Small s sacraments, quotidian grace

144052 Like many, I was very rattled by the events in Charlottesville, and all week I was fraught with a rootless anxiety that swirled about me like the Santa Ana winds. In addition to that were the rough edges of a low level, but chronic bout of ennui, plus I saw a play about the 80’s that reminded me of the roots of today’s politics. Let’s just say it was a tough week. My outlook, generally positive despite my usual litany of complaints had tumbled.

On Saturday we attended a funeral; the mother of one of Mark’s old friends had died. Making our way out to a nearby small town on a sunny day was a small pleasure, but did not lift my spirits. My typically extroverted self was feeling some anxiety about socializing; I did not mention this to Mark, lest I give it more life.

It took us 40 minutes to arrive at this small country church, clearly a very old one.  Entering the sanctuary, we made our way into a narrow pew that one entered by opening a small door panel on the side. The size of the church did not impede the spacious feeling of the Spirit within; it was Continue reading

Invitation

imagesI’m feeling very nostalgic for the 80’s these days. Although I was inching my way to 30 and beyond as the decade progressed, it was a time when I arced through many galaxies on the journey to becoming who I am today. And yes – without a doubt – God was woven into every element of every fiber of this time.

You may wonder why I say that… Well, I lived in the juiciest years of that decade as an executive by day, but dressed all in black and skulking around dark, smoky, loud, generally unsavory nightspots when the sun went down. I stayed out too late, I smoked too many cigarettes, I definitely drank too much. And I danced and danced and danced, imagining it happiness at the time.

There were many happy moments, but happiness was what I sought. Happiness was an elusive pursuit, always bolting around the next bend before I could grasp it. And how I tried to gather it up in clenched and greedy fists, fueled by a heart that was Continue reading

Catching up

FranZimSmithHello all! The world has been blog free from me lately, but for a quick spell, I am back. Where has the world’s least disciplined blogger been? What has she done? Does anyone care? If so, here is a recap.

Walking – with a mere 76 days to go until my camino, I have been out walking a lot. Writing vs. walking has walking winning. Alliteration unintended! Last Monday was my final day of vacation, so I got out there and did 7 miles… with my pack on, despite choosing a local bike/hiking path where one would expect to see an actual backpacker. I’m glad I did it.

Vacation – so yes, we went on vacation. We were being prudent so we went for a few short days, not an entire week. Instead of our usual beach trip to Ocean City, NJ, we went to Cape Cod. Our little rental was so lovely, and the journey was one of the most relaxing ever. In the end I am more of an OCNJ person than a Cape Codder, but I did love it and can imagine returning for another short stay. It was a richly peaceful and prayerful time, a period – albeit short – of relaxation and happiness for our family.  I Continue reading

Stop, look, listen – Pentecost

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Villa Borghese, Rome

 

It was  a warm autumn Sunday in Rome, sometime during the month of October in 1990. The sun is out after days and days of rain, and people are everywhere. I’m walking through a park, heading down a hill towards a road where about a gagillion, well maybe not that many, but where many tourist coaches are parked. You can tell they come from different countries by the words emblazoned on the side of each giant bus.

In front of me, heading down the same hill is an older lady. Even just looking at her back I can see her nice trench coat, and she is wearing hose and low heeled shoes. In her right hand is a bouquet of colorful flowers with the stems wrapped in foil. This sight made me think of my mother who would cut often flowers and wrap them in foil, sending me off to deliver them to some neighbor in need. This thought made me smile to myself.

In an instant everything changed, my reverie broken as the woman took a tumble and rolled down the hill, getting muddy along the way. Then she rolled into the street, ending up behind a bus… which was just about to back up. Believe it or not, those flowers were still in her hand, although crumpled looking at that point. I did not know what to do, she was clearly stunned, I was not even sure she was conscious. It did not seem like anyone else noticed, so I had no choice, or she would die. I screamed. Loudly. Really loudly. No – REALLY LOUDLY.

You’ve never heard me scream. I Continue reading

So, nu?

31caQAhcgtLSo, nu? That’s a nice Yiddish phrase that, if you check this link (page down to N) you can read the defintion. I’m using it because I love Yiddish and it fits. Lots of things going on here, and if you care to know what they are, please read on. Ultimately, this probably-way-too-long-and-boring post is kind of a ramble through the tangles of my mind and my life in recent days and weeks.

First of all, once again I offer THANKS and GRATITUDE in abundance to all those who through prayer and/or donation have set me forth towards my Camino Santiago in September of 2016. A little over a year – gulp! I started my GoFundMe on July 25, thinking it would take me months to meet my goal. Imagine my surprise and gratitude upon meeting it after 3 weeks. To say that I am knocked down, overwhelmed, and full of gratitude would just scratch the surface. (If you are reading this and saying, “what camino what?” please see here.) Now I must be ready! This is just one element of how and why community matters – what can become real that is lodged only in our heart and not spoken aloud in the world? Thank you all again and again.

GUEST_9227249175_1256494673So I was walking 6-8 miles a day Continue reading

Sprouting and blooming – some thoughts on Thomas Merton

e7881216984a7402ae7a60713960607eToday we celebrate the 100th anniversary of Thomas Merton’s birth.

Many years ago, when I first returned to church, I – like many others – read his landmark work, The Seven Storey Mountain.  This book moved me in many ways, including to being the catalyst to get me out of my “God’s-only-up-there” piety and into a faith where my feet were firmly planted on the ground.

There are many gifts that God has given to me through Merton and his work, but today, I am grateful that it was the beginnings of a more integrated life of faith that the book shaped in me. And trust me, that seed was planted in 1990, but has taken many years to start to sprout, and even more years to bloom.

And with feet on the ground, those seeds are still sprouting, still blooming.
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Thomas Merton, pray for us!