Thursday, August 27, 2009

Birds that Fly

People write for different reasons... as in anything else. Have you met a loving and kind Dr. whose vocation is to help the sick? The genuine care beams through her eyes and gentle demeanor... then there are those Dr's that cause you to wonder how this person ever got into the "helping other people business"... calculating, detached and cold. I'm just saying....

Eckhart Tolle is hopefully one of those writers, who writes because he must respond to his "calling" to share what was freely given to him... his monetary success an incidental. Who could hold that against him? Surely, if Oprah endorses your work, chances are the money will fall in... ;-)

So thinking about the few things I've learned over the years, few things have helped more than writing. The patterns, the tone, the rhythm, the truth, however small and subject to change... the change.

There is no danger of writing to get rich... chances of lightening striking are much better! :) And there is no supposing that the thoughts written here will heal or help anyone, unless Providence would have it as such. Simply put, when a thought is yearning to get out of my head, much like a caged bird... The door is opened and out flies the fowl. One solitary, unspectacular feathered creature amongst thousands of others. "Free as a bird" and the joy that comes in being just... that.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Tired of Speaking Sweetly

Love wants to reach out and manhandle us,
Break all our teacup talk of God.

If you had the courage and
Could give the Beloved His choice, some nights,
He would just drag you around the room
By your hair,
Ripping from your grip all those toys in the world
That bring you no joy.

Love sometimes gets tired of speaking sweetly
And wants to rip to shreds
All your erroneous notions of truth

That make you fight within yourself, dear one,
And with others,

Causing the world to weep
On too many fine days.

God wants to manhandle us,
Lock us inside of a tiny room with Himself
And practice His dropkick.

The Beloved sometimes wants
To do us a great favor:

Hold us upside down
And shake all the nonsense out.

But when we hear
He is in such a "playful drunken mood"
Most everyone I know
Quickly packs their bags and hightails it
Out of town.

From: 'The Gift'--HAFIZ
Translated by Daniel Ladinksy

yes. she does tire of speaking sweetly... to ears that have polished words to numb the message.


In a sense I have been writing this story all my life. But I can also say that it began more than twenty years ago, when I first encountered the word acedia in The Praktikos, a book by the fourth-century Christian monk Evagrius Ponticus. Across a distance of sixteen hundred years he spoke clearly of the inner devastation caused by the demon of acedia when it "[made] it seem that the sun barely moves, if at all, and that the day is fifty hours long." Boredom tempts him "to look constantly out the windows, to walk outside the cell, to gaze carefully at the sun to determine [the lunch hour]."But Evagrius soon discovers that this seemingly innocuous activity has an alarming and ugly effect, for having stirred up a restlessness that he is unable to shake, the demon taunts him with the thought that his efforts at prayer and contemplation are futile.....

As I read this I felt a weight lift from my soul, for I had just discovered an accurate description of something that had plagued me for years but that I had never been able to name. As any reader of fairy tales can tell you, not knowing the true name of your enemy, be it a troll, a demon, or an "issue," puts you at a great disadvantage, and learning the name can help to set you free. "He's describing half my life," I thought to myself. To discover an ancient monk's account of acedia that so closely matched an experience I'd had at the age of fifteen did seem a fairy-tale moment. To find my deliverer not a knight in shining armor but a gnarled desert dweller, as stern as they come, only bolstered my conviction that God is a true comedian.

------ from ACEDIA & ME: A MARRIAGE, MONKS, AND A WRITER'S LIFE by Kathleen Norris

Indeed Norris is accurate in calling God a "true comedian". Except today I'm not in the mood for laughter. The summer has been long and hot and without resolution for me on different levels. I feel like a tiny dingy lost at sea, sometimes. Big waves tossing me high, then crashing over the bow... but then Grace returns in a blink of an eye and the words of St Sienna echo in the cavern of acedia. I am not the dingy at all... for God is in me and I in God, like the fish is in the sea and sea in the fish. (St Sienna)
So no matter where the waves take me or how far and wide I swim... God is everywhere to be found. Here. There. Within. Always.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Michaela Jagger Davila-Arredondo

She was one of five kittens that Claire and I rescued... one of my clients called one April morning to tell me there were BABY CATS on her porch beside her business and asked me (sucker me) if I would help her find homes for them. Against my better judgment I drove out there and found these 5 fur-balls screaming at the top of their tiny lungs. They were in a box with a dish of water and cottage cheese!#@% What else could a cataholic like me do? I picked up that big box of screaming kitties and drove them home.
Claire was about to read me the riot act as I pleaded on their behalf.... but then she looked in the box and said, "Oh my God, their eyes are still shut... baby, babies!!" ... And I knew our family had just grown by five, that was the year 2000. We found homes for 2 and kept 3. Jack Powers, Randy Monique and Michaela Jagger.

I left Corpus Christi in September 2006 and the following year Mika came to live with me in San Marcos. She died today quite suddenly and unexpected. If you could see me right now you would see that I look like a beat up boxer, wearing a cut-off t-shirt, swolllen eyes and a red nose, chaffed from all the tissue blowing my nose....

Mika was my companion and source of so much joy and love.....I have so many wonderful stories... books of memories shelved in my heart forever.

Rest in peace my sweet Mic... Thank you for loving me and for teaching me how to love others better. I will miss you fiercely and treasure these last few months we had together.

I love you Mamma's Mika,

Mamma Del

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Clandestine Code... Church

Facing two Vatican investigations, some 800 women religious leaders from throughout the country have gathered here to discuss their congregations’ uncertain futures.

As outlined to the women by the Vatican, the final result of the investigation of the congregations will be put together by the Vatican appointed Apostolic Visitator, Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Sister Mother Mary Clare Millea.

Her report will be secret and will not be shared with the U.S. women religious. The reports made by visitation teams to various congregations, a phase of the investigation, are also to be secret and not shared with the individual congregations.

This particularly disturbs the women. Virtually all those who spoke with NCR called for transparency. Some said it would be a minimal requirement for active participation.

“We are used to evaluations. We have no problem with evaluations,” said Blessed Virgin Mary Sister Helen Garvey. “But we need a sense of fair play. There needs to be transparency.” (Excerpts from NCR 8/12/09)

What the HELL is going on here?? This is the year of the Priest ... but lets get those roque Nuns outta the way first!!! Can someone explain why this is happening and if so, then why all the Secrcey??? Are these Nuns terroristst in that the findings of their investigation must be kept hidden, even to the ones being investigated???I'm feeling this ... and I'm not a Sister or Nun or even Roman Catholic for that matter... This is the Bullshit that drove me away and many others like me, who want to follow Christ and His Gospel... not the the Institution that feeds their lust for power.

“They [the Vatican] should be awarding medals to these women, not investigating them. What’s going on is very painful and disrespectful because women religious have been so loyal to the church. I feel sorry for all the women who are now placed under suspicion. I know my sisters and they deserve better.”

Becoming philosophical, she added, “I came to religious life not to please an institution. I came to follow Jesus."

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Leaks of Faith

No one has all the answers, that's a given. No one is ever going to understand everything. . . but do we give up on seeking and understanding God's will for our lives? Can it be as simple as doing the 'next right thing' in front of me? Or does God have to be some mystery reserved for the well-read and well mannered?

Today I talked to a man who was agonizing over a few things. .. as I listened to him it became painful to hear him speak about where he was and where he wanted to be... it sounded much like a clutch trying to shift but is stuck... that loud scraping sound telling you its not in the right gear. He gave a detailed account of his problem and came to his own conclusion that God is at work in his life even if it did not feel like it. He may not have seen the miracle in that but I sure as hell did!

I thought of some sparrows I saw earlier in the heat of the afternoon that had gathered around an outdoor water faucet that was leaking drop by drop... the little birds took turns quenching their thirst.... they knew what my friend knows.... God works through all things to meet us where we need Him/Her the most. If we can't take leaps of Faith, know that sometimes leaks of Faith are the drops that will sustain us.