Saturday, December 19, 2015

house at Auvers

This small grey house keeps my secret.

When the morning sun enters the east window in my plain kitchen, I sit in the old oak rocker, warmth  caressing my hands like an old friend.The solid wood and warmth anchors me.The chair is a five dollar cast-off from the thrift store and the sun is today's gift.I wonder about the person who sat in this rocker before me.Certainly a story is wanting to be told about the porch it decorated and the rain that beat on its runners.

A small blue pillow holds my back and oddly it has a pouch on the reverse side where I keep the crinkled white envelope.

The garden on the side is wild and green with a brick wall , very uneven , that seems to be keeping the roses at bay.This is all mine and I treasure every board, every plank of the kitchen, especially the kitchen with the rocker and blue pillow.And the green overflowing garden and wall.

When I arrived at my house to become its lady, I wondered if peace would follow me and seep through the small cracks in the walls and between the boards. What song would the boards sing as the wind battered the windows and birds called in the garden?Would my heartache follow or be sloughed off as I walked through this beautiful, tight, safe house of grey and green in the French countryside.

No one knows me here; knows about the hidden letter.When I walk to the village, which brings its own pleasure, I meet strangers with a smile and  wonder, will you be a new friend ?Will you come if the flu takes me down: will I help you carry your parcels?All of the future that spreads out before me like a quilt, is unknown.This I what I do know; I left it all behind me.I found this little house and leapt into the future, holding on tight to its shutters and roses .

I will one day burn the letter. The pieces of who I am, different certainly, will meld into a whole person again with cracks now sealed in gold and I will live again and give this house a name of its own: new beginning.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

you are never alone....

It was a bright cold day after an unusual Georgia snowstorm in 2010. My boots felt warm as I wandered back to the floodplain to take pictures of the brilliance of sun on snow. Fairyland, Narnia, Wonderland;that's all I could think in my joy of the moment.I took a few shots and marveled at the stillness, the deep eternal quiet.Out of the corner of my eye, I saw motion and there on a small snow coated tree was a waving branch.It also was covered in snow and around it was total stillness.There was no breeze, no snow was falling from above branches. I watched in awe.What could be causing this ?My Joy whispered that it was an angel enjoying this moment with me.

On retreat last week, a dear friend shared a similar experience and her writing is so perfect that I will quote her.At the time of this happening, over 20 years ago, she was walking in the woods trying to discern an important decision that would be life-altering. She wrote:"It's my quiet time as I walk around the lake and into the woods...I am looking for God's signposts.Passing a bush, I notice one leaf caught in the wind.It flutters with such frenzy .How oddly the one leaf stand out "Here, look at me", it seems to be shouting.I pause to watch for a moment, as the wind seems only to disturb this one leaf.I searched for any leaf or limb moving and saw none-only this one leaf...I walk on."

As she walks she is praying for guidance and when she stops to listen, He speaks:"Remember the bush with one leaf caught in the wind?Just as I have the power to single out just one leaf in the wind, I have singled you out for a purpose.It doesn't matter what anyone thinks.I have called--you."My friend knew what that meant and has lived out that life ever since in a most fruitful way.She shines.

All of this came back to me when I was reading my journal notes from last year.

December 15,2014. By the Flint........

"Sparkling water, listlessly moving around the bend where I cannot go.Sun barely warms.Quiet.Some color there.Brown and russet leaf catches a sunbeam.All else is dun, beige, but up the river, there is blue as it reflects the sky.To my right a small plant with  bamboo looking leaves sways in the breeze at my side.I say this:"speak bamboo plant that stands right above the flinty river.Does the sun please your leaves?Were you even here the last time I came to my tree trunk writing seat?

This is what I heard:

  "I just grow by the river and sway when forced.Then my strong brown trunk and 3 or 4 leaves on each branch, move.Nameless, I am to you but a companion.Yes?You are never alone.In your darkest hour remember that.(and then I recalled another plant companion, a hand held by someone not visible at all, a dog companion on a gurney). I come to you in things you might not notice except for My urging.The gift is that you notice and believe.And here is this small plant as if sitting by your side.Believe, be open,and notice.You are never alone."

Monday, December 7, 2015

Way of the Rose first anniversary....

Way of the first anniversary December 12, 2015

   If you don't think that there is a Hand behind all of us being on the Way, then we disagree.How does a life long Catholic come to be praying the rosary for a full year after having considered it irrelevant for most of her life? How is she brought here, a Yankee from NY by a Buddhist from Alabama ?

 I hope to celebrate my 1st anniversary on December 12th with some brief comments here.In this year, my heart learned something :I should treat all people, even people like the drunk next to me, as if they were my sons.This was whispered to me when I wasn't paying much attention on a flight from Europe.Nothing has changed my thinking like the soft voice giving me this truth.

 When I prayed to know what to do with my love of writing, I found myself leading a class, sharing that love.What a blessing; and after struggling with the idea for seven years, it happened.And the class will held again in the Spring.

 When beginning to pray the mystery of the Annunciation one day,  a scene unfolded in my mind as if I was viewing it on a movie screen.My father coming in the door with a sponsor, announcing his pledge to stop drinking with the help of A.A.I felt joy in this scene. This must have been God's will that didn't happen then, when I was young.The child in my heart rejoiced at the surety of this declaration as if it really happened.Healing.

  My niece and I joined the Woodstock rosary group one evening last summer,and after that we have been speaking weekly on the phone since we can't meet with a group because of distance.A singular blessing.

 All of these revelations were given from Mary's hand.

 There have been challenges.I was raised Catholic but left in my early twenties when I decided that I believed nothing of the things I was told.I never saw prayer work and so I took myself across a bridge(over the Belt Parkway,Queens) to a new life, liberated, I thought.A few years later, I felt a weight of emptiness and  threw a prayer of dubious fervor skyward.Then things began to happen and I had a background, a faith tree to hang the God moment ornaments on.I have been doing it ever since with gratitude.

When I went through a terrible time of crisis in 1980, a young priest walked with me giving me total acceptance. We got through it together.When I entered a dark place of no path through the woods of mid-life, flailing like a rudderless ship, Confession helped me back.The gross behavior of some clergy has nauseated me beyond telling and I have felt shame.But the Church is my home and when criticized it as if someone walked into my house and told me how ugly my home is.My home is me and so is my Church but  we all must be free to say our truth.

I know that all here are coming from very different places.Some have been very wounded by the Church and it is easier for me to love it since I have not been hurt in that way. And, Perdita, you will especially love this:the other day at Mass I was treated by a priest in a way that made me feel like a child.I just knew he wouldn't have treated my husband that way.After Mass, I told him what I think he needed to know.Who is this crazed grey haired lady speaking up for herself?

Finally, I will close with a heart full of gratitude.I loved gathering that night in Woodstock with the arms of the Way group open and accepting.More than you know, I appreciate what is shared here.The early Church must have been like this, clinging to each other's wisdom. What Mary tells you, helps me and it is supposed to.We are on a raft together in a churning sea with danger on all sides but when we hold hands like this, she is smiling and riding the waves with us.I believe this.Mary, Star of the Sea, pray for us.