Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thoughts on the drive home

I had some. They were even important enough so that I commented to myself that I wanted to blog about it when I got home.

And now, here I am and can't remember, for the life of me, what deep thoughts I was thinking on the drive home from our confirmation class at Grace.

I am tired.

But it is kind of a good tired. I worked today at my new job today. I am a personal assistant for a woman with a chronic illness. I cook and clean and run errands. Basically it is the same job I do at my own home except I get paid. And like my own home, this is a ministry of sorts. I know that a big pot of bean and squash soup may not sound like ministry, but it is. There is love in that soup.

Oh, now I remember:

I was thinking that sometimes people mistake me for a kind and generous person. And I think that maybe the kindness and generosity is really the light of God blazing away in my heart. All the dark stuff that I sometimes squelch the light with... my fears and resentments, sins and self-centeredness, are all still there. But Church and the Sacraments and scripture and prayer help shift the darkness out of the way so that the light can sometimes shine through.

This week has been all about serving others. And I am tired. But what has been sort of remarkable is that the tiredness isn't accompanied by resentment. Not at all. That is really unlike me, I am sorry to admit. All I can attribute that to is prayer.

Today I started reading the diary of St. Faustina. Can I just tell you? I love the mystics. I love them. I think it is because that is how I relate to God. Not in any kind of cerebral way, but in a completely enraptured, my heart is so full of love it feels like I am going to explode, sort of way. Like how I cry every stinking week in Lectio Divina. I love the mystics because they are so wide open to the Holy Spirit... and that is exactly how I experience God, too, sometimes.

Today I ran into an old friend I knew from a weight loss program years ago. As I was standing there chatting, I realized that I am much heavier than the last time she saw me. I also realized that I felt totally unselfconscious about my appearance or my weight. When she said I looked great, I thanked her, knowing that it was true. I do. Not necessarily physically, but spiritually. I think I look happy. I think I look joyful. Feeling at ease in my own skin has got to be some kind of miracle.

The last few weeks have been so full of God's grace. How could I look anything BUT happy?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

40 Days for Life

Today, a 40 day vigil of fasting and prayer takes place across the United States to end abortion. Last night I went to the local kick off at La Salette Shrine in Attleboro. I admit, I was uncomfortable. I am really not the placard carrying, slogan shouting type anymore. But when I found out about the vigil, sponsored by the Roman Catholic church, I felt moved to get involved.

As I stood in the church narthex, feeling out of place, I looked up and saw a friend from when I worked for AT&T back in the 1980s. She was a former nun, and even then, before I was anywhere near being a Christian, I was drawn to her simple peacefulness. I have thought of her many times since then, especially as I progressed on my own Christian path.

I walked over to her with a big smile and we chatted for several minutes. She told me what she is doing these days and I shared briefly about my conversion and told her what an impact she had had on me. She smiled and said that she thought that when people have a strong prayer life, they sort of radiate God's peace. I would have to say that that is true, especially of the nuns I have met in my life.

Prayer has power. This I believe. God wants to engage with us in that way. He wants us to speak to him from the quiet of our hearts. From the darkness of our rooms. From the noisy sidewalk in broad daylight.

I'll be there, Lord. I'll be praying.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Rabbit Test

This is Shaggy.

He is a dog in the Clarenville Newfoundland SPCA Shelter.

Yesterday he met a rabbit. He sniffed said rabbit and wagged his tail. Shaggy passed the rabbit test.

Shaggy is going to be our new dog. My parents are bringing him down when they come in October. It is an arranged marriage, of sorts, because we have never met him.

He is a hairy dog.

Shaggy is going to get a haircut.


It is true.

I think during the transplant, there must have been a point when my friend Carl was technically dead. And now, today, sitting in his room overlooking the skyline of Boston, he was very much alive.

I held myself together pretty well for the most part. All smiles and encouragement.

And then at one point I looked up at the heart monitor and saw the beautiful pattern of a healthy heart and all pretense of pulled-togetherness evaporated and I started sobbing.

Because the last time I saw a monitor connected to my friend, there was barely any pattern or beat at all, just a pitiful series of little blips that wandered aimlessly across the screen.

Not today. Today the spikes were standing at attention as they marched along in regular formation. Today, those beats are strong and powerful and, well, healthy.

Lord God, great healer, thank you.

Friday, September 12, 2008


God is in the places we intersect with one another. He is in those moments of uncanny connection.

Today I found out that as my friend Carl was receiving his new heart, my friend Amy had a friend who was going into the hospital needing... a new heart.

When she told me this, I could do nothing else but cry. And it wasn't exactly for sadness for her friend, though it was partly that. I cried because the Holy Spirit saw fit to connect Carl with her friend, through us.

And there were other things related to transplants and organ donations that came up in conversation which hinted, broadly I think, at the behind the scenes work that God is doing these days. In other words, today we caught a glimpse of the Holy Spirit and it pretty much brought us to our knees.

God is in the intersections. He is in the places where our lives overlap with one another.

Today I thank God for my friend Amy and all the other friends with whom I intersect.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

5 Years

Yesterday, September 10th, marked the 5th anniversary of my baptism.

I wanted to drive out to the pond in which it took place and spend some time reflecting peacefully on all that has taken place since then.

But I was working all day at CareNet and then had a Pampered Chef show last night... so I was effectively on the run from 9 am until 10pm. Today I woke up with a cold.

For all this time I have referred to myself as a new Christian. I wonder if I will ever start to feel more 'seasoned' at this? Maybe my descriptor is slightly off. I am not a new Christian, I am a struggling Christian. A learning Christian. Sometimes a part time Christian. (That is usually when I am driving, sigh.) An imperfect Christian. Perhaps I will change the way I think of myself to simply 'Christian' because one never really becomes an expert at this, do they?

Last night when I mentioned that it was my anniversary, Nguyen was taken aback.

"Why do you make a big deal out of the date?" He asked.

"Why do you ask that?" I replied.

"Well, haven't you always had the heart of a Christian?"

I admit I was floored by that. Because the answer is yes and no. Yes, Christ has always been with me... but no, I didn't always acknowledge or honor that. September 10, 2003 is the day I finally opened the door and invited him in. And to me, that is a clear a demarcation in my life. It was the day I opened the door to joy.

In case you missed it, here is the story of my baptism.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

I 'HEART' Carl

It's a miracle, folks.

My friend Carl got his heart today. Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.

Carl has been on the transplant list for almost a year. For the last 6 weeks he has been in a hospital room in Boston, attached to a wall by a catheter that goes through his neck and into his heart. It has been, I feel safe to say, hell.

What is remarkable is that he managed to keep his spirits up all this time. He has been an constant source of inspiration to me over the last 6 years.

So, today, I left for church early. I turned my cell phone off as I always do. As I was walking in the door, I realized that my husband was running up behind me. He drove all the way to Providence to tell me that Carl's sister had called and that a heart had become available last night and Carl was in surgery getting his transplant. (Bless Nguyen for knowing I would want to know right away.)

I was filled with such a mixture of feelings: relief, hope, joy, fear, sadness for the donor and his or her family. What an overwhelming moment.

Late this afternoon I got an update that his new heart is beating and he made it through surgery successfully. Now it is on to the long road to recovery.

Father, you have answered so many prayers in the last few weeks. So many prayers.

Thank you.

I pray for Carl's complete and speedy recovery. I pray for his family, that they may have the strength and courage to support him in. I pray that Carl continue to come to know and trust your presence in his life and take solace and comfort from that when things get difficult.

Father, Healer, Lover, I pray that you guide me and Carl's friends and family to know the best way to be of service.

I ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and savior. Amen.

Friday, September 05, 2008


One of my friends from the Lectio Divina group has been asked by our Rector to take over a Sunday morning bible study, which means he will no longer be praying with us on Sunday mornings. I have to admit, I am feeling a great sense of loss.

We are a small group. On a given Sunday, there are usually just 4 or 5 of us who gather to pray the scriptures together. It is a time of such joy and spiritual nourishment. We are bathed in the love of the Holy Spirit, constantly awed and surprised by His presence, week after week.

The group has been meeting for a couple of years now, but only in the last year has it gelled with a core of dedicated members. We, all of us, have come to love our Sunday mornings together. So, although I understand that people have to move on, I am feeling very sad indeed. I take solace in the fact that my friend will be bringing our spirit (and the Holy Spirit) with him to his new group. I know they will be very blessed by his presence.