This is going to get a bit long. I have been wanting to update this blog for quite sometime, preferably taking the time to elaborate on the many under-developed thoughts meandering about within. For tonight though I have decided to revisit selections from my journal entries from the season of Lent. Partly as a reminder to myself, and partly as an opportunity to share with anyone who might be reading.
What mysterious beauty shimmers within undisturbed snow set aglow by street lamps. Remarkable beauty. Patches of hallowed ground finged by fences or rumpled clumps of snow that have been shoveled from the sidewalk and trodden on by children, by dogs (who leave their yellow mark) and, when no one is looking, by me.
Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday and I am glad for it. Lent is such a gift…
Why the Catholic Church and not just “Christianity”? Because the Catholic Church is where, in my lonely wandering, I found myself confronted by the presence of Christ.
Since I’ve all but decided to not be confirmed, I feel the homeless loneliness creeping back up. I also have a renewed interest in an international adventure—why not? What else have I got to do? Money is a continual obstacle and also the inclination I have to be called to a place and not just to choose it randomly. I did recently begin to re-acknowledge my long harbored desire to work with orphans…I also do want to learn more about food, health and agriculture and as long as I’m listing things I’d like to learn sign language too.
“Only goodness and steadfast love shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall return to dwell in the house of the Lord
forever” (Ps. 23:6, ESV alt. trans.)
“…if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Rom. 10:9)
(Where did we get all of these other trappings from?)
The morning sun is shining powerfully through my window, magnified by a fresh layer of snow. I can breath through my nose and swallow without wincing. This day is off to a good start. When I wok up—after many false starts—I felt such a sweet wave of gratitude. I was almost washed away by it when I drew back the curtain.
Last night, I feel asleep with my head full of thoughts of India. My dreams though were of the Music Man. First watching it with the family, then, somehow living. And just before I woke, I was traveling. Where I was travelling I am not sure…
Oh Chicago, how I love you! More specifically, White Rose Catholic Worker and the extended community that you draw, how I love you! I was trying to think of what the feeling is that I have when coming back to the apartment after these gatherings. the best I could think to say to myself is, “I feel like a person.” I know of course that is what I always am. Here though, I am Amy. When in Florida, I am a Nee. When in Kentucky, a part of CAP. I am Amy here; this woman, equally aimless, bent, confused, delighted, alive, but more than ever me. Part of me wants so much to just pick up and leave while I still have a good reason to. Another part of me thinks that could be the worst mistake of my life.
Anne and I watched Meet Me in St. Louis last night. The movie is good, in part because it is wonderfully simple, yet you get the sense that the characters are experiencing this simplicity with full feeling and drama, just as we do when we are awake to our lives…I watched the sweet and clumsy relationship between Judy Garland’s character, Esther, and the boy next door with delighted amusement and also with some sadness. they were so young and fresh and they believed so strongly in the significance of their emotion…
I propped myself in bed with every intention of meditation or praying, of listening to God’s take. Instead, I remembered. I became submerged in Kentucky, revisiting scenes I didn’t know I had stored—my CAP car breaking down after a home visit in Crab Orchard, those visits—the mischievous smiling face of the little boy and the tired, negative apathy of his mom—the Vineyard, making shish-ka-bobs at Z & T’s, night at the playground with T when we found a wallet and I learned he knew AW, living in Janet’s spare room, moving into the “hotty house,” walking over Cardiac Hill for the first time as a volunteer and then daily as a Healing Rain employee; the faces and voices of people I worked with from every program and the scenes we shared; Disaster Relief in New York and calling T, writing him letters I never sent; so many memories and so emotively and visually vivid. I can’t describe how I felt at receiving this flow of recollection. The sad and the happy alike were so sweet to me. I felt wonderfully grateful. Returning, slowly and gently to the present, the thought occurred to me: I have been praying. These memories are my prayer. God’s presence and mine…
Dear, Adoring Mystery, where are you leading me?
Notes from today’s reading (Is. 1:10, 16-20):
“Cease to do evil,
learn to do good;
bring justice to the fatherless,
plead the widows cause”
It is right to focus on these things—God has been commanding it as long as there have been people to hear; perhaps even longer.
“If you are willing and obedient,
you shall eat the good of the land;
but if you refuse and rebel,
you shall be eaten by the sword…”
And so it is with us. We are being devoured and devouring.
I am feeling this morning that the one constant thing is Christ’s presence.
Sometimes I feel as though all of life is just a lesson in love
What a strange mix of being comfortable and at home whil simultaneously longing for the hills I feel.
Why are you so gracious to me, my Lord? Goodness and mercy have indeed followed me, all the days of my life.
Kentucky is where I began to wake up to the world beyond me. Chicago is where I have begun to wake up to my place in that world.
Last night I prayed for God to guide me, with no ambiguous messages, to where he would have me go. In the mean time, I commit to be faithful to those things I have already invested in for the sake of growing closer to God.
The following is something I wrote on the back of an envelope (as I continued to procrastinate from writing the LACW application letter):
“It’s time. It’s time to take my place…
I want to become a midwife and I want to walk through the birthing process alongside those fourteen year old girls who are still children themselves, children whose role as mother was not chosen by, but for them.
I have spent so many years being fed and taught and cared for—it is time for me to give food and to teach; it is time for me to actively care.”
I don’t know anything about being a midwife or becoming involved in a program that would give me this opportunity—I don’t know if it is what is best or if it is just another fixation. I know that it’s high time I get my hands dirty and put legs on all these words about love.
Lord, let you will be done, and please, God, make it obvious!
…I am feeling a bit emotional now. this is in part because I am weary from the weekend. I think it is also because I feel certain a change is close at hand. Change means loss, but opportunity too. And so, I am full of sadness, gratitude, and hopeful anticipation….
An Eaters Prayer:
Creator of Life,
we know that this food came to be through great labor,
of earth and of men and of women.
We know that it is a privilege for us to receive it.
As I am typing these things out I realize that my journal is almost half full and that we've only been out of Lent for a couple of weeks. I may have to be more selective in what I choose to include!