Monday, September 29, 2014

look for Me today

To say that Will was extremely verbose would not do him justice.Chatty, talkative; you get the idea.We met Will on the Camino in Spain in 2013.He  is  tall, good-looking and a fit 80 year old.His hiking companions told us that Bill's wife had died the year before thus his need to talk.If you were near him on the trail, you heard his voice.

That day on the trail was not a good place for me.It was Sunday and my son's 41st birthday.There was no way to call him, to hear his voice and I wore sadness like a thin veil along the miles.

Kevin is my second son and from the delivery to this minute, he has been a source of pride and happiness for all of us.A happy baby, an achieving
teen-ager and a good man.I don't know where his sterling character comes from but I can guarantee that he never bullied in high school.That would be the opposite of who he is.

That misty Sunday, we arrived in the town Melide in time for Mass in a small grey stone church that was on the path.As we were leaving, in my heart, I heard these words,"look for Me today."

We wandered the town, found a room and later at dinner, looked up to see Bill enter the dining room alone.I confess that my first impulse was to turn my head, but my husband signalled for him to join us.He sat and the conversation began.Somewhere in there, I mentioned that it was my son's birthday.Then I told about the time that Kevin moved to Boulder ,Colorado to train for a spot on the Olympic team in running.And how, none of his family, including his sorry mother, called him on that lonely day in the Rocky Mountains.With that, the dam burst, the waters having built throughout the day and sobbing, I left the room.

This is the miracle: as I told my tale, dear, white haired, concerned Will  listened with deep compassion.I needed to share my love for my son and he listened.Bill, you were Christ to me and I will never forget you.

Monday, September 15, 2014

the dried weed and the marigold

Yesterday, on Facebook, a friend tagged me and asked that I post 3 things I am thankful for and to do it for several days.This must have been what triggered last night's dream.So vivid,so colorful.

I was with a group travelling to the beach and we were strangers.We were being challenged to tell something about ourselves and people were stumbling badly in the effort.I started to make a flower wreath of a coat hangar with clothespins holding each flower.When my turn came, I would show my wreath and tell the assembly the message of the colors.

The first was my, beloved since childhood, yellow marigold.Yellow is light, a hand going into the green lake water to save a child who knew the sun direction was the way to go.It is the beginning of spring, the wind blown bright umbrella on a rainy day in Paris.It is the faces of Spanish sunflowers as they watch the sun move through the sky.The tall swamp daisies that are about to bloom in my garden, a gift from my nature wise son who knew how well they would do.Yellow is the canary singing from a white cage in a Long Island church on Holy Thursday.

The yellow light speaks of sparks, insights granted.Christ is all that matters.You are never alone.Even when you thought you weren't loved, you were.No one can tell you what the limits of a seventy year old are. You have an angel and she is your help and guide.Oh, to know these things.

The flower hanging next to it is a pink Vinca and the muse in the dream lets me know that it is the symbol of relationships. She dances, this slight bloom.She brags about four children; each loving, caring and self sufficient.They have strung buds of their own just for my pleasure; red-headed, blond pale, light beige and dark eyed.Perfect.There is family and  friends from childhood, high school, church, work and neighborhood.Each a source of glowing pleasure that completes my life.Priests, teachers, singers, writers, worker bees, encouragers, listeners, sharers and poets.

The one that is starting to droop is the stunning blue, volunteer morning glory.She says hurriedly, "Remember the moments of pause in your life.Not of excitement but of deep reflection and stillness."Times at the monastery, the afternoon sitting by the Hudson River writing in my journal.The hour at Tintern Abbey, pen in hand.The garden in Dingle when the sun shone on Ireland and the bumble bee accompanied my musings.The vision I had listening to Mahler when my beloved rescued me from a terror and my love deepened in a way I considered impossible.Moments astride a fallen log by the Flint River, pen in hand, winter sun waning.

The dream bringer did not leave out what was not wanted.The brittle dried weeds that can cut when held in the wrong way.Challenges, pain, loss.Difficult moments in childhood,the shame and fear.The pregnancy that ended before it had attached well.The hard times in a long marriage.Bad decisions and wanderings far from home.Seeking something to fill the void and finding bondage instead.The muse is telling me to be grateful for these as well and I am.

The rest of the dream saw me laying a green sheet on a small sand dune to claim it for sleep .When I came back someone had laid a blue blanket over it.I took it off with a noisy sigh.I have no idea about that, but I am so grateful for my flowers, real and dreamed.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

criminal minds

No, this isn't about serial killers nor is it my usual praise for the glories of nature.I hope you will stay with me.

Many years ago, a wise man who had been in the working world told me about certain employees of his who had criminal minds.I dismissed what he said as his thinking tends to float on the down draft of cynicism.

I see it differently now and it disturbs me.In 1980, I went back to work after a 15 year hiatus.I was grateful to a large telecommunications company for hiring me as I had no idea what my marketable skills and education might be worth. I was part-time, so I had no benefits but this gave me more time with my family.If I had to say what my thinking was when I went to work it went like this; I want to prove myself so I can be full-time, make more money, have health benefits and possibly a career.

The phone center where I worked as a clerk took orders for new service and sold designer phones.Mickey Mouse and the Trim-line phones were favorites.I was in my 30s and there were other clerks, men and women in their 20s.I was very naive and thought that everyone saw things the way I do. I didn't appreciate that their approach was different.From their activities, their thinking must have gone something like this:what can I get out of working here, how can I game the system ?Soon, rumors floated that they were passing the expensive sets out the side door to a cohort who would drive to Georgia Tech and sell the  phones.Orders were changed to provide a friend with deposit free service.I am sure other things happened that I knew nothing about.In their minds, there was no loyalty to a company that provided them with an opportunity,nor any sense of right and wrong.These were bright, attractive people but their thinking undermined them.

Here is a litany of what happened after I left for a full time job at a different location:
-a male clerk fired for altering an order.
-clerk fired for bad mouthing the regional manager over the phone which cause her to have a stroke.
-a male manager fired for bouncing a check on the same company.
-manger fired for stealing money from the teller location entrusted to her.

Think of the money lost from training these people and then the time lost investigating their activities.Where are they now?Did they learn from what happened or did they repeat their behavior?

Is there an answer? Schools are not allowed to teach ethics.Church attendance is down.Who will teach children the value of honesty and gratitude .Their parents? And without the support of the culture, will it fall on deaf ears?

I don't think that we as a nation can go on without addressing the thinking that is ruining lives.The headlines bear witness.

Monday, September 1, 2014

tears in a bowl

Some dreams are so symbolic in my experience as to be almost undecipherable.A friend died and I had a dream that involved a river and a plant with canker.After thinking about it for a wee while, I finally understood how to respond to the family she left behind.Others are pretty clear to me.

Last night, this unfolded.I was waiting with others in a big stadium for the arrival of the very young, tall and very talented basketball player, Jackson Crabtree(?).He finally came with blood on his face and shared with me that he just played the best game of his life.Now, he was to take the stage and sing hymns of praise to God.We all waited for this marvelous event.Something happened next that didn't fit.

I found myself in a small side chapel off the stadium and a reverent young priest with a slight beard appeared with a silver bowl."These are the tears of Christ", he softly announced.I looked in at the shimmering water and was deeply moved because I believed what he said was so.What must this mean ?I understood immediately that the tears came from the many hurts that we inflict on each other.The news is replete with beheadings, murders, violence and the terrible treatment of innocence. But more than this, the tears are for us, the well loved.For the choices we make by settling for less than what we are meant to have.The addictions that fill nothing.The things that bring discontent instead of the joy and peace that is possible.The hand is held out and batted away.Tears fill the bowl.

Perhaps when I choose to watch Forensic Files instead of doing nightly prayer, I am settling for way less than is being offered.I will think of this all day.

I awoke before Jackson got a chance to sing but I am sure it was glorious.