Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

A couple of weeks ago our deacon told this story: Phillip was a special child and as he entered into his new class, the other children began to realize and to understand more about Phillip and treated him with kindness. As the year went along and Easter approached, the children were given "Hanes" hosiery plastic "eggs" and asked to go outside and put something that reminded them of Easter or New Life into the egg. As all the children gathered back into the classroom, each opened their eggs and shared their discoveries. Some released butterflies while others shared flowers and green grass. Phillip opened his egg and there was nothing inside. The children did not understand and one said that for Phillip to have nothing was dumb. But Phillip said, "No it is not dumb. This egg is like the tomb where Jesus was and it is empty."
As Deacon Marty shared the story, my girls looked at me because they knew there would be tears. My brother Phillip died at the young age of 33, he would have been 53 today, and his son Phillip at, I think, age 11. Without Easter, without the empty tomb, without the belief in the Resurrection, I would stand in that church as empty as Phillip's large plastic egg. My tears were tears of joy in belief of the Resurrection. Tears of joy that my brother and my nephew have a share in so much more. We are all fortunate on this Easter Sunday to believe in the New Life that Jesus gave and in the possibility that lies ahead for us of so much more. Phillip's idea may have needed some explanation, just as my brothers' always did, and he may have been a little different from the others in the class, but his discovery leads us all to think a little more, to go a little deeper. May this Easter be one filled with the joy of His Resurrection and the joy of knowing there is so much more because of that empty tomb.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Pay Attention Guys!

The readings leading up to this Holy Week are full of messages and even though we've heard them all our lives, we can still get something new every year. Or, we can just get something period. Now, I'm sorry, but come on guys! Pay attention! Jesus clearly tells Peter that the one who will betray Him is the one He hands the morsel after dipping. He hands it to Judas and they still just sit there. Get up and get him! He's going to have Jesus arrested and crucified. Wake up! And Peter, didn't you hear Him say you would deny Him? Then, why in the heck did you go ahead and do it?
All sounds terribly familiar to me today. I have not only heard the Gospel read every year but I have played the part of those not paying attention week after week, month after month. I can actually hear Him ask me to pay attention. I can clearly hear Him say that I will deny Him and He will forgive me anyway. I'm walking through this life so selfishly involved with my own needs that I cannot even pay attention to His words, His instructions, His simple explanations. The one He hands the morsel to. When the cock crows. It will all be clear after the Resurrection. And our eyes will be open. All these things He tells us and yet, we still have to pay attention.
As this Holy Week unfolds, I pray I can simply pay attention to His words, His silence, His message. It will all be made clear.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Throwing Stones

"So they picked up stones to throw at him; but Jesus hid and went out of the temple area."
Why do people throw things at one another? Today, as Jesus is merely speaking the truth, those who could not understand decide to throw stones at him. Isn't that usually the problem? We tend to throw stones when we cannot understand what someone is trying to say or when we just do not understand them at all. Of course, back then, it was truly a stoning but even today we hear of the deaths of others over jealousy or misunderstanding. We hear gossip and rumors that kill someone's reputation and lowers their self-esteem. As we all know, once the first stone is released it seems that things just go from bad to worse. (in our homes, our neighborhoods, our schools, our workplaces, our country and our world)

Here is my recent experience with what damage a stone can do. Months ago, my van windshield was hit by a stone and a tiny hole appeared in the glass. No big. I've had those holes repaired before. The guy came right to the store and in the hottest part of the day, plopped his machine down on my window and then came into the store. "Ma'am. The crack in your window ran. (aka,I made matters worse)" "What do you mean ran?" "Well, sometimes if the windshield is hot (tempers flare), the machine we put on the glass can make the tiny hole run(problems get bigger)." "Then why in the world would you try it if it was too hot(should of waited for things to cool down)." Silence. And then, "You can pay a $50 deductible and we can replace the windshield with no problem.(I can fix the mess I made)" Hmmm. Now, I'm angry. "No thank you. You've done enough.(I think I'll rely on someone else)" I drove with that crack in my windshield for months(chip on my shoulder, anger in my heart, however you want to read it). Now, I'm ready to sale my van and I call the insurance agent for a different company recommendation. The man came to the store yesterday after rescheduling 3 times. He was very nice. Took care of everything, took the $50, cleaned my new windshield and locked the doors because we were busy in the store and he didn't want to bother me. I finally went to leave work at 7:30 last night. Dead battery. My cell phone malfunctioned all day and even though it was fully charged would not work. No one would answer our home phone. That's normal. I only know my daughter's cell phone # who is in college at Spring Hill in Mobile, Al. So, you got it, I called Alabama to get her to call Nashville and ask my husband to come jump my car because the windshield guy left the interior light on while fixing the glass that was split by another windshield guy who didn't see anything so big deal about putting his machine on my hot windshield with the tiny hole caused by getting it hit by a stone. Should have had that original hole repaired in the cool, hidden setting of my carport or garage.

Throwing stones cause many more problems than people realize. It's obviously best to slip away before the first one is thrown. The next time we're thinking about casting one, we may want to think seriously about the possible effects.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Wedding in the Family

I'm very excited this weekend because almost all of my family is coming in for my niece's wedding Saturday. I love when our family gets together. Handed down through the years, we love to play games and tell stories. I can still picture my grandmother pulling out the Dominoes and the Scrabble board and I can hear my uncles telling their wild tales. It truly is the simplicity of it all that makes us who we are today. We have always been able to entertain one another. We just love being together. Now it is almost impossible to get us all into one room so if you don't want to miss anything you have to wander from group to group and hope for the best. Or, you can just stay in the center of the activity and hope the people and the stories will eventually drift back through to you. From not quite 1 to not quite 80, we all have a part in our story. We have been handed down from our parents who are grandparents and great-grandparents and in-laws the blessings of a good time and a good life. We have been taught that when the dust clears and all is settled, we will always have one another and that is so true. May God bless this nice young man and his family. May God bless this weekend and all who have worked so hard to put it together. And, may we share the true meaning of family, our basic, simple love for one another with all who gather.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Poverty

As I read my friend's post over at Road Beyond 50 about Lent and sitting fruitless in the "writing" department, I realize that I too have been quite fruitless. After finishing my 365 meditation and sending it off and receiving it back from editing, I sit. After receiving a new list of Saints from Italy to write biographies for, I sit. After being asked to work on a youth prayer book, I sit. I sit in what I have found today to be poverty. As I read my meditation from Magnificat this morning, I believe I have been led to a state of poverty so that I will pray. I believe that I have been emptied of the words and the desire for the words so that I will turn to the very One who is responsible for what needs to be said, what needs to be heard. I believe that I am reminded that these words have been given and any acknowledgment should go back to the giver. And, as the meditation goes, "Thus, the poverty which before crushed us now becomes, through prayer, a source of wealth, by which we gain possession of the heart of God." I believe I am to wait in prayer, aware of my true need of God, of His love, of His gifts, of His words. My friend made me aware of my own fruitlessness and in God's mercy He has made me aware of my true poverty and His desire to give me all I need. Don't we just love the 40 days of lent!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

April Fool's Day

No April Fool jokes on me yesterday. Not even by my children. I remember the years I would just wait for that day.
April Fool's Day 1976. In high school, a friend of mine brought to school a prop from her mother's theater group that had a hollowed out space in the center with a lighter hidden inside. What a great hand-me-down from a parent... hmmm. Anyway, I thought it was awesome and I was all in for lighting that baby up in English class. I figured it would be a great joke in an all girl private high school run by Dominican Sisters. (No brain) My friend was in no way gonna do it but I thought it would be a great April Fool's joke. All were seated and class began when I ran my finger down that lighter and struck up a flame. I started yappin and flappin that book around as if it were ablaze and good ole Ms. Orth just kept right on with her class. Some old English stuff "Wan in abril in the surest sota the root of march erst something something rota". Okay well that's what it sounded like. What! No reaction. Just class. I squirmed down in my seat and put the prop away and "saw her after class". Bummer. Guess the joke was on me.
Anyway, so my point is this. God Bless all those teachers who had to put up with my antics for all those years, especially on April Fool's Day. I'm sure there is a special place in Heaven for each and every one.
Anyone have any good jokes played on them yesterday?