Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Find to Your Roots....

I am terribly fascinated by the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius.  In fact, I'm going to start studying them with my priest (thank you Father).  And, now that this has caught my attention, I see bits and pieces of it everywhere.  It's a little like when you are pregnant and suddenly you see all things baby that never caught your attention before.

The twelve step program teaches that you accept that you aren't in control and you rightfully turn that over to God.  The steps teach you to take care of yourself and to start discovering who YOU are....not whose spouse or child you are, not whose mother you are, but who you are once you DETACH from all other things.  It also teaches us to take inventory of our wrongs and to try, when possible, to rectify them. Finally, that instruct you to find a way to serve others.

The spiritual exercises teach us to do many of those same things, but in a creative, contemplative way.  So, I've started my own new inventory control plan.  In addition to reviewing the day from the perspective of how well I followed the ten commandments, now I go through the senses.  What did I see today that was beautiful?  What smelled so wonderful or delicious?  What made me feel really good or excited...either physically or emotionally or mentally?  What sounds made my heart sing?  What tasted so fresh or restorative?  What curiosities am I dying to experience?

I often ask my married girlfriends, What would (first name, maiden name) like/ do.  And, most of them respond in the same fashion....I don't even remember her....That is so sad.  When I say detach from other things, I don't mean the family...I mean detaching from finding joy, happiness and security FROM our families.  We should still find those things from within.  When we do this, we model for our family, the fact that we are trying to use our gifts.  We are modeling an appreciation not only for the gifts from God, but we reinforce the fact that we continue seeking them.  And, in the process, guess who/what we find?

I love the dulled light we see through sheets of rain on the springtime verdant pastures.  I love using almost swear words to make a point....Dhat blasted.... Yesterday, I made homemade chicken soup for my sick kids and when I walked back in the house, that smell made it smell  like a home.  I love going to mass when it's a school mass, hearing mostly children's voices singing with all of those imperfections ringing out loud and, that's perfection!

I am almost 47 years old and sadly, I am just learning to smell the roses.  Figure out what brings you joy;  it will lead you to your passion.  It will introduce you to God's creation.

 In the movie "Runaway Bride", Julia Roberts thought that she liked whatever type of eggs that her current fiance liked.  It was Richard Gere who pointed out that she liked what she thought others would want her to like.  He told her to call him when she figured out which type of eggs SHE liked.  In the movie, this seemed blatantly obvious to the viewer but, I don't think it's all that unusual.  We are constantly filtering and editing.....maybe it's time to start tasting eggs....

Today, I pray for my son and his addiction.  I pray for him to find who God created him to be.  I pray for him to find the all time high of learning his passion.  I pray for you and me to do the same.  And, as always a prayer for Henry.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Now, it all begins....How Marvelous, How Wonderful!

Tomorrow,  I will go to mass and visit with our Lord in adoration before going to confession.  I will do this in preparation and gratitude before Holy week begins.  I love the catholic church.  I love the rhythms and sights and smells of it.  I love the traditions which give me imagine Christ here, physically and how that must have been. 

And, while I love everything Catholic, in my mind, I still sing a hymn that my very Baptist grandmother would sing around the house...."I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene, and wonder how he could love me a sinner condemned, unclean.  How marvelous how wonderful and my song shall ever be, how marvelous how wonderful is my saviour's love for me."

Sunday is palm Sunday.  The beginning of holy week.  And, my son just came and told me that Sunday, he'd like to join me when I go to a horse show.  He asked when I would like to go and I said, "after mass."  "I'll go with you to mass too,"  he said.  "That will be nice," I say....but my heart shouts...How marvelous....How wonderful is my Saviour's love for me.

I was in the desert a lot last year.  I am fairly certain that it was in direct proportion to my need to be there.  And, just a few days ago I was grieving lost opportunities(see previous post)  that I had given up because my priorities had been misplaced.  I felt utterly heartsick because I didn't think I could rectify the damage I'd done. 

I couldn't.  God can.  I do not know what happened.  I don't know how it happened.  But, last week, I decided that all I could do, from here on out, was let my actions tell my son that I trusted who God created him to be.  It was pretty much just a mental decision that I had made.  I can't recall doing anything as a result of that decision, but..... he changed.  I can't describe it... he just changed.  And just as holy week begins again as it did so long ago, in my heart, I believe that IT is beginning for my son. 

You see for a long time now, well before I knew what my son's problem actually was, my prayer was, "please help return my son to you, first, Father and then to me."  This week, my son has helped me without being asked.  He has been responsible.  He is thinking ahead.  He is calm and quiet.  He has talked to me about his addiction/recovery.  He hasn't asked for anything.  He is pulling himself up.  And, he is doing it by himself because God created this boy of mine for something great.  Maybe it is something that will bring him fame or wealth or maybe he will help those who are the "least of these."  But, it will be great in the eyes of God and that's all that matters.

Today, I have prayers of thanksgiving for the miracles that mark the beginning of my holy week.  I pray for continued growth for my son and for your children.  I pray for continued faith.  I pray for our eyes to be always trained to search for the hand of God in our everyday.  And I pray for Henry.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Lost Opportunity

Yesterday I was flipping channels on tv and I ran across Charles Stanley.  He is a minister (I think Baptist) that my parents loved.  You see I started out as a southern Baptist and finally found my home in the Catholic church.  Anyhow, I paused and listened.  He was talking about the scripture that Paul spoke which is widely repeated, "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength."  I love that verse. 

I have been studying humility, as opposed to pride.  But, on the other side of humility or perhaps a part of humility that we rarely consider is confidence.  He was saying that we have confidence when we are  using the gifts that God has given us and know that we can do what he asks because we know that he is THE one who fortifies us and gives us the means to accomplish his will.  Pride is when we think we can do it because WE have the power to do it ourselves. 

Then, I turned on Oprah's Master Class.  She began talking about her mother and grandmother who were both maids.  She remembered her grandmother hanging out the sheets for the woman she worked for and turning around and saying, "Oprah Gayle, you'd better watch so that you can do this yourself one day."  She remembers thinking I won't.  She said that she felt it was not because at 6 yrs old she felt above it but because "a voice" she felt in her soul made her aware that she would do something else.  She went on to discuss all of these different times when others would tell her why she couldn't do something and it never seemed to worry her because she always KNEW that God was there with her, speaking to her and as long as she listened to His "whisper" that it could be done...and done beyond her wildest dreams.  Now that is confidence. 

Another thing Charles Stanley said was that he told his kids every night that if they could dream it and it was God's will, they could do it.  This instantly made me sad.  I have missed so many opportunities to build up my children, especially my son.  He does not want to hear what I have to say right now.  Not about him or his future, or drugs or rehab or church....But, I want to say, I want him to know that with every cell that makes up this middle aged body of mine, I KNOW, as I don't think he does, just how smart he is, how much talent he has.  Regardless of the obstacles that drugs and alcohol and the effects of their use have placed before him, he can do all things through Christ who gives him strength.  I know this.  It weighs so heavy on my heart that I did not help him to see it so long ago.  My soul weeps.

So today I pray for my son to learn, even though I can't tell him or make him believe me; that he will hear God's whisper.....that he will believe God's whisper....that he can do amazing things with God's help...and if he is doing God's will he will experience more joy than any substance can ever give him.  I pray for forgiveness for failing my son in so many ways and I pray for Henry.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Lately I have been bothered by the fact that my son insists that he can drink.  I thought that this was definately better than drug use, but I still didn't feel good about it.  I went to a fundraiser for the rehab center he used.  The talk was given by a recovering addict and her mother.  They had written a book.  At first, I didn't want to read it.  It is almost as if, reading it, means I have to go back there. 

I was having a particularly bad weekend so I decided to just dive right in.  When I read it, I learned how differently an addict/alcoholic treats alcohol.  It seems that for the author, at least, that very first drink brought instant relief.  I remember when I first started drinking, I thought how bad it tasted.  I remember not liking that feeling of losing control of myself.  It made me uncomfortable.  When I stopped drinking, it really wasn't that big of a deal. 

Then I read about how manipulative the addict can be.  These were all reminders of things I had tackled once and foolishly let slip into the back of my mind in some false sense that this was mostly behind me.    They were signs.  I am traveling a journey.  I am not checking the 12 steps off my list one by one.  No, I am learning and moving forward, only to become relieved and think that is behind me and before I know it, I'm back at step one again.  This is a chronic progressive disease.  It is lifelong.  I must be vigilant at all times.  This makes me tired. 

But, I don't have to do this alone.  And, I'm not.  I was given those signs just when I needed them.  With God's help and a lot of time in prayer, I placed a new boundary.  No alcohol as long as he lives here and if he does he must go.  I don't know where or how.....It makes me a little heartsick to think of doing that again but if it takes that to help him realize the gravity of this disease and realize that he needs help, then so be it.  Pretending to make progress will take us nowhere....and fast. 

Today I pray for courage to do what is necessary. I pray for my son to learn the lessons that God has for him and I pray for the soul of Henry.