With Thanksgiving arriving this week, I have had gratitude on my mind. In general, gratitude is like a annoying presence that I could not get rid of – although for many years I tried to do just that, but my anger was no match for it. Ultimately I surrendered and now I am glad, well – grateful – that I did so.
Joy is also a constant companion. Happiness and joy are not the same at all. Once I got that message, I realized that joy was ever present, even in the midst of sorrow. Joy was like a less annoying presence, in fact almost invisible, until opened the door of my heart to usher in gratitude. It all sounds so hackneyed, so cheesy, but it is true. Now I am far from being little Miss Sunshine, if you know me in real life you know that I am easily irritated and typically irascible. Yet, bubbling away on a kettle within me is the ridiculous concoction of joy and gratitude that often steams its way out of me.
It is a mystery to me, but this week, I would like to talk about it more because it all distills down to one thing… We choose both gratitude and joy, no matter what order you experience them, but making those choices are not always easy.
Holidays are often opportunities for manufactured versions of both things… and ticking time bombs of distress as a result, given the family and/or social situations of many of us. May both gratitude and joy be yours this week, in the most profoundly organic way possible, found in the most unexpected places.
One week ago today I got in my car and headed east towards the Berkshires. The day was cold, but sunny – perfect for the short one hour drive. My destination was Kripalu, which is a yoga and wellness retreat center. It has been years since my body has taken a yoga class, but my goal that day was not yoga. My friend Karla McLaren comes in from California to every few years to teach there, and we were overdue for a visit. Karla and I first “met” through blogging almost 10 years ago, when blogging was in a different era. We then met up at Kripalu a few years back.
Making my way through the town of West Stockbridge, I listened to the voice on the GPS interrupt the podcast of Dear Prudence that I was listening to, telling me to turn left and right. I turned left and was immediately stunned as my right front wheel smashed into the curb. I was Continue reading →
At a time that stood in the shadow of notorious papal scandal and other church corruption, a time of great distrust of the church, a saint came along to who would change some of this. This man had a great desire to counter these feelings of suspicion and a lack of trust, and replace them with a love of the Lord. If you were walking around Rome in the 16th century you might have spied him, perhaps standing in a piazza or on a street corner. He might stand out because he was frequently seen wearing absolutely ridiculous clothing and sometimes with half of his beard shaved off. What a sight! It was in this way that St. Philip Neri helped to change the course of church history, and bring many souls to know Christ.
It’s been a chaotic and challenging few weeks since our relocation to our new home. We lived in NY for 20+ years. That’s a lot of friendships, familiarity, and family to leave behind. Now, it’s just the two of us for the first time in nearly 34 years of marriage. We no longer have five children and all their activities to lead us into new friendships. We’re on our own…in more ways than one.
We’ve managed to get the living room functional and the kitchen, too. Our office spaces, now separate in this new house, are up and running and our master bedroom is pretty organized. We can sleep, dress, work, cook, eat, and even relax (when we’re not unpacking boxes!!). We have a roof over our head, food on our table, and each other. We are doing better than many and for that we are grateful.
We’ve unpacked our necessities and are now moving toward those things that make this house feel like home. Pictures of our kids and grandkids. Scrapbooks. Familiar, favorite artwork. We’re building shelves and getting organized. But we’re missing Continue reading →
“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”
This is Jesus’ command in today’s Gospel for Ascension Thursday. For some of us, this is a Holy Day; other dioceses have moved the feast to Sunday.
Whether or not this is a Holy Day depending on our address, Jesus’ words are an imperative. GO! How do we make disciples? It starts by how we live. As Pope Francis has indicated over and over again, in the model of Christ, we must evangelize with our lives. GO!