10712572_892777050756968_1814298329830640466_oI saw this image about worry and I thought about how true it was, and about how much I give myself over to worry. Frankly, worry and I have an open door policy; it just traipses in whenever the hell it feels like it and I feel powerless to resist. This is not good.

Just yesterday I was driving and I decided to try to listen to the radio. Big mistake, that’s like sending out a signal telling worry to get here ASAP! Anyway, it was too late and suddenly I heard a Republican economist, one that had advised Republican presidents and I clenched my jaw. Until, that is, he began speaking about how terrible the new tax plan was, but that he was certain that it would be both reconciled – and disastrous.  Great – a Republican who thinks that the plan was too hasty and poorly constructed without both parties input, that freaked me out. That opened the door for Worry to stroll in and plop down on the couch of my soul.

Another worry is that I, a person who has contributed a lot of money into Social Security and Medicare, and is so close to reaching them, will be denied this, mostly because Senator Paul Ryan and his ilk really think it is a big drain on the economy. Does he want people to not have health care? I can’t figure it out. Personally, I think that the tax plan will be the big drain; it is still a free country, so I can disagree. At least for the moment.

Yesterday, after listening to a little bit of that economist I shut the radio off , but today I woke up feeling a bit like a heavy, heavy blanket weighed me down. I can’t have coffee this morning (blood work) and that has left me more unfocused than usual, but I sat myself down to pray with the mass readings. The first reading from Isaiah pretty much knocked worry to the ground with a single blow, and restored some hope and joy. The rest of the readings follow suit, with the Gospel reminding us that if anyone every annoyed – and disobeyed – the authorities, it was Jesus. They can call him blasphemer, but Jesus knows what God’s kingdom is meant to be.

jesusmafa_healing_paralyzed_manWorry is not the best use of our imagination, it drains our life of joy. In this time of holy waiting and watching during Advent, I’m going to pray for less worry and more hope. And like a pregnancy, Advent is a time of preparation – because once that baby comes, we will have a lot to do. So much so that while we need to be in our prayerful moments of waiting now, we can think about how we will deal with what lies ahead.

images-1The political scene promises us nothing, but God gives us hope. Jesus will be born – the Word literally made flesh. If that miracle can happen, one can only imagine what God has in store for us. The only way that will happen is if we all participate in the Kingdom. Are you in?



Prepare to be surprised


A few thoughts for the Second Sunday of Advent…

We have expectations, which is pretty normal and human, of who or what Jesus Christ is or will be. Therefore we may miss many of the cues that he is right before us or within us. An example of this is found in today’s Gospel when we hear about John the Baptist preparing the way. In addition to our expectations of Jesus, we have them about John. He is speaking to us always and we are pretty just not seeing or hearing him, or ignoring him if we do notice. Maybe it is time to prepare the way of the Lord by preparing to be surprised, delighted, astonished, challenged, and comforted.

We hate waiting and we hate to change. These are two of the biggest things that are asked of us by God. Most of us respond with resistance. Sometimes waiting is the best thing we can do, no matter how hard. At other times, when those of us who have power tell those of us who do not have power to just be patient and wait, it becomes an abuse of power. It is pretty sick and cruel, but we do it all the time, it becomes second nature. I am reminded of Rigoberta Menchú who received the Nobel Peace Prize on this day in 1992. She once said, “My people are hungry. Don’t speak to us of buildings and police forces, we need food and respect.” (I have this on a Pax Christi daily calendar, but I must say, I cannot find the quote elsewhere, but I’m going with it.) If you are hungry, cold, sick, naked, or subject to injustice, imposed waiting can be a weapon. And if change comes, whether we seek it or resist it, when it does come, it impacts all of us. Everyone needs to prepare for that because sometimes the change we seek, that meaning the justice and mercy of Christ, might not look or feel exactly how we imagined it. Surprise!

We love to make things complicated. The “no pain, no gain” model of life has taken root in many forms. We know that the way to the Cross involves Continue reading

There WILL be bread

isaiah 25v6

Today’s readings are among the most beautiful to me. Just yesterday I thought of the Isaiah reading, and then boom – earlier today, as I sat in the dim lamp light aided by one flickering Advent candle, I opened Give Us This Day and there it was.

The imagery in Isaiah is so powerful:
On this mountain the LORD of hosts
will provide for all peoples
A feast of rich food and choice wines,
juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines.

God is not fooling around. The is for ALL peoples, a feast, not some little energy bar type snack that tastes like cardboard, one that is meant only for a certain few who have somehow “earned” it, and includes Continue reading

Just not always

Mary-Oliver-Quotes-1To everyone who thinks that this is some dark, brooding, portent of a post – I can promise you that it is anything but. I found this snippet from Mary Oliver and it clicked. What was I looking for? I was looking for something about gratitude – from Mary Oliver.

Remember that sometimes the very richest and most meaningful gifts come wrapped in the most terrible paper at the most awful time. Of course when we are in the midst of anger, terror, sorrow, fear, and pain, it is not possible to remember this. At least not consciously.

May your Thanksgiving – or your ordinary Thursday for those of you not in the US – be full of good things. And if it is not, cling always to hope and know that gratitude and good will come.

We try to be grateful, we feel grateful – just not always.

*Here is a an interesting review of the book that contains this poem. 


Shot-Tec-Thank-YouI sometimes post this video to Facebook on my birthday. I think I may have blogged it before… but this time I forgot to post it anywhere! Anyway, another birthday has come and gone (about a week ago now), and as ever, I remain deeply grateful to be alive.

What I love about the song is that it richly exposes some of the things that can bring us to new places. For example:

Thank you terror
Thank you disillusionment
Thank you frailty
Thank you consequence
Thank you thank you silence

Terror, disillusionment, frailty, consequence and silence are among the many gifts my many years have given me. Where would I be without them? How we love to celebrate strength and victory, but there is a treasure that we can mine if we go deep into the shadowy spaces.

With the song on my mind and gratitude on my heart, with Thanksgiving a few days away, I thought this would be a nice way to begin the week. Thank you for reading and following my blog. Postings have been sparse, but I’m still here. And so are you! Thank you!

Get out the vote!

keep-calm-and-go-vote-1920-1080To all of my readers in the US – please go and vote today. It does not matter if your only local elections are for dog catcher and coroner. Our votes always matter. I believe that local elections are what truly matters anyway… change (or lack of it) starts in town councils, school board elections, county elections, state, and so forth. As Americans we tend to get all fired up in the two years prior to a presidential election and apathetic (or smug) during the other two years.

Think of voting as an exercise. The more you do it, the more likely you are to do it. Think your vote does not count? Think again, it does.

Not sure of the issues? Check independent resources such as The League of Women Voters is a good one. You can find your local league easily to learn about local issues. Follow the candidates; if they are already in office, check their voting records and positions. And whatever you do, whatever your partisan preference is, don’t use cable television as a way of feeling too informed. I don’t care if you watch Fox News or MSNBC, they each have their own agenda. Watch it, but press into more independent resources to learn. Newspapers such as the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post are good examples. I’m not going to link to all these sources, you know how to find them.

I think that we can all agree that Facebook and Twitter have their limitations in the matter of influencing elections… enough about that.

Many of us are overburdened, overextended, stretched to our limits. A lot of people count on that to make sure we do not raise our voices and our power as voters in a democracy.  When I get home tonight and realize that I forgot to vote I might think, “no way am going out again, I’m too tired!” And then I remember that there are people who walk for days in other parts of the world, just to cast one ballot. Or that people have died risking their lives to make democracy real in other places. And that people have died to for THIS democracy. How does one not get up and go vote after that?

So please – go vote today. And if you are not registered, tomorrow would be a good time to go and get registered. It is a privilege, let us not waste it. Our future depends upon it. Especially in off years like this one.