. Cool water. Wow.

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