Friday, November 22, 2013

Four Losses Many Gains

Leaving familyculturehomefriends---all are losses.

Arriving, being present to more of our family is a great gift. After years of estrangement, arriving nullifies the preconceived and melds new bonds of appreciation.

Immersion into a new culture challenges the direction we are traveling. It invigorates the will. Excites the imagination and creates understanding.

Settling into a new home nurtures our character. We rethink what we hold most dear. Allow the new and the old to mingle; our life is renewed.

Making new friends brings joy. Acceptance by a stranger validates us. So validated, we reach out to others with confidence and welcome.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Log of Jumbled Thoughts ...May to September

It is the first day of May and people are walking through our house. They have been there for thirty minutes. We have walked around the block and now we are standing near our car talking with a Christian friend. Pauline says, "Let's pray that you sell the house today." So we pray and at ten o'clock that night we have a buyer.

We agree to the terms of a contingent contract. We are now obligated to a long wait...It is very long. And by July 31 we have waited through four changes of our closing date. In June we pack most of our belongings in boxes, then load them into the first pod container. We live with a futon mattress couch, a few towels and kitchen supplies, a garden table and chairs in the dining room, a tool box for a desk, and a mattress on the floor in the bedroom. Late in July the last pod sits on the street waiting the final few boxes and mattresses. In two days we load and clean the house. At 8:45 pm on July 31 we lock the door and drive off to the hotel. We no longer own a house.

August 9, 2013, we leave the hotel and move to a cabin on a lake for our last two weeks in Washington. Our sons come for a weekend. We enjoy their company. Our family is so scattered. We have not seen them for many months. They are full of plans and knowledge and when they leave our hearts remember them each day.

We make many visits to friends and enjoy church and neighborhood parties.
There are tearful farewells.  Taking leave is hard and it leaves such an empty place.

Finally the day of departure has arrived. I cannot look back. Each time we have flown out of the city I have watched the neighborhoods flow past beneath me. This day I will not look. My eyes are fixed on the future. Whatever comes I will look only forward. To remember and reach out, yes. But to long for the past would be a black pit of grief.  I will not go there.

Sunday evening August 18, 2013, we arrive in Atlanta, exhausted feeling our age. Our daughter meets us. She is so eager and we are delighted to see her. For me all this seems like a dream. Yet God provides and we need not be wide awake to receive from His hand. At the airport help comes in the form of a porter who finds our lost luggage and gets it to fit inside our daughter's car. He seems like an angel to our tired minds. Monday morning the Lord provides a person who directs us to a furnished apartment where we can settle until we find a permanent place.

May to August the mundane and the sublime, days move like slugs on the walk.  Nights are deep and sleep zips away. Now in Georgia, I sit on the couch in the apartment. I think, "Finally the journey is over and now we can rest." But how could I know that the journey of house and home had only just started?

To be continued.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Few Are Chosen

There are saints among us who will never make an earthly list or church calendar.  They live Christ-like lives seemingly unnoticed. Sharing their life of faith with those they meet and live with, they think not of their own sanctity. Humility clings to them as does the sweet fragrance of heaven. Most will pass from this life mourned as a dear friend, family member, and faithful congregant. None can guess the joy that awaits them nor the jeweled crown they shall receive.

Be vigilant and keep your heart pure before Christ. We are all Saints in the making.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Here Grief And There Joy

I lost a friend. We buried her this week. She was one of those rare people who can draw out the best in others. One who slips into a room unnoticed and leaves just as quietly but who enriches all just by being. Soft spoken, yet possessing a strength of character that flowed from hard trials and unfeigned humility. Her sudden death brought deep grief to all who knew her. All somber thoughts and reminiscence fall short of the joys that greet her in heaven. For after purgation comes the welcome home to all believers, and surely a "Well Done Yukiko!" from Jesus her Savior and Lord.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Spiritual Water Is Too Full of Life

Before I understood the magnificent gift of Mystery as it relates to the Mass, Reconciliation, Marriage, Holy Orders ~ all the Sacraments, I understood I was a baptized child of God. In my pre-Catholic Christian life, my focus was upon Jesus alone. That is not to say that the Bible was not important to me. It was. However, it was to Jesus my heart yearned, and to Him alone. It was this yearning that led me to search the Holy Scriptures each day and to pray for a closer walk of faith with Him.

When I read the Bible I read it as His word to me. It was not just another religious book. Nor was it a book so unintelligible that I needed someone to guide me through it from verse to verse.  It was not a book of fables or fairy tales. It was a love letter from God. It was a manual of how best to love Him.

As a Protestant congregant I was exposed to exegesis (interpretation, exposition and explanation) of Bible passages by my pastors. A section of Scripture and similar passages were read during sermons, each text used to focus a central point for the congregation to ponder or to view as an exhortation. The messages were not so much telling about a subject or issue, but rather how to flesh out what the Scripture was saying. And like any homily, the Holy Spirit used them to get my attention.

Because I read my Bible every day I had developed an ear to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit. This is what happens to all Christians as they diligently seek the Sacred Heart of Christ. 

I do not know how other Protestants have lived their lives of faith, but that is how I lived my life of faith. And it was that way that led me to consider the claims of the Roman Catholic Church during the years after my husband decided he must answer the Lord's call to be confirmed a Catholic. My story of that part of my journey is posted at:

What I address in the above blog title is what occurred to me earlier this week. During the last several months I had slowly lost interest in reading my Bible. I had developed an almost lackadaisical attitude. This awful attitude crept into my life through many small steps. One by one they took a toll: I was too tired to read one night, or too rushed in the morning to take time, or health issues left me unable to see the pages clearly, or my interests or the needs of others seemed to be more important. It was an attitude I had been fighting for a year. One I had taken to confession more than once and one that was binding me to a joyless spirit. This attitude deceived me into thinking, "Reading the Bible was ok but not that important." As if the love letter of Holy Scripture was for someone else and not me. 

Although I attended Mass each week and went faithfully to a Bible study at our church, I had not experienced an in-your-face exhortation to question my actions, and I needed one. I heard good messages from our priests: to think right, act lovingly, participate in the Sacraments and the life of the Church, and my community.  These are good things. 

But yesterday as I listened to a radio preacher I suddenly knew what had happened. My eye had grown dim, my ear dull and my heart cold because I had ignored the primary source of Christian teaching ~ The Word of God.

The Blessed Holy Spirit needed to prick my conscience by sending me phrase after phrase of exhortation to renew and refresh me. It was too much. The words were so all encompassing with heavenly love I almost wanted to push them away. It was like trying to gulp down great swallows of cold water on a sweltering day. I turned off the radio for a moment, only to quickly turn it on again to hear: It was time I acted as I ought, and make no more excuses.

How could it happen that God would speak to me through my hardening shell of indifference? Perhaps it was His answer to the silent pleas I’d made to Him for help. I needed God's grace to free me from what had become a bad habit. 

I am thankful the Holy Spirit moved on me to turn on the radio and randomly seek a station. Though Jesus has placed me within the Roman Catholic Church, He can still -- and He does – use whatever means available to call me to take up anew my faith journey with Him ~ loved and beloved.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Under The Weather ~

You might think that living in the North West would be "under the weather." Sometimes it feels that way with all the rain and gray gloom.  But that is not the case this time.  Our household has experienced what many have this winter. It's a virus that hangs on for a long time until you feel like it has been raining for weeks and there is no sun in your future.  But~ Above the clouds the sun shines brightly.  And at night glistening stars sparkle behind a majestic sun-lit moon.

So, for the first time in a few weeks I have felt well enough, and not bogged down by house "things," to say a few words.

Why can you see something that you know will fit a person perfectly as if it wears a tag with their name?

Why is it that the little spur-of-the-moment act of kindness engenders wonderful memories?

Why does the heart ache when there is nothing you can do for someone and you must wait with them to see what The Lord will do?