Sunday, July 24, 2011

unexpected graces

It's a hot,sunny afternoon in Georgia.My second son married yesterday in a lovely ceremony.The presider was an Army chaplain who used to run the mountains of Colorado with my son and now ministers to Army families.In his reflection, he enjoined the newly married couple to continue to bring light to the world.My son and his new wife have done that often in the last few years;aiding a poor single-mother family monthly with food and clothes ,all from their own salaries and other acts of love.

Scripture says that those who love the poor will be healed on their sick beds and have a special place in the heart of God.And so I expect them to continue to shine their lights and help others.

I was especially struck by the five young men who ran with my son in high school on their high school cross country team.They came from Dallas,Seattle and Portland and closer places to be with my son on his special day.And from across the room I could see their so familiar faces still connecting in hilarity.I am going to send them thank you notes;they made this mother very happy.

We were tired at church this morning.The announcement from the altar of the passing of a lady that I have known for 40 years was a shock.Her family was there and I noticed her grown son in his head down grief.A young boy,an adopted child of an other family, saw him too and reached across from his pew and took the sad man in his thin arms and they held onto each other for awhile.The Body of Christ.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


When I am in the mountains and can't post on this blog,I feel that an important piece of my soul's balance is missing.I don't read the scriptures with the same focus because I have no place to put my musings.

In the mountains,there is no Internet access and so when I go back,I'll leave my PC here.The twenty five mile trip to the library and the half hour restricted access is not conducive to the flow of thoughts that makes up what I put here. Mating a picture with a story is such a creative rush for me.

Today,I met with the four ladies who make up a prayer group that I have been in that meets monthly and has for almost 20 years.One friend spoke of a small thing that happened to her that seemed to fit beautifully with my last post about encounters.

She felt led to go into the small chapel at our church and thank God for the elevation of our former pastor,a Franciscan priest, to the post of the Bishop of Savannah.As she came out of the church, a van pulled up and a man got out and came over to her.
He wanted to know if our church had a French Mass.Well, we do actually and this newest refugee from Africa was warmly welcomed and told about the active French speaking group in our Church.His wife speaks no English.How happy they must have felt as they drove away that they had found a place to belong.

What if my friend had said "no" to that chapel urge? Small things that weave the Kingdom together.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Ichi go,ichi e.

This phrase describes a teaching of Japanese Tea Masters which means that a meeting with others is a special occasion that will never occur again and is to be treasured.

How many times in my life have I met and connected with someone just for a few minutes,a brief time and experienced something to treasure?.

There was a young boy that I talked to once at the New York World's Fair in 1965.I was engaged and in my early twenties and he, perhaps ten or eleven.We stopped on a bridge overlooking a meadow and talked about the fair and what we enjoyed.He was open faced,so full of life and easy to speak with that I have never forgotten him.

Once at the Atlanta airport flying home to New York for my Father's funeral, a woman started to talk to me and found out why I was going to New York.She put her hand over her mouth and said,"Isn't that just like a man, always leaving us ?"She then continued to complain about everything that life had done to her.I had to smile.

I have a friend who was so angry at her family that she got into her car,drove to the Atlanta Airport and went into the chapel to be alone.A young woman walked in , broke down in sobs and thinking that my friend was a chaplain,shared her pain.Amazing.

I was in a Yoga class once and a young girl kept falling over in this one complicated stand.She was deaf and perhaps because of that her balance was off but she smiled through it all.In my mind,I can see her blonde hair and crooked smile and I remember Mickey for her pluck.

Perhaps the briefest encounter came a few summers ago when I was driving past a house in the Catskills.A middle aged man was coming down a path and he smiled and waved.He seemed so friendly that I waved back with a happy smile.I later found out that he was the Skakel that is now in jail for the murder of 15 year old Martha Moxley back in the 70s when he was a teenager.He seemed so nice and if I had known should I have witheld my wave?

I wonder how open I am now to these encounters.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

gifts from a generous Hand

My youngest son just completed his course work for a doctorate in Biology.My second son is getting married to a lovely girl, who adores him,in two weeks.My heart swells with appreciation for their lives and accomplishments.I have written before about the many achievements of my other son and daughter.

The most tears, however, were shed when my second son received a wedding card addressed to me.It was from my dearest friend and former neighbor,Hildegarde.In the card she congratulated both sons and then told the story of the Easter when my youngest was a toddler.She invited all four of my children over to look for nests of eggs.Each had their own to find...I'll let her tell the rest.."I remember the Easter that you all four came over to my house,dressed so pretty.You,Jessica and Michael found your Easter nest but not Sean.He was so little at the time.His lips began to quiver ,he was so close to tears.But you three gently stood in the way and then pushed him towards his nest.It was a long time ago."

This is who they were,my children,and this is who they still are.And I can't thank God enough for the gift of them.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

first mile

Who am I? How would I describe myself? Once,when I was in my early fifties, a wrecker driver picked me up when my car broke down.He then got on his phone and told his dispatch person that he had just picked up an elderly woman.He wished he hadn't,when I finished with him.I think it went like this."Listen Bubba,I ran three miles this morning,did you?"

The 43 year old woman is slumped forward in a chair in an Atlanta suburban backyard.Her auburn hair hangs limply and her brown business suit is wrinkled and damp.It is July 20,1986 and her 37 mile commute is over but the four hungry teenagers need dinner and the laundry is piled high.She prays:"Help me,Lord,I don't want to live if I have to be this tired."In the humid silence, a whisper,"Run".

Oozing snark, she thinks,"Oh sure,one more thing on my hideously loaded plate.One more thing to wear me out.Again,"run".So she drags herself upstairs and finds old red and white tennis shoes, goes outside and runs up the block.In 8 minutes and 34 seconds, she has run a mile and with a satified smile and brighter eyes, she starts to make dinner.And so it began.

One foot in front of the other,mile after mile:in pelting rain,snow,through woods ,up hills,with her dogs,kids,friends and several times with 60,000 other runners through the streets of Atlanta on the Fourth of July.

Mostly though, she plodded alone, battling discomfort to achieve a goal;three miles,that hill,this race.

All the while, a small silver chisel was carving these words into her psyche","If you can do this,you can do anything,athlete."