Saturday, December 20, 2014

O Key of David

O Key of David and scepter of the house of Israel; you open and no one can shut; you shut and no one can open: come and lead the prisoners from the prison house, those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.

And this seems to be the key to yesterday's longing.  As I rise from the prison house and get out from under the shadow of death I am also conscious of the limited time I have to do the things I am called to do.  My mother is 93 and I don't think she thinks that her time is too long on this earth.  I recognize whether I am dancing in eternity next year or 40 years from now, it will seem like a short run on the earth.                                                                                                                                                    

I am trying to find the freedom that I have received and live in that freedom.

Detachment With Love

I have some people in my life who do not have empathy.  At least that is the way it seems to me.  Perhaps they just don't take time to think before they speak.  Perhaps their life experiences are not such that they can imagine what life is like for those of us who are weak or in pain.  Or perhaps I just expect too much from them.

The thing I am learning is detachment with love.  The first part of that was what I worked on first--detachment.  Detachment has some very unloving characteristics.  It made me want to flee, to avoid, to escape.  There is a certain amount of wisdom in getting away from the source of hurt.  Many divorces are justified that way. When someone hurts me, it is not unreasonable to avoid them.

The next part was harder.  How to still love the people who say and do hurtful, selfish things?  How to love and share life with people who feel or express very little empathy?  The first part of that is my own neediness.  I have to find strength in myself and in my faith in God and from supportive friends to not need the people who cannot give me support to do that.  I need to find my own serenity and not blame them for their mistakes. If I need something from them, I need to make them aware.

The second part of the detachment with love is what I struggle with now.  To accept that sometimes I will hear callous, wounding things from people I love.  I am learning to consider the source and to pray about the hurts and embrace that person with my love.  I am learning that sometimes there is wisdom behind the painful thing I hear.  Sometimes there is a message for me and getting hurt and stuck in the remarks of another hurting person as though what they said was a fact, is the wrong course of action.  In my detachment with love I am learning to let it go.  I forgive them in my heart and kick out the spirit of un-forgiveness that is finding roots in me.  I need to accept that I am a beloved daughter of God and the unkind or thoughtless or selfish remarks of others do not change that.

Friday, December 19, 2014

O Root of Jesse

O Root of Jesse, standing as a sign among the peoples; before you kings will shut their mouths, to you the nations will make their prayer: come and deliver us, and delay no longer.

When faced with my own possible death, I had regrets and sadness.  I felt that I wasn't ready yet.  I wasn't done. I knew that I should be ready.  I should welcome heaven and to eternally give glory to God.  I knew that what I would get was so much more than what I would leave behind.  I am trying to rearrange my head so that I am ready, or more ready, so that I can pray with a whole heart--delay no longer.

Seven Quick Takes

Kelly Mantoan in hosting this carnival.  She is cute and funny.  Go around and visit her and the others.  I am sure that she will come up with a logo someday. (She tried to get us all to do it for her and I can admire that in a person, having grown up across from Hannibal, Mo and practically having Tom Sawyer memorized.  But I won't be working for her, nope.  She can whitewash her own fence.)

1.  The past two weeks have been so eventful, having thought I had cancer (it was only pre-cancer), meeting with an oncologist in the Cancer Center (it was only pre-cancer), and having a total hysterectomy (there was no cancer left in there, and it was only pre-cancer).  By the grace of God I was able to have robotic surgery which has led to a faster recovery time.  I have to remind myself that I am still healing because I have this tendency to over-do it and then suffer a bit with sore everything.

2. The trouble for me is that the above events and the fact that I haven't felt well since late September have made me not at all in the mood to do anything to get ready for Christmas.  I couldn't imagine sending out Christmas cards. (Merry Christmas, I think I have cancer, oh, haha, it was only pre-cancer.)  I haven't shopped at all.  (Got your Christmas shopping done?  Sure, I am not doing any this year.)  We did put up the tree Thanksgiving weekend to try to raise the mood around here. (Didn't really work for me.)  So, all in all I am not sure what kind of Christmas this is going to be.


3. But, the good news is, I am starting to feel better.  Not bleeding for the first time in months has a lot to do with it, I am sure. I need to figure out what is important and jump back into life.  I still hurt around the middle and I discovered that I was placed in an upside down position for this surgery which maybe explains why everything feels as though it has accumulated in the middle of me.

4. My sister has three chapters of the book we are writing done.  I suppose that it is her book, and I am feeding research and plot ideas.  It is a young adult book based on the life of our great grandparents who lived remarkable lives. So, I critiqued and sent my plot ideas to her to get the next three chapters done. Easiest way to write a book ever.

5.  I am working again on my passport.  I am planning to travel this summer.

6. The surgery has meant time off of school.  It is both fun and maddening to be home.  My life lacks people, it is too quiet.  I turn on the television, but that is not really compelling.  It is nice not to pack a lunch and to sometimes scoot over to 8am Mass, but it is frustrating wondering what kind of mess will be waiting when I return.

7.  Yayas, my women's prayer group met this week and I was able to go.  I really needed some girl time.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

O Adonai

O Adonai, and leader of the house of Israel, who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush and gave him the law on Sinai:  come and redeem us with an outstretched arm.

The appearance to Moses was by extraordinary means.  It wasn't just hearing God in Moses' heart or mind.  It was not a rustling wind or the natural event of a wild storm.  People who doubt the existence of God often explain supernatural encounters as though they were a simple minded person's view of a totally explainable happening.  God appeared in fire in a bush that burned, but was not consumed.  God sometimes chooses to interact with man by the supernatural.

I ask for this, for the outstretched arm of my Lord to redeem me.  I am in need of salvation.  Recent events have shown me if I didn't know before how little say I have in anything that involves my living or my dying.  I am here at the Lord's kind providence. And yet saved, I continue to need saving.

Give Thanks

Dear God,

I thank You with a grateful heart.  I thank You for saving me.  I thank You for holding me in Your hand when all I felt was that I was falling into the pit.  I thank You for the unexpected, undeserved good news.  I thank You that I have had the help from my sisters in Christ to learn a thing or two and to begin to see and trust Your plan in all of this.

I see You in the robotic surgery, in the end to the bleeding and the beginning of feeling better, in the news that there is no cancer left in there.  Thank You for the freedom and the truth that set me free.  I thank You that there will be tomorrows and a future and hope.

Your beloved daughter,

Mary

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

O Wisdom

O Wisdom, coming forth from the mouth of the Most High, reaching from one end to the other, mightily and sweetly ordering all things: come and teach us the way of prudence.

Today, the 17th of December is the first of the O Antiphons sung at evening prayer and as the Gospel acclamation.  I love the O Antiphons, perhaps because O Come, O Come, Emmanuel has always been my favorite Christmas season song, Advent song really.  I listen to these antiphons and try to take in what they mean in my life.

When I was very young, I cared a great deal more for knowledge than for wisdom.  I thought that if I had knowledge, wisdom would follow.  That philosophy has not made me very wise.  I try to turn to God and not to the world, but my first thought in seeking wisdom is not that it comes through learning prudence.  It comes through right judgment, through seeking truth and not the distorted lies told by the world.

Teach me prudence.  Help me to gain wisdom.

Cooking-- Life Hack

This time of year, this time of year.....actually most times of year, most of us find ourselves overwhelmed trying to feed the people in our lives.  It was once more hectic for me when I had a child to think of, but I was younger then and had more energy to pull from.  These days I have to rely on my brain more than my ability to do ten things at once.  I just can't multi-task the way I once could.

But since I have been home after surgery, one thing that I have reflected on is the cooking.  During this entire fall while I felt unwell and was fighting my body just to keep going, cooking became an uphill climb everyday.  I couldn't keep up and every dinner time just knocked me out.  I don't live in the kind of marriage where we share the cooking duties.  I suppose we could if I would be satisfied with a dinner of fried bologna sandwiches, but I need vegetables and try to balance out the food groups a little farther than meat, grease and cheese.

One thing that I have found that helps me is to cook extra on the weekend or when I have extra time.  I crock pot a roast or lentils on the weekend and I have something quick to pull out during the week.  I really like deli chicken or cooking boneless skinless chicken breasts in Italian dressing and making extra.  When I am using the oven, for a pizza or baking meatloaf, I try to think of what else I can cook at the same time.

Years ago I would make out a monthly menu and write in the foods I planned to serve.  That really gave me a map for grocery shopping that saved both time and money. Now that I cook for only two, the monthly menu seems like overkill.

Having some good spices to use can also make cooking more tasty and easier.  I have some reduced balsamic vinegar that adds a lot of flavor to cooked meats.  I try to assess what I have in the freezer and plan how I will use that. I always have some fall back food, for me usually tuna sandwiches that I can count on having the ingredients for in a pinch.  I try not to get pinched too much.

I suppose the main life hack for cooking I have is to think and be intentional about meals.  Some time spent planning can pay off by helping to develop a routine.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Rejoice

This past Sunday was Rejoice Sunday.  It is the pink candle in the Advent wreath.  I didn't put the Advent wreath out this year.  Life was too uncertain at the beginning of Advent.  And now that I have been given the gift of my life back, I rejoice.  But, I find my head isn't in the usual place preparing for Christmas.  I haven't bought a gift yet and I am not sure that I will.  I don't feel attached to the usual rituals and celebrations.  I am looking for something that means more.  I am looking for a change of heart.  I rejoice and that seems to be enough.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Unearned Gift

How do I thank God for mercy and grace that I don't deserve?  How do I thank Him for saving me?  How do I thank Him for dying on a cross and rising to end death so that death is not something I need spend my life in fear of?  All I can do is offer my faint praise, my pitiful thanks, and my joyous, selfish cries of thanksgiving.

I could say lots of people are praying for me, or my life is harder than some and I don't get support in ways that I need, I could say God selected me and ignored others, and I would be wrong.  I wasn't there when my name was inscribed in the Book of Life and I don't know God's plans.  All I can do is rejoice that perhaps I have been given more time to clean up my act and finish the work set before me.

The doctor performed a hysterectomy on December 9th and removed all traces of abnormal cells.  As he put it, there will be no follow up treatment, no need to follow you after we meet on December 31st.  Everything is clean.

I don't understand, I don't deserve, I am not worthy, but I accept the gift with grateful thanksgiving.  In this instance in my life, He took my breath away.