Worry, toil, distraction, bread

It’s been 3 weeks since Easter. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been trying to immerse myself in these weeks where we live the resurrection in a particular way after the 40 days of Lent.

breadDuring Lent, we are in a season of repentance as we make our way to the cross with Jesus. For me, I am also in a season of unrivaled busy-ness. Work is busier and I also have some (some?) side projects that I’m working every Lent. By time Easter Monday rolls around my only words are “Jesus is risen, indeed he is truly risen! Me, on the other hand, I’ve collapsed.”

Today’s Gospel has shaken me from my “resurrection slumber” quite powerfully when Jesus says:
Do not work for food that perishes
but for the food that endures for eternal life…

This leaves me with a question about how many of us choose to live… Does our toil for our living, and our desire for a “secure future” keep us from Christ? I know that such worry and toil distracts me on a more regular basis than I care to admit. What about you?


Jersey Shore – The There Will Be Bread Edition

What a fine week of vacation we had, in Ocean City, New Jersey. *sigh* We love Ocean City, for many reasons.

Ocean City has an interesting history, which you can read about here. Part of the history is that it was meant to be a Christian resort. As a result, Ocean City remains a dry town to this day. While I like wine with my bread, at church and at home, I am perfectly happy to stay in this liquor-store-free town. The net result of this is that unlike Seaside Heights, now infamous because of the MTV program, (*insert eyeroll here*) “Jersey Shore,” the OC boardwalk is devoid of rowdy bars and dance clubs, tattoo parlors and other such.

Now living the life I have lived, trust me – I have enjoyed my fair share of rowdy bars and dance clubs, including ones in Seaside Heights, when I was younger. At this point in my life, I am happy for a different chapter however and OC fits the bill.

Our vacation started, as many of you already know via Facebook, with a bang. As we were sitting at the traffic light that is at the entry to the island, we were rear ended. Poor Prius has had its rear end kicked, but at least it was not by Snooki! Actually, it was a teenager who hit us – a sweet kid, completely without guile who couldn’t stop saying “I’m sorry!” and “It was all my fault!” No one was hurt and cars can be fixed and our vacation proceeded without issue after that.

I had visions of writing a lot – blog posts as well as the kind of writing I long to do more of, which may or may not be published elsewhere someday. No such thing happened. There was no wi-fi (although a lurker friend on Facebook, you know who you are!) gave me a hard time about all my Facebook updates, which were mostly photos of the beach.

No – I did not write, but I walked, 5 to 8 miles each day, along the beach. It was heaven and then some. I did not stick with WW completely, but I was not crazy either; I did gain one pound back, but that is a far cry from my typical “I’m-off-the-plan-so-let’s-go-food-crazy.” That is very different for me. I did have a second slice of Mack and Manco pizza… I admit that that was hot-melty-cheesy-crispy bliss and worth every bite… The best pizza ever and I say that as a New Yorker talking about New Jersey pizza.

And I slept… and slept. That was a real joy, I can promise you. I also got to see my friend Donna Marie many times; she lives nearby. That was a real joy too! I also got to see Donna’s friend Sister Connie, RGS, who I had not seen since 1994 or 95! That was fun because Connie is an extrovert’s extrovert and I say that as a pretty extroverted extrovert! I was walking into a shop one day and I have no clue how she saw me, but from a dining terrace next door (she had to have corner-turning-vision but I did not ask) Connie came flying into the store to say hello! I ended up sittting down with her and Sister Anita as they ate their lunch.

(we went to Atlantic City with Donna Marie, her husband and her mom; this is at Caesar’s)

The best part of the vacation was spending so much time with Mark and Erica. While a 53 year old woman and her 15 year old stepdaughter are like some kind of off-the-charts hormonal bookends, just ask poor Mark about that, we do have a great relationship for which I thank God every day.

We went to the beach every day, we jumped in the waves and I was reminded of an 8 year old girl who loved the waves with wild abandon and inexplicably instantaneously loved me too, as I jumped in those waves with her, in Rhode Island not-so-many-years-ago.

Erica and I in 2006, another beach, another vacation.
And here we were in Ocean City, just last week.

Mark and I would take a walk on the beach every day and we both relished the amount of unfettered quiet time together. It was great and I felt myself humbled beyond imagination that God should have brought us back together in this way.

One of my favorite moments together was when we rode the ferris wheel, just the two of us, on the last night. (The ferris wheel makes Erica roll her eyes… too slow!)

Mark and Erica played their nightly game of air hockey at the arcade, a longtime tradition. I admit I loved seeing her win! They also played endless rounds of paddleball on the beach, a game that is more lost on me than the air hockey!

All in all it was a beautiful journey. There were – as there always are – hard moments. Anger, tears, frustration and the like, but there was also happiness, tranquility, joy and unity in ways that we don’t see enough of, in general.

So no blog posts or chapters were written, although I sent postcards to everyone who asked for one. However, not unlike bread, ingredients were added, things will rise and will be consumed. It is in that consumption, counter-intuitively, that  more is given than is taken, more is offered than is consumed and that is how we become One.

And that is why there will always be bread for me. Even – in fact, especially – in the Jersey Shore edition.