Thursday, August 25, 2011

Gleaning

Last week sometime, the good padre spoke during his homily about gleaning and I haven't been able to get it out of my mind. In my next little book coming out after the first of the year from Our Sunday Visitor, I have a paragraph about the famous artwork, "The Gleaners". As I have processed Fr.'s words and my own, I have come to realize the importance of gleaning in this world. As parents, we do some sort of gleaning most every day (picking up the leftovers). For example, I tend to think that parents get the food that is left after each of their children have taken their plates. But it's not just all about food. It's about the great parts of life in general. We'd be crazy to think that we want our kids to have anything but the best that is available and we'd be glad to settle for a little less to give it to them. However, another important point was made about gleaning. Fr. stated that he hoped that every Catholic Business College offered a course on gleaning. His point was on the importance of leaving enough behind with each business venture so that everyone has an equal chance to a life filled with opportunities to work and to food and to clean air and water and all the necessities of the world. Not just leaving behind so others can pick up the leftover scraps and survive, but leaving a fair share so that all mankind can have a good life. Some day, maybe some day, those who are wealthier or more powerful can take just enough and leave just enough so that all may prosper. As we plow through this life picking up the first batch that lies in our path, may we consciously leave enough for those who come behind us.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Mother-in-Laws

"He will be your comfort and the support of your old age, for his mother is the daughter-in-law who loves you. She is worth more to you than seven sons!"
As I read the story of Naomi and Ruth today, I am reminded of how fortunate I was to have my mother-in-law as a part of my life. A strong woman who dedicated her life to her husband, her children, her grandchildren and her friends, she also spent hours a day working with disabled children in our schools as a physical therapist. After the long week of work, she would appear on Saturdays to help her son care for her grandchildren, taking them places or just playing games with them while he cut grass or ran errands or merely just survived while I was at work. She seemed to be always on the move, always happy and always willing to give a little more herself. As she battled cancer, I remembered vividly my daughter sitting with her and rubbing her bald head. I was so worried that they would bother her but she never missed a chance to love my children. When she had to go for full care from Hospice, I slipped over one afternoon for a visit. I sat and talked to the nurses and told stories about her grandchildren. Before I left, I looked into her eyes and told her, "You are a wonderful mother and grandmother. I love you." She mouthed back, "I love you too." It was the last visit I would have with her and as usual, she gave me so much more than I ever could have given her. I will say it again, I was so fortunate to have a wonderful mother-in-law.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Here I Am Lord

As we repeated the Responsorial Psalm today, "Here I am Lord, I come to do Your will", Fr. used the opportunity to touch on the importance of answering the call, the call of our vocations, the call to follow His will for us and the call to answer His invitation. Passed down to me from my parents and from their parents and from my siblings are the examples and the teachings of answering the call, of responding to those in need, of being my best self, of rising to the occasion, of following His will. I can only hope that in my daily walk, I do a little of a lot of what He calls me to do. I can only hope and pray that in this short life I have, and will, respond well to the opportunities, to the needs, to the call. As I have said before, my mom always has awesome displays at our bookstore. The picture here is a tiny example of her being perfectly in sinc with the scripture readings while catching the eye of the customer. As I have struggled this year to discover, What next Lord?, I have become keenly aware of those around me who are constant, who never set down the receiver, who wake every day to follow His will (whether they are fully aware or not). In the meantime, I remain open. I remain willing. I remain in awe.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Pinking Shears


Pinking shears have a utilitarian function for cutting woven cloth. Cloth edges that are unfinished will easily fray, the weave becoming undone and threads pulling out easily. The sawtooth pattern does not prevent the fraying but limits the length of the frayed thread and thus minimizes damage.
For some very strange reason, the conversation at breakfast last Sunday with my parents led to pinking shears. So often when we were young, the only pair of scissors to be found around our house were just that, pinking shears. As I ponder this I realize the significance of being raised in a family that rarely went straight by the book, kept everyone in line or cut right to the point. As I see it, we were raised to have utilitarian functions for weaving through this world. We were given the right tools and the proper example not to be easily frayed or undone by life. Oh sure, as with everything and everyone, "things" occur that can cause damage but we were prepared to deal with such times by clinging to our faith and to our family so as to limit and minimize. What a wonderful tool for my parents to have passed down and what a perfect time to be reminded that life itself is just not about straight lines and easy paths and completely finished products. There will always be a little fraying, a little unraveling but if we can stay close to the very One who can minimize the effects, we have learned to use the tools given wisely. Not always easy, but effective. And, we have to do the work. We have to trudge the uneven paths. We have to persevere through the crooked roads. We have to deal with the unraveling. If there's damage, may it be minimal. If fraying, may the pattern we are given limit the length. May God be with us all as we cut through this seemingly uneven, frayed life and search for meaning and for love and for the way back to the very One who gives us life.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

I Have Become Fully Aware...

that I could never have gotten this far along in life if I had not had these kids. Oh sure, I could have survived but I would have just been a mess all the time. For instance, I never would be capable of getting myself dressed and if I did, my clothes would not match or they would be out of style. My shoes too would NOT go with the outfit and the accessories, if I dared to attempt, would be completely wrong. My purse would be the wrong color and there would be no way it would be in season. Without my kids, the calendar on the wall would just contain the days and not include the lists of doctor and dentist appointments as well as practices and birthdays and invitations. Besides the fact that I would never even remember to look at what needs done in a day if these kids did not remind me. There would be no one to tell me the laundry needs done or what's in the washer needs dried for an event the next day or that certain items need pulled out and not dried all the way. How would I have made it in this life? No one would tell me that they were embarrassed by my behavior and that I should not say anything to their teachers or their friends or ever speak to someone of the opposite sex with the exception of their father. What would I be thinking? No one would direct my path as to what to read or what to write. I would never even know how to turn on a computer or change the TV to HD. I never realized how clueless I could be before I had these kids. Thank You God for giving me someone to dress me and to check on me in the shower and to watch what I say in public. Thank You for these wise little ones who keep me going in this world in which evidently I know nothing. Thank You for sending them to save me from myself. And, thank You for allowing me to become fully aware that I would never make it without their guidance. Today and every day, I thank You for these kids.