Monday, September 29, 2008

Cultivating Silence

When you have tinnitus as I do, silence is not an option anymore. When you have goats silence ceases except for rare moments. I am learning to stop when the farm noises cease. If I can block out the ringing in my ears then I savor the silence. I realized the other day that it probably isn't silent in heaven. The praises of our God will be constantly sung. So His silence must be of a different type. I guess it is the silence of complete fulfillment, completion, attainment, no more longing. So I decided to try to cultivte God's silence - being still in His presence and savoring the meatand drink that is His grace and presence. His silence isn't the absence of sound as it is down here. I don't think so anyway.

Many years ago, as a young woman of nineteen or so, I had a vision. I had gone to pray out in a field early in the morning. It was a bright sunny morning in summer. A tractor already was threading its way across a field and its steady drone was rather peaceful. It looked like an ant crawling across the grasses. That is the last thing I remembered for awhile.

Suddenly there appeared an enormous angel ( at least I think it was, but it was a being that I could see) in the distance. But it wasn't the sight of it that held me, it was the sound. There was singing - and such a singing that it was life itself. It fed me as no mel has ever fed me. I wanted to be gathered up into this song. The physical feeling of it has never left me. The silence of God is life itself. The praises of God sung by us IS our food. And it is the sublimest energy - of course beyond description. At that time God buried in my core His song and I understand in a minute way why my soul longs for Him and will not be happy until I enter that song.

When I awoke I was laying flat on the ground and had no idea what time it was. The tractor was gone. I picked myself up, wondering where I had been, contemplating the absolute sound of silence that was vibrating in my being.

I promptly stepped on two honey bees, on in each foot. I had to perform that night with a dance troup. I floated home walking on the outside of my feet. After the stinging left I was perfectly fine. I performed and the next morning my feet swelled up and I was out for the count. Down to earth!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

I Came to Love You Late

Hey is anybody out there? It is funny that the reason I created this blog no longer exists! Anyway I do have an active brain that can't help musing and hoping it does some good for someone and maybe interesting once and awhile.

My mind has been absorbed with womanhood of late. I can't seem to get away with it. Or feminity perhaps. I saw it at my son's wedding. I see it in my granddaughters. I witness Evil's onslaught to warp it. I see the absolute importance of understanding gender differences. And because I understand it, the onslaught to warp it makes perfect sense.

At the beginning, Satan saw God's intent for human beings because they were unlike any creation before. They are in the image of His Son and that is why Satan hates human beings. That is why abortion is such a sacrament to the unsaved, the deceived. Every time an abortion ends a human life, Satan rejoices b/c it is a little like killing Jesus all over again. But he doesn't know the whole story. He just likes destroying little babies and their mothers who abort them.

So this is about woman. It is about what God's mind was in creating her. And of course I have to go to Jesus's mother to find out what the epitomy of God's mind is regarding woman. She is the ultimate bearer and nurturer of Life. Mary was "full of grace". Think about that for a moment. She was full of the power of God. Full. Complete. Capable of great suffering for us as her son was. I am not infering that her suffering was greater. I am saying that her suffering was greater than any other human being b/c she was full of grace. Every mom knows that we don't mind being chopped up as long as you leave our children alone. It was much more painful for Mary to see her son suffer than for her to suffer likewise herself. Yet she bore it so bravely and steadfastly. She had to ponder it in silence and embrace her grief as her Son embraced His separation from His Father.

Jesus spent thirty years at home. I believe He was training his Mother to help the Church He would found. The church needed her to nurture it to life. In Catholic teaching Mary is the symbol of the Church and is Its mother. So if I want to be a woman - as God created her to be - it makes sense to look at her and to ask for her intercession, her prayer to help me understand and be the woman God wants me to be.

As a child I really loved Mary and grew up in my Catholic faith not worshipping her but having a profound love and respect for who God made her to be - chosen to nurture His Only Son - beyond human comprehension! The Father gave us His Son for salvation, for everything. But He also, in His wisdom, gave us the first disciple of Jesus, His mother. As the ultimate human being, she can help me apprehend and grow closer to my Lord. She has done it, she has suffered and rejoiced as no other human being has - and as the Catholic Church as always taught me - She always points us to Her Son. At Cana, the last words the gospel records of Mary is "Do whatever He tells you.." So is her message to us now.

For a time I rejected Mary and my Catholic love for her and by God's grace have found it profoundly and wanted to publicly thank her for her love and care for me. For her nurturing in me the life of her Son whom she nurtured as no one else ever has. To sit and ponder what she went through bogles the mind. So, thank you mom. I came to love you again, late. But in God's good time, enough time.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Root

Years ago I was teaching a computer course for beginners. One session involved buying a PC and the way one goes about the decision. One of the things we talked about was, "Why do I want a computer and for what will I use it?" Back then this was a legitimate question. Last night while I was struggling with sleeplessness I thought about that question in terms of politics. I decided that intead of "party line" voting, I needed to ask myself the root questions that I asked when determining what kind of computer I needed. So I ask myself in terms of candidates, "What do I want and need in my public servants?" Indeed today there are few public servants - more like royalty....but that is a different subject.
I am a conservative - meaning I am for, protection for the unborn, lower taxes, less government, less entitlements or even none for that matter!, strong nationalistic policy, strong defense, limited foreign intervention but nonetheless a strong support for our allies. Now how do I get this with my vote? Or let it be better stated, how do I get the most of what I want with my vote? I need to look at not only what they say (maybe that should be last) but what they have done. The only words that are important are the ones that have backed up past action and reveal the character of the person. And I can't afford to be non-informed, disgusted, or blind about my vote. It is all I have. It must be important or all I believe in as an American citizen is worthless.
I am proud to be an American. As a student of history, you have to admit, for all our meddling we have conquered but not occupied, supported, bled and died but not counted the cost, defended freedom......we have freedom and I think lots of people don't realize what it is to give it away by voting emotionally, or not voting. Just study history and see how the cycle goes. Nothing happening in our country today is new. What we do with what we have is.
Each time in history there have been a few people who would not let our country down. No matter the cost - life, reputation, personal wealth....I have recognized that I am not one of the select. However my little vote counts and yours does too - just study the root of the candidate and what you want as a citizen. There are forces today in our country that want to blur us into the "globe" and rob us of our nation. And they sit on both sides of the aisle and also IN the aisle.
Well I have done.....I know what I you?

Friday, September 19, 2008

BIB - blogger is Back!!!

September is almost over, hard to believe. I have constructed numerous blogs in my head but there is almost too much to talk about! Today I was distilling it in the word, focus. Focus has helped me through many hurdles. I learned about it through riding my horse Max. If you get really good at focussing you can turn a horse with your eyes. Looking at where you are going is always a good thing and when you do then the rest of life goes there too. Now that can be good or bad. Once I was riding Max around the outside of my arena. Max is a expert of taking off pieces of knees especially on trail rides and this time it happened to be the corner posts of the arena. No matter how I steered him, I narrowly missed bumping my knees on the solid posts. As we an around and around I kept my eye on those posts so that I could, at the last minute, steer his large body around them.

I was quite anxious about it. Then I realized that I was actually causing the problem by looking at the posts! I was sending Max into them. I quickly shifted my focus to the space beyond the posts and presto! no more problems. I learned a great deal from that experience.

Where is my focus? How does my focus determine my actions, or the actions of others? I realize so deeply that I can be a peacemaker or a troublemaker by simply the words and body language behind them. I can either be a power for good by my focus or deep in the "crapper" b/c I lose hope. And I can carry all those around me into the posts.

Learning to focus helped me learn not to be afraid. Max and I had a bad accident that made me afraid to ride for a long time. Max had issues with a corner of a large field I was trying to negotiate. It scared me to ride "down there" where I knew he would try to spook and run away. A teacher told me to always focus on the next corner post in the field. "Don't focus on the scary part but look intently beyond." I started to look hard at the post and to send Max there. After a few times I even forgot about the scary section. I couldn't believe it. Focus.....even when it is scary, unknown or challenging.

I like to think of it as looking at the God space around something - rather than my attitude, fears or worries. Looking at the God space helps me focus on God and His will rather than all the mess that composes our daily life. And it certainly helps me focus on all the beauty of the earth, life and people that come my way.

I learned this when I spent time with family in the Northwest recently. The beauty and generosity of the people I met will help me focus always on the greatness of people. It was such a joy to love and be loved by them all and to witness their friendship and focus on what really matters in life - loving each other. I had to ask myself how often I forfeit that through irritation, selfishness, self pity or whatever.....and I crash my knees against the posts.

Thanks Max - he rode really well today, the old boy still has it in him!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Just be Happy?

The other day I was watching a television series someone lent me (okay it was House MD). The season finale was sad but strangely uplifting. A girl, who in previous shows was fairly cutthroat and self centered performs a good act for Dr House. Subsequently, as a consequence of that good act she dies. As she is dying, her lover asks her why she isn't angry - at the fate. Mark Twain said, "No good deed goes unpunished" and in her case she paid the ultimate price. She says to Dr Wilson, "I don't want anger to be the last thing I feel." I think in television's idea and certainly the show's idea is that there is nothing beyond this life. Even so, that is such a wonderful response. It has resonated with me for several days now. There is so much unrest, unresolved, unasked for, unexpected "stuff" we encounter every single day - and so much major stuff lots of people encounter....I just decided to make an effort - a daily effort - to not let anger, bewilderment, irritation, hurt or anything like that to be what I finally feel each day. I want to just be happy. And the secret to this is gratitude. The author of "The Hidden Messages in Water" came to that conclusion also. The root of all life is gratitude. And it is the harbinger of true, self sacrificing love. And of course, all of this is impossible. Unless of course, you subscribe to the Author that lets not one sparrow fall to the ground.

I want to echo that image of that young woman in my mind. I want to never let anger be the last thing I feel each day. Nor do I want despair or bewilderment to rule. Sometimes tv gets it right! Fr Judge said that we do find wisdom in all places if we are looking for it.