Signs [and wonders]

My mother tells a story about a visit with her mother after she and her siblings were grown up and living far away. In my mother and aunt’s case, far away in another country. The reunion was an emotional one. Overwhelmed by the immensity of having all her children together under one roof and the subsequent chaos of loud talk, laughter, and undoubtedly, tears of joy, my grandmother retired to a side room where she sat still and listened from afar.

Abuela claimed that she could hear and understand everything better from a distance.

I had that same experience recently, and it has stayed with me in the most amazing way. Last Saturday I visited the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. My dear friend and fellow pilgrim took me there in spite of some awfully sorry weather, but even through the rain, I could tell it’s an exquisitely beautiful place.

Our pilgrimage coincided with the celebration of St. Faustina’s feast day, so Mass and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy were held outside in anticipation of large crowds. It was wet. And cold.

Did I say it was wet and cold? We decided to sit in the small church instead of getting soaked. Had I asked, I’m sure my friend would have braved the elements, but it was far more intimate inside, and the better choice for us. We prayed at the relics of Saint Faustina and Saint John Paul II.

DMWe sat in the muted silence of the church, two sisters in Christ huddled together whispering the prayers of the chaplet, together, and yet, somehow, separately. We each have our own unique needs and desires of the heart that we poured into the moment, but there we were, side-by-side, united by the same Truth.

Eventually we sat back, finished with the formal prayer and now lost to our private thoughts and ponderings. I could hear parts of the Mass float up from the field — not the whole Mass, only parts. Two prayers, especially, came to me clearly like I had been sitting in the front row, and it was as if I were hearing them for the first time. It was my favorite part of the visit to the shrine.

Have you noticed how many times we ask for mercy in Mass? No? Me neither. But I might count, just because.

I’ve often thought I needed signs and wonders to believe, my heart giving my mind a soft rebuke for my lack of faith, but there, in that moment, I let go of my trepidation.

“Jesus, I Trust in You.”

just…thinking

I visited Emily Dickinson’s home this weekend, a tremendous treat for me since she’s one of my favorite poets. It was a delightful way to spend a little time indoors on a rainy New England afternoon. I loved seeing the little bits of history they had there, but I especially enjoyed a little moment upstairs in her bedroom, where I stood at the window and looked out at the field she must have gazed upon a million times. The docent explained she was playful and would call to the neighborhood children playing out there and lower a little basket of gingerbread to them.

What a quirky thing! I loved the thought of a playful Emily, laughing in that room.

I also liked hearing about it — that somehow enough of her life was recorded that these kinds of stories could be shared. I wondered what people might say about me when I’m gone. I hope they say I liked to laugh. And I was kind.

What about you? What would people say about your life?

I had no time to hate, because
The grave would hinder me,
And life was not so ample I
Could finish enmity.

Nor had I time to love, but since
Some industry must be,
The little toil of love, I thought,
Was large enough for me.

a little stroll, a little moonlight, maybe a little kiss

bridgeI took this picture with an iPhone 4s last year, on Valentine’s Day at nighttime. My husband was on a business trip and he surprised me with a call at lunch wondering if I could get to the airport for an early evening flight that would put me in Jacksonville for a romantic late dinner.

Of course, I said yes.

I took this on our stroll. Blue happens to be our favorite color.

What’s yours?

more bluebirds…everywhere!

bluebirdThis is the third day of my St. Therese of Lisieux novena, and instead of roses, I’m getting bluebirds.

Everywhere.

It’s amazing.

We live in a fairly quiet community that has a good bit of wildlife. All manner of birds. Deer. Raccoons. An occasional fox. Too many bunnies and chipmunks and squirrels.

And now: bluebirds.

We’ve seen them here and there over the years, but it seemed like they never came up the hill to our backyard. Maybe it was too dense up here — too many trees. But a couple of years ago we starting clearing the back yard and doing some landscaping, and B00M! — the bluebirds came.

It’s kinda neat. We’ve been sitting on the porch enjoying the late afternoon breeze, sharing our space with the hummingbirds and the rest of the Disney characters, and now, delightfully — the little bluebirds of happiness.

still can’t bi-locate

Enjoy my friend, Padre Pio, next to this creepy bobble head of none other than Mother Teresa. What a pair!
Enjoy my friend, Padre Pio, next to this creepy bobble head of none other than Mother Teresa. What a pair!

My dad was devoted to St. Pio of Pietrelcina, and St. Pio was devoted to prayer.

Today, on his feast day, I remember Pop, and offer you this brief prayer composed by Padre Pio:

May Jesus comfort you
in all your afflictions.
May He sustain you in dangers,
watch over you always with His grace,
and indicate the safe path
that leads to eternal salvation.
And may He render you
always dearer to His Divine Heart
and always more worthy of Paradise. Amen.

what I learned from Otis

otisIt’s no news that I don’t like pets, and yet, this silly dog has managed to break down that barrier and endear himself to me. There is no goofier dog than Otis. And no goofier master than me.

I love to see him run, full out, when he gets a wild hair and does laps around the yard.

Every part of his being is in this run, and it’s a joy to watch, especially when he leaps. He must think he’s a race horse jumping hurdles. Or Michael Jordan defying gravity on his way to a lay up. It’s just amazing to watch him soar through the air, fly, and then land without missing  his momentum — around again, and again, until he stops and throws himself on the ground at my feet, spent.

I should embrace my own projects with the same singular commitment to run — run hard — until I’m spent. And then allow myself to rest a bit before getting up and doing it again.

I need endurance. Perseverance. Steadfastness.