Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Different Gifts but the Same Spirit

This weekend Scott and I led a retreat for the leaders (young adult and older-adult) from a parish from our Archdiocese. This parish had (very) recently lost their DRE/Pastoral Associate to cancer. Her funeral had been just a few days before the retreat, so it was fresh for the people who knew her.
I knew this DRE/PA too, through our regional meetings. I didn't know her well but she was respected and had some good friends in the group. She seemed nice and had good things to say, but we were of different ministry eras.
Anyway, it really struck me the different ways people on the retreat spoke about this woman. Some were teary when they said "she brought me into my faith, welcomed me and encouraged me into ministry. She never gave up on me. " Some said "she was relentless and difficult, if she wanted you to do something she would push and push. She did not take 'no' for an answer." Really, all the comments about her were respectful, but it was striking to me that this personality trait, this doggedness, can be seen by some as encouraging and empowering and by others as off-putting.
It makes me think that no one can be "all things for all people" and that even people who we might not see as gifted for leadership can be used by God to reach the people who need to be on the receiving end of that person's gift. I do believe that God speaks everyone's language, and now I am realizing that God can use every gift in one way or another- even the gifts that annoy mere mortals such as we.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

On Death and Dying- Or Not

I have a dark sense of humor, and I don't mind admitting that. An evil-sounding chuckle leaks out when something that shouldn't be funny strikes me funny. Still, the older I get the more squeamish I am about meanness, I guess because I can see better, with each passing year, how mean I can be at heart. Still, I find more things funny than I think the average person does, and that's a gift I'm thankful for.
I think I'm gloomier than a person might expect about me, too, and fear-fuller. I remember having a conversation with a friend of mine about cancer- it seemed to me like everyone is basically going about their lives waiting to find out which cancer they will end up with. Is that just me? It's just so everywhere. Somehow I think that when I'm inevitably diagnosed, I'll say "ahh, so that's what it's going to be." Maybe it'll be the killing kind, maybe it'll be the kind that gets neatly sliced out and life goes on. Still, as much as I expect my own, I'm always surprised to hear about anyone's cancer. Bad news is still so surprising.
While I waited to hear if it would be breast cancer that would be my particular cancer, or not, I thought about how relieved I'd feel to find out that it might not be the cancer for me. But you know, just because this wasn't breast cancer this time, it's not like that's crossed off the list of possibilities now. Still, it was a great relief to hear "completely benign" and I have this feeling like I've been given a bonus year or so during which I should feel especially grateful and worry-less, and relatively complaint-free. Seems I'd better lighten up.
Ann Lamott says that Christians are supposed to see death as a major change-of-address. I'm pretty cool with death but I'm less enthusiastic about dying.

Friday, April 19, 2013

The week that is

   I should say, in case anyone's worried, that we're fine and safe- our home is about 25 miles outside of Boston, way outside (we pray) the danger zone, or at the very least way outside the 'lockdown' zone. We are near an airport where helicopters appear to be stopping in to refuel, and that's an eery sound.
   We were in Maine the day of the bombings at the Marathon, and we never had even considered going in to watch it- we used to go cheer for the runners years ago, when we were young, but nowhere near the city. So we were never in danger on that day- but when we heard the news I started checking on people in Boston and who might've gone in and watching Facebook to be sure people I know were okay. It's been a weird experience to be so close to real stuff, and the social media-ness of it all has been fascinating to me.
   But also this week, I found out that I don't have breast cancer- a mammogram had found calcifications, the "troublesome" kind, and so I had to go back. I know I've written here about my unease at being in suspense and so you'll understand that I was a bit of a mess for 5 days while I waited for Aleve to wear off before the biopsy (which was stereotactic, you can google image that if you can stand some anatomically correct illustrations. It's an unsettling, uncomfortable, and downright weird experience) and then 4 days to wait for the results. Turns out I'm downright cranky and nasty while under serious stress. Maybe I'm the last to know that characteristic of myself. Also, I eat a lot under pressure. 
   So, it's been a weird week, a roller coaster of emotions, and on it goes as we're glued to the tv waiting for something to happen with this white-hat-guy. Weird.

Friday, April 05, 2013

7 quick takes!

1) I've realized that I don't have a big life-bucket list, just a couple of things: I'd like to go back to Canada, and it would be even better to see a Red Sox game up there. One bucket list thing I had and have completed was to break a window with a rock a-la It's A Wonderful Life. When the convent next to our parish was due to be demolished, I saw my chance, and Scott and I went over to live my dream. It wasn't easy! I think the glass was leaded or something... anyway, mission accomplished.
2) I have a couple of food-related items, like eating at that restaurant that looks like a ship on Route 1. Another food-bucket list (oh that sounds gross!) item that I recently ticked off was to have a burger with a fried egg on top. Intriguing, no? There's a new restaurant near work that features the best burger in... dare I say it... the WORLD???!!!! It comes with an egg on top, and it's heavenly.
3) This morning I got up early (it was still dark!) to take my sisters to the airport. Super early is a good time to go there, because the roads are relatively empty, and people are too tired to be impatient with the other drivers who are hemming and hawing, reading the signs and looking for terminals. When I got home, it was like I had the world in front of me- how would I spend this block of time, this gift of bonus hours? I could get started in the garden, or... OH start writing that book! Maybe, if it went well, this could be my new routine! Up before dawn to crank out a bunch of pages! I could have a book by the end of this century! But instead, I crawled back into bed, downloaded a book on my ipad, read for a while, and went back to sleep. I'm not an early morning person. It's good to know things about one's self.
4) I've got that garden feeling. The irises are out in our little garden, even while a small pile of dirty snow sits nearby. I have compost to stir, dry grass to cut back, seeds to scatter, brush to burn. I have an old shredded American Flag that I need to dispose of, too, and it seems like burning is the prescribed manner. I'm a little nervous about burning a flag in our yard, in case any of our neighbors are veterans or very patriotic.
5) We haven't had the bird feeders full all winter- so that's on my list for today too. The cats will love it, and the squirrels, of course. My parents bequeathed me a squirrel-hurling feeder that is supposed to discourage the nasty buggers, thusly:
Here's the thing, though. Our squirrels seem to just enjoy the ride, and that fun ride also shoots about a pound of seed out and spreads it conveniently about the ground so the squirrels can scarf it up with no trouble at all.
6) The Red Sox are back! I do love baseball season. That's all I've got about that right now. Except, who are these new kids?
7) It's been a week and I'm still so tired from Holy Week. I know, I know, it's not like we're ditch-diggers, but Holy Week is a lot of work- a lot of walking, a lot of smiling, a lot of extrovert-ing. We ended up cranky (Scott mostly:) and overly emotional and wiped out. It's exhilarating to look at the calendar for this month and see an epty square here and there. But it's taking some time to transition into lent-less life.
I'M GOING OUTSIDE!!! (check out the home of 7QT at www.conversiondiary.com)