Saturday, April 5, 2014

7 quick about to bloom takes


Yesterday was the kind of day in which I was too busy and subsequently too tired to do my quick takes post while it was still Friday. So, here is the Saturday morning version.

1. There is definitely some bug going around our area. I had it last week, my husband got it in spades and had to go to the doctor yesterday. Then, Malaika came home for lunch looking awful, and had to stay home. Just as Spring is trying to wedge it's foot in the door. Other places in the country are still having snowstorms. My deepest sympathy to you folks.

2. My thought for this week, one I have had many times before which is driven home the longer I live: Everything we do matters. That's it. I look at a single event in my life or my kids' lives, and can trace it directly back to something I did in the past, good, bad, or neutral. Here is one example:

 Setting: an assembly in fourth grade. A group demonstrating musical instruments and asking who might like to learn to play one. I mean to choose the trombone, but accidentally say saxophone. I take lessons, have one excellent teacher after another. Also teach myself guitar and sing, In high school, get invited to play and sing in local church. Confess Christ. Parents and brother come to hear and have their own spiritual conversions. I go on to have turbulent years, but many years later, am asked to play and sing at a Catholic charismatic prayer meeting. I am drawn back to God through this and convert.
--this is not the only music/faith related line I could draw, as it happened in numerous times and ways. Still is!

I have written about similar strings of events with much more difficult consequences that have stretched into the present, the worst which have affected my kids.  It makes the present a bittersweet affair, but one in which I am learning to grasp how powerful is our God, how merciful, and how present He is in every moment. I am also learning that each day contains in it His will for me to follow, That whatever today brings, I can embrace it and enter into doing His will, knowing He will be present to supply the strength and grace I need. So, my past bad decisions, whether done out of fear, ignorance, stupidity, or whatever, can be remembered with regret, but also with gratitude. Even those things can be redeemed and the years the locusts have eaten can be restored. I am always humbled by this realization.

Which brings me to--

  3. I am reading a book called He Leadeth Me by Fr. Walter Ciszek,S.J.,  about a priest that lived in Russia beginning in 1940. He survived solitary confinement and labor camps. The book is not as much about the timeline and outer happenings, as it is his inner journey. The story of the former is told in his book, With God in Russia. The amazing thing is that both he and a friend began wanting to go to Russia years before, as young seminarians.This, before the times of Hitler, not knowing the maelstrom they would be entering.

In the book, Fr. Ciszek talks of being drawn to the plight of the Russians, wanting  go and minister to them. Not having any foresight into what he would endure, he admits a certain sentimentality in his desire, but also a dose of mystery. It was not a shaft of light kind of revelation, but a desire in his heart. God did not phone him to let him know what His will was, so Father followed this desire on faith.

The one big principle I am taking away from this book is what I mentioned above: God's will is what we find every day by putting our feet on the floor and going about our day. The people we encounter, the meals we prepare, the floors we sweep. The daily joys of time spent with our children while they are still under our roof. The difficulties we experience with the same.

It is made the more profound when reading about Fr. Ciszek's experiences in solitary confinement for four or five years, and then in the labor camps of Siberia. He would not have been able to foresee himself enduring those situations on a daily basis, but then, he did. And after struggling with trying to discern and follow God's will, he had a near breakdown and collapse of his faith. On the heels of that, God helped him see that He was there in every moment, and that His will was for Father to live in each of those moments, whatever they brought, in accordance with his faith in and love of God. From that point, Father Ciszek was able to make his way though that experience knowing that whether he accomplished something in the eyes of men or not, he did so in God's eyes.

It has been the best read of my Lent this year.

4. Thursday night, I went with my son Daniel,

to a concert by these guys 

 The Reign of Kindo. At Ortlieb's Jazzhaus. My phone died, so this image is not from the show we saw. Daniel took one, and when I get it, I'll share it with you. And here it is!

In a nutshell. Good tacos. Weird venue, long and skinny, with the band in the center, facing across the ten foot wide space. But we stood right in front of the singer, which was awesome. They all are phenomenal musicians. Great band, great show. Great company.  We also had a drunk girl doing the Elaine (from Seinfeld) dance in front of us. Until she had to sit down. On the stage. I also appreciated the head banging, because this band so often plays in uneven meters, it got kind of funny. All the wobbly looking movements. But the crowd was super into them, they were very gracious performers, and most of us sang along at the appropriate places.  Good Times.

 5. It's only twelve days until the beginning of the Triduum.. The good news is that I can still work out my salvation with prayer, penance and almsgiving to the best of my ability for twelve days. The other good news is I can start planning what yummy food I am going to make, get the Easter decorations dusted off, finish up cleaning and decluttering and get ready to celebrate the victory of the Risen Lord.  So, it's all good news about the Good News.

6. On God not being a respecter of persons. I often think about this, now that I am Getting Older. Well, we are all getting older, but I can now capitalize it. The people in life that are involved in becoming Important People are generally not very available to say, go shopping with you, or come over for dinner. It's the people that either aren't trying to ascend the ladder of the Influential, that are making their way through life in a smaller way, those are the ones you know you can call up to drive you to the Emergency room when you cut yourself with a knife while slicing butternut squash, and you're feeling dizzy about the blood. Or you can call up when you think of something you really want to share with another person, and they will actually answer and talk but mostly listen. Stuff like that. Of course, the world needs superstars in all manner of categories. Medicine, the Arts, Politics. Well, maybe we could do without that last one.
That's what I think about when I think about God not being a respecter of persons.

7. Bob came across this video and watched it a couple times already. It is beautiful and compelling.


  1. To your number 1: my wife and I have been sick for a week now, ever since we came back from Florida. We're just beginning to get over it.

    To your number 3: I've heard of Fr. Ciszek's story. Wasn't he held in the Soviet Union for most of his life?

    To your number 4: Must be cool to hang out with kids that treat you as one of the gang. ;)

    1. Sorry you guys were welcomed home with the sick! No fun.
      He was in Russia for 23 years, beginning in 1939-1963. And in Poland for a few years before that. He was officially listed as dead in here in the states in 1947, and masses were being offered for his soul!
      And yes, my kids are my closest friends here on earth. I am writing a post about it.