Tuesday, June 16, 2020

It's Not Good For Man To Be Alone...

My sister wearing one of the tens of masks she sewed for health care workers. She's so cool.
I am so tired of the pandemic that I have started calling it by a term my friend Mary used, "the dampenic." It's not really swearing, right? Just a juxtaposition of letters. She saw this expression on a lovely site by Susan Branch. And it relieves me of a little of the antagonism I feel toward the awful Covid-19. The dampenic.

It's not as bad as it was. Things are lightening up a little.

I was talking to a neighbor (with a street between us) the other day and actually referred to the good old days. You know, the times when we could have people over, have potlucks, sit around laughing and without masks on.

How much I took for granted, the friendships, the ties, the togetherness!

The Body of Christ has been torn apart by a stupid microorganism from a bat. A BAT! We have been separated from the Eucharist (until just recently in my state), and separated from our friends, our family, and all those dear to us.

It is not good for man to be alone! We are not supposed to be this way. We are communal creatures. We belong together. And maybe we are not supposed to do research on bats. Or eat them for heaven sakes!! Or whatever happened. Please excuse the bad attitude.

When it all ends, and I'm sure that it will, may we all be a little more humble and grateful for all those wonderful relationships and times together that I for one completely took for granted. May we hold our loved ones tightly and live just in this day.

We never know what tomorrow might bring. Who would have thought this? Every day is a gift. And I live in hope always because my God reigns and He has a plan. Always.

Blessed be God.


Monday, April 27, 2020

Strange Times...


What strange times these are. If someone had told us seven months ago that a virus previously unknown would infect the entire world and we would all have to stay indoors for weeks or months to keep from getting sick, would we not all have said, "Come on! That's not going to happen!" And yet here we are. In some sort of bizarre fantasy...except that it's real.

The isolation is driving us nuts. Is it not? How we long for and even need physical contact with other people. It's distressing to be isolated. Parents my age long to be with our children and our grandchildren. Even though we can see them on Zoom and FaceTime it's not the same. I find myself asking will I not be able to hug my grandchildren for months? Kind of rips our hearts out, doesn't it?

We are physical beings, bodily creatures. The Mass on live stream? Well, it provides some comfort. It's an opportunity to pray at the same time as other members of our parish community. We are praying at the same time, but are we praying with them? In a sense, yes, but it does not feel that way because we are NOT with them.

A live stream Mass is so much better than nothing, but in many very real ways it just falls short in comparison to physically being present at the Sacrifice of the Mass. There's a reason why watching a a Mass on TV is not a fulfillment of the Sunday obligation. We are dispensed from our Sunday obligation by our bishop, but we are not told that watching a live stream Mass takes its place. Because it doesn't. We are not attending Mass. We know it. We can feel it. And we are starving for the Real Presence of the Eucharist. Yes, the Presence. Not the live feed. Not a photograph. The actual Presence.

I'm not saying that our separation from the Eucharist is not important or required in a pandemic. I'm trusting that it is and leaving it to the epidemiologists to guide us. They are the experts and, conspiracy theories aside, I don't see any reason why they would not faithfully guide us where the facts take us. There are so many unknowns. We must acknowledge the unknowns.

Still, I hope our shepherds will think creatively and boldly, as I believe my pastor and many other priests are, to bring the Eucharist, especially the reception of the Eucharist, to the sheep. We need Jesus so badly. We especially need Him now.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Covid and Stuff

Mary was evacuated from Senegal by the Peace Corps. After several harrowing days of not knowing if/when she would come home, we learned that the Peace Corps had chartered a plane to bring home hundreds of their volunteers. Impressive work by the Peace Corps. She was quarantined for 14 days upon her arrival home. She spent it with her brother at his apartment.The photo below was taken through the glass of his porch-- the only way we could see her upon her return.


I feel for the emotional roller coaster Mary was put on, (although she seems fine :-) Deciding to serve in the Peace Corps, making all the preparations for her two year commitment, receiving a month or more of cultural training and intensive instruction in an obscure language, only to be sent home. I know I would feel like the rug was pulled out from under me. But she has a strong faith and I know she is trusting God for his plan for her to unfold.

Instead she has been a tremendous help to my post-partum daughter, a role that I would be filling but for Covid-19 restrictions.

In the middle of this health crisis my oldest daughter gave birth to our first granddaughter. (Fifth grandchild, but first girl. I have only been able to hold her once.


Since then we have seen her through the storm door. And through other open doors, leaving six feet of distance.



But, thanks to technology I was able to buy her her first Easter outfit. Now THAT was fun.


And here we are, as we bizarrely watch a live stream of Mass on Easter Sunday, the highest feast day of the year.

I'm gratefully for the technology and for the comfort of seeing my parish in real time. It was good to sing some familiar songs with the music group. But it was substantially different from assisting at Mass. (Attending Mass.) The substance of the experience is entirely different. The Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life, according to the teaching of the Catholic Church, a participation in the reenactment of Jesus' sacrifice on Calvary. When we attend Mass, we are in the physical, bodily presence of the Lord. When we watch it on TV, we are simply watching it on TV. It's an entirely different experience. We can and should pray to receive a spiritual communion during this viewing of the Mass. Here is an example from Our Catholic Prayers.

Oh Jesus, I turn toward the holy tabernacle where You live hidden for love of me. I love you, O my God. I cannot receive you in Holy Communion. Come, nevertheless, and visit me with Your grace. Come spiritually into my heart. Purify it. Sanctify it. Render it like unto Your own. Amen.

Oh Lord, please don't allow us to be denied your Presence for much longer. We need you. You are the Bread of Life, our very sustenance. But until we can receive you again, may we grow in our hunger for you, and may our love for you in your Eucharistic Presence be stronger than ever before.

Blessed be God. May we all stay safe and well.

Thursday, March 05, 2020

The Going Away Party...


Mary has been gone almost two weeks now. At the moment she is in Community Based Training for intensive instruction in an obscure language and living with a family who will only speak to her in that language.

Am I still missing her terribly. Yes. Yes, I am.

We did have a going away party for Mary. The picture below was taken at Costco where my two daughters and I had gone to shop for the party... and then ran into my daughter-in-law, accidentally. Too much fun!



Runner was supposed to an "African pattern." :-) World map and Africa map to show where she was headed... A thoughtful friend loaned a polaroid camera to take pictures with Mary by the map.


Buffet table.

The young people put together this charcuterie board. I guess it's a new trendy thing. A friend of ours called it the millennial meat tray. He had scene it done before. It was quite a tasty collection.



Many thanks to Mary's friends who helped so much with the flowers and the charcuterie board.


Even as the flowers faded days later, they were pretty.


My brother came and brought Mary this useful book. Dear cousin Monique came too with her sweet boyfriend Tristan.


Special treat to have all four of Mary's nephews here! Four, three, two, and a couple months. Cuteness!!!

The three sisters all together for one of the last times for the next two years...


And, of course, a photo of the whole family. One of those rare times when all of us are together.

Praying for Mary. She is in God's hands. Amen.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Trip to Key Largo...Just With Mary


Before Mary's departure Mike and I went on a trip to Key Largo, with just her. I don't think we had ever done that before. It seemed appropriate though. We would not see her in a long time and we wanted to spend time with just her.

None of us had been to Key Largo before. It was quite lovely. We rented an AirBnb, a condo, on the water with the above view from its dock. Gorgeous water views...



And a Mustang convertible, a favorite car of Mary's, for traversing the Keys. (Did we spoil her? Yes we did, because we wouldn't have another opportunity for a long time. :-)


It was a time to indulge just one of our children. It was a lot of fun.


Mary is an excellent cook and we let her choose the restaurants. She often took photos of the presentations of the food. The food was delicious and she thoughtfully made sure there were always gluten free options, so I could eat without getting sick.


We drove as far as Key West one day, the southernmost point of the continental U.S.



I talked to Mary on the phone last night. There was a lot of breaking up and a delay in the voice. Hope it won't always be that way. :-/

Expect a lot of posts about Mary. Can't help it. She's far away on a different continent. Praying for her every day.

Next post? Mary's going away party.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Missing Mary....


One of my daughters has joined the Peace Corps and will be serving in an undeveloped country.

I'm very proud of her. She has more courage than I have ever had and I have no doubt she will serve her fellow human beings well.

I see now that her plane has landed and she is in her country. I'm glad she's on the ground.

But I miss her so much, as does our whole family.

I taught my four-year-old grandson where Africa is on the map and where we are. He said, "Why can't we build a bridge there? I told him the ocean is way too big. You can't build a bridge that far. At four, of course, he can understand much more than he can articulate. He said, "But people can build bridges!" I replied, "Yes, they can, but this distance across an ocean is just way too far." He looked at me unconvinced. Surely I had seen the children's book Amazing Structures. Surely I knew about bridges that span amazing lengths. Yes. What he doesn't know is the size of the world and that is impossible to explain, even to a child who has been to Belgium and to China.

Mary was living with us until the time she left. There are things that make my eyes sting. The glass on the bathroom counter that I brought up with Advil for her while she was packing. Her door is slightly ajar as it always was when when was not home. The cardboard packaging that I told her to leave and that I would pick up later. (Yes, it's in the recycling bin now.)

I took some chicken out of the freezer for dinner. I didn't have to think if she might be home for dinner and maybe I should take out more. No, she will not be home for dinner.

Her commitment is for two years. I know it will be an incredible experience, life-changing even. Having lived overseas myself I know there is nothing that clarifies one's vision of life in quite the same way. For Mary, it will be even more so because she will be helping people who need help.

She may or may not have electricity. Yikes. But we are so spoiled. People live without electricity. They live without running water. They live without air conditioning. The temperature was 100 degrees today in the city of her destination. But she can do this. A life with discomfort is how most of the world lives. And she is a strong, determined woman.

She will return, I have no doubt, with greatly increased compassion and love for others. Her heart will be expanded. Her appreciation of life's blessings will be entirely different. She will look at the world through the eyes of someone who has experienced a whole lot more than the average American twenty-something.

Embrace the Peace Corps, Mary. I know you will. God is with you and you are riding on the wings of love and prayers. So proud of you.

Blessed be God in all He plans for us.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Grandsons!


Grandsons are just the best. Well, OK, I don't have any granddaughters yet. And I'm sure they will be wonderful. But for now, to say that I am enjoying my grandsons is quite the understatement.


 They keep me laughing all day long. Their expressions, the things they say, the way they interact. It's all hilarious.

And my only responsibility is to love them (and keep them safe while I babysit.) How fun is that?

How could I not love them? Right?

Their energy invigorates me. Their humor can make me laugh till I cry.

Their development is fascinating. New words and expressions every day! And new abilities-- like climbing the "rock wall" above!

I give them hugs and kisses. I applaud their achievements. I make excuses for their tiny missteps.

And nothing could be more fun.

 Look at these faces. Need I say more?




And, yes, there are only two in these pictures, but I have one more whose parents like to stay off the internet. I respect that. But I am blessed with three!

AND two more grandchildren on the way. I'm in heaven. Blessed be God.