Thursday, February 8, 2018

The Pilgrimage Begins

At around 60 years old I found myself seeing an oncologist and thinking my life had slipped away.  I had sorrow and regret which surprised me because I would have said that I believed in celebrating everyday and treating each day as a gift.  It can to me that there were things I wanted to do, ways I wanted to live that I had completely ignored.  One of those things was a lifelong desire to visit the Holyland.

Life got in the way.  I recovered from the cancer.  I try not to think about it these days. I changed around my life and retired. I am way closer to 65 than 60 these days. One of the first things on my to do list as a retiree was revival of that dream to walk where Jesus walked.  The parish I was joining had a pilgrimage coming up.  I wouldn't be alone, I would be with future friends.  I would be going with a priest who knew my name.  So, I signed up.  It seemed too good to be true.  It seemed like a miracle.

I don't know if I really completely believed it would happen.  I prepared, but I held my breath.  Without the support of my spiritual director, my siblings, and my friends I probably wouldn't have gone.  I developed an eye problem that concerns me, but it didn't stop me from going.

Anyway, on January 12th I drove over to the church and caught a ride to the airport and with 33 of my closest friends, began the journey of a lifetime.  We flew to Chicago.  The flight was delayed, so we had to hurry to the next gate to catch the flight to Frankfurt.  We made it.  On my way for the pilgrimage of my dreams.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

What Would Jesus Do?

I have never really liked the slogan "What would Jesus do?" I mean, how am I supposed to know what Jesus would do?  And how is that slogan relevant?  But, lately I have had dealings with people who have annoyed me.  They have practiced what to me seems like irresponsible behavior.  I have ended up picking up the slack for them, fixing it.

You might ask, why do I need to fix it?  Because people I care about would be hurt by the persons who let them down.  Because it was possible for me to try to fix it.  I am in the middle of one of the fixes now and we shall see if I am too late to impact things for the good.

I live alone these days and I like alone.  But, I still have to have contact, relations, activities with others, and sometimes these people don't live up to my standards.  I find I want to tell them off or talk about them to others and say the exact nature of their wrongs.  But, it really wouldn't change them.  It really wouldn't fix the current problem.  So, I am avoiding that, the talking to or about them. Except here, I suppose.

I was looking for a slogan to help me deal with me on this upset I feel about the current situation.  The serenity prayer was one such slogan that helped.  But, ultimately, I decided that "What would Jesus do?" was just right.  Do things in love.  Don't criticize or gossip.  Do things in love.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Pilgrimages

I have returned home from my pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I intend to retell the trip with pictures, but I am jet lagged and catching up on things, so I will check in here until I am ready to give the travelogue.

I have to say that I recommend pilgrimages versus sightseeing trips.  Having 2 priests with us enabled us to have Mass every day and celebrate in some very special places.  Almost everyone worked on friendliness and patience with each other, which would probably not have been true on a purely tourist trip. We had quite and assortment of pilgrims.

I loved it all.  Personally, I would have done less and spent more time in some of the places.  But, that is life, you can't hold onto moments.  Time passes and things change.  Run, run, run.  That is what it is all about, life.  And before you know it, you are done.

I need to re-read Canterbury Tales.  I kept remembering parts of that tale all during the trip.  I am trying to unpack and get back into life.  I have a little eye procedure scheduled in a couple of weeks.  So, I have to get ready for that. 

But, I do intend to tell the tale of my pilgrimage to the Holy Land, so that I have the memory and so that I can share it with you.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Lent

Lent begins on St Valentine's Day and ends (if you count Easter as the end, which it really isn't but humor me) on April Fools Day this year. I am not a spring holiday's person in terms of Valentines or Fools, but it is interesting to note this occurrence.

I have been told that coming back from the Holy Land and then soon going into Lent will bring it all to life.  I am planning on that.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

New Old Me

In sme ways I am a rock, a rock head, solid.  In some ways I know right from wrong and up from down.  I don't choose wrong, mostly.  I struggle sometimes to figure out the right, but I seek help and I am getting better at that.  And for a large portion of my life I thought that was enough.  I just shouldn't do wrong.  When faced with a dilema I did nothing.  If I couldn't do nothing I ran or hid or tried to be invisible.  And I tried to save people, to help whether they asked me or not.

I have concluded that there is nothing wrong with doing no wrong, but doing right is better.  And doing right is not trying to save people from themselves or helping when I am not asked.  Doing right is a little risky because there is less control of the situation.  And to do right, I have to actually do something, not isolate, not be invisible.

But, it was lately called to my attention that God doesn't need me to try to fix the world and its people. I can't do it no matter how hard I try.  I was given life to live.  That is a concept, to live.  To figure out what gives me joy and makes me whole.  To be holy doing those things.  I am called to love and joy not right or wrong. To joy.  And I am seeking my joy.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Losing Things, Finding Things

Getting ready for the trip I have had a lot of things to find.  Everything from spare car keys to hand sanitizer.  Some of it I find readily, and some things elude me.  So, I pray.  I lean heavily on the prayers of St. Anthony.  He is probably tired of me by now. I know that I am tired of looking for things.

The root causes of my random wanderings and pawing through boxes is that I am not a terribly organized person.  I am a bit spacey and I keep too many things, slightly short of being a hoarder.  Add to that my moving 3 times in three years, retiring from teaching, moving my mom twice and storing her stuff, and not quite being completely settled in this "new" house.

But as I searched high and low for the lost car key, it occurred to me that losing things and finding them is not a new phenomenon. The lost coin and the lost sheep in the Bible are two parables that people back then and today could and can relate to because everybody is looking for something as some song says....

I found the car key and the hand sanitizer and the million other things I was looking for.  The things I forget, I will do without or replace.  The point isn't how I dress or even how I smell, but the things I see and feel and do on the trip.  I am trying to learn to pack lighter.  Less things to lose.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

I Looked Over Jordan....

For my 60th year I wanted to take a pilgrimage to the Holyland.  Things didn't work out and then they really didn't work out and I despaired that I would ever make that pilgrimage.  But, last year when I was choosing parishes, one had a Holyland Pilgrimage advertised. There were a lot of other great things about that parish, but I took the Holyland trip as a sign and became a member of that parish. I signed up for the trip.

And the day is fast arriving.  This past year on top of moving and all of that, I have been preparing to go to the other side of the world and see where Jesus was from.  I get tearful to feel how blessed I am to make this trip.  I am going to Israel and Jordan. I will walk the roads and breathe the air and see the sights.  I will pray.

I look forward to all of it. Someone asked me what I most wanted to see.  I felt I should say Bethlehem or Mount of Olives or something, but I really want to see Capernaum where St Peter's house is thought to be on the Sea of Galilee.  And all of the rest, I want to see all of the rest.  It should be fabulous. I weep that I have this opportunity.  I weep at this blessing.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Blog Jumpstart part 4, LOL

I still haven't figured out how to link to the blog jumpstart, but I can take the prompt and run with it.

If I could have anyone living or dead over to dinner, who would I invite?  There are so many good answers, holy answers.  But, I have to go with the longing in my heart.

If I could invite anyone to dinner, I would have my dad who has been gone these 35 years over to dinner. If dad were still alive he would be 98 years old. I would love to hear his laugh, just one more time.  I would love to tell him about my son and daughter in law and the baby they are expecting.  And I am already bawling as I type this.

I lost my dad too soon. He was only 62, younger than I am now. I was not yet 30 when he died.  My son was not yet 2.  He has no memory of his grandpa who loved him so much.  I had only just started to get to know my dad as an adult person when he died.  There were so many things we hadn't talked about, that I want to know.

Life is complicated.  I have become my mother's caretaker and confidante.  I handle her finances and her needs and listen to her.  But, it is complex.  My mom and I did not get along well as I was growing up.  I didn't feel that I got all of those dear things you want from a parent, from a mother from her.  She called me names, humiliated me, shamed me, and attacked me.  Not constantly, but often enough that I grew up with very low self esteem and fear of making anyone mad.  Her parenting is one aspect of my poor choice in marriage.  Dad tried to protect me from her. I was aware of that and I often avoided her and went with him as much as I possibly could.  I was the cause of many of their fights and friction.  Mom has admitted that she was jealous of me and my relationship with my dad.

But after dad died, I decided that honoring his wife, my mother, was all I had left to do for him.  I honored my father by building a relationship with my mother.  We have gotten on better through the years.  We became friends after a fashion, although I still, through all of those years, feared when she got upset, because she often took it out on me. I am finally learning to set boundaries with her, which is a little bit too little too late, but better late than never.  I would love to have an honest discussion with my dad about my relationship with my mom. And maybe that wouldn't serve any purpose, but I have so many questions about things that happened and why they happened and what Dad knew.

I have carried Dad with me through the years.  In my marriage I can remember many occasions when I was being berated or accused and I thought, if my dad were alive and I told him this, he would insist that I move home. I know that one way I am assured in God's love is the memory of my father's love for me.   Dad was pretty easygoing. Unless I served him hot dogs, he would eat anything I served.  Dad loved to eat and talk and laugh.  And I would love to hear his laugh just one more time.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Cold, No I Can't Believe.....

This has been the longest cold spell I can remember since moving to Missouri in 1990ish.  Two weeks continuously below zero.  There has been snow on my roof since before Christmas. Snow.  My furnace had problems and my fish died.  Good bye, Jack.  My feet are continuously cold (I need to remember socks....).

But, the cold may mean less bugs this year, at least at the beginning of summer.  It should scare back the encroaching armadillos.  They are awfully big road kill.  They jump up in the air and damage the bumper or the undercarriage.  Less armadillos is better for everyone.

I packed away Christmas today.  The fake poinsettias are still frozen in the front yard, but I understand temperatures will be above freezing and I can pull them out this week.  I presume we will return to normal semi-southern winter after this.

Winter is a long way from being over.  It may get cold again, really cold, And snow and ice, These things come and they go.  They fall and accomplish their purpose. And through it all, I will try to rejoice.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Happy, happy new year.....

So, I woke up on the first and coldest day of the new year to very little heat.  Temperatures had gotten into the minuses overnight and the furnace would not go above 65.  I didn't panic, I hunkered down, canceled my plans, called the repair service and waited until Tuesday to get the furnace running properly.  I had time to consider....

This truly is the beginning of my new year, new life.  I am not in a rental, I have finshed changing my name, I am planning a trip and planning for a grandbaby, my journey is less on winding rocky ground.  Everything isn't smooth, in this world there will be troubles....I have an eye problem that will require surgery.....things like the pesky furnace.....

But, I was talking to someone on new years' day who told me, I can tell that you needed to be out of your marriage, because you are happier and like your old self.  In short, I am not anxious, fearful, sad, and lonely.  For the first time in a long time, I am happy.

I remember when I once thought, if I play by the rules and follow the commands, then my life will be as happy and productive as God intended it to be.  And I tried and tried and tried.  And that is the thing, I tried.  God led me other places, in other ways, and I refused to listen, I refused to consider, I held tight to what I thought was right. 

For me, when I listened to the priests, deacons, spiritual advisers, counselors, friends, family members and God's voice in my prayer who all urged me to consider a different path, I started to find joy and happiness.  I started to find who I was created to be.  At first, I didn't want it to be true,  But, as I walked the path, it became clearer and clearer that to be whole and holy I had to step off the path and lsiten to God, to journey in trust, to look for joy and happiness and not rules and fear.

This year holds the usual amount of joy and tears.  This year I walk with God and work only for His will for my life.  This year is full of possibilities.  Happy, happy New Year.