A Second Look

Today’s Gospel (Mark 8,22-26) tells the story of Jesus healing a blind man. He takes him outside of the town, and it takes 2 passes before the man sees clearly. Then Jesus tells him to “Go home. Don’t even go into the village.”

It seems that Jesus has had to touch my eyes more than twice — and I still don’t see clearly. Well, maybe, I see clearly for brief moments. Then, those folks around me look like trees walking again.

And then – the admonition to go home. “Home is where the heart is.” Home is that place where I am completely free and safe. Home is that room inside me where I can go and just be. It seems that the path home is prayer, which opens me up to a deeper relationship with God.

Going into “The Village” seems to reflect what we do all too often — go out and share something. Keep it at a distance. Share it around so that it doesn’t have to affect me so deeply.

Next time my eyes are touched, I’ll try to remember to go home and “be” before I actually “do” anything. And hope that I do get that second look before I run off to deal with walking trees.

Baggage: Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals;

Today’s Gospel (Luke 10,1-9) contains the instructions to the 72 sent out by Jesus: …Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way…

What strikes me is that the instruction is to leave your baggage behind. I carry too much baggage with me into any situation. It’s hard to leave baggage behind. I mean, get real — sometimes I remember how someone reacted last time. Or, I know I trust this person to be less than open. And yet, Jesus tells me to go without baggage and offer peace. And, if it doesn’t work out, don’t take the bad stuff with me when I leave.

Good advice. But not so easy to carry out at times.

“I love you” – Mom

I found this in my drafts — guess I forgot to hit publish… or maybe it was too close to my heart when I wrote it.

A couple of years ago, my newly married daughter and her husband apparently had an interaction that overflowed to Mom. He comes from a family where he was constantly, verbally told that he was precious and loved. She, however, it seems, did not. To be honest, when she said to me “I’ve never heard you or Dad say ‘I love you’ ” my world crashed around me. The sky fell.

After a bit of discussion (when I found my voice), she admitted that maybe I had told her that I love her when she was growing up – but she didn’t give ground on her dad. And, I made a change. In the 2 or so years since that conversation (it was a phone call), I’ve tried to never end a call with her, or her brothers, or my mom, without actually saying “I love you.” I’ve even tried it with my husband. It’s a good practice to get into — and in most of those cases, the practice now goes both ways. Hallelujah!

Actions are important, but words matter as well.

Scrutiny?

So, I open Today’s Readings in gmail and notice that all of the ads are for Bridesmaid gifts and wedding books, etc. It’s a hint – today’s gospel contains the quote from Jesus “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast. But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast on that day…”

How many times to we only pick up on certain words and not get the entire meaning? I do hope to have a better algorithm for understanding than google/gmail…

Forgiveness

A few days ago, Susan (Creo en Dios!) posted about forgiveness and made a reference to “The Shack.”

I just knew that this post was coming from “The Shack” – from the first sentence…

…God tries to get him to understand reconciliation.  God says, “There has never been a question that what I wanted from the beginning I will get. …Honey, you asked me what Jesus accomplished on the cross; so now listen to me carefully: through his death and resurrection, I am now fully reconciled to the world. … The whole world, Mack.  All I’m telling you is that reconciliation is a two way street, and I have done my part, totally, completely, finally.”

In the referenced interchange between Mack and God there is also a lesson for us about the business of our forgiving others. We are called to forgive, but we are also called to forgive without demanding that the other person acknowledge our forgiveness. Not easy. It doesn’t quite feel completed at this point.

When I finally forgive I really want that other person to acknowledge what [a wonderful thing] I have done. I may not actually desire a full relationship with the other person (another way I fall short of the ultimate example), but, by-golly, I want some credit!

Instead, I find that it must be enough for me to forgive. I believe I have mentioned before a penance I had once that required that when I sang or played in mass that it be offered as a prayer for those I felt were persecuting me (and those folks were very often in the congregation at the time). 7 months I did this. Seven months! Until the day that I listened to one of them (a priest) offer a homily. I listened and was overwhelmed with a sense that he was saying the right words, and utterly clueless about what they might mean. The topic was reconciliation/confession. Instead of being angry with him (my usual response) I had an overwhelming sense of sadness for him and what he was missing. Sorrow. I knew I was done. I knew I had forgiven beyond my human ability.

There is still no reconciliation — and never any acknowledgment that I had anything to forgive. But that is not the issue here. Later in the book, God explains  “Forgiveness is not about forgetting, Mack. It’s about letting go of another person’s throat.” And, that is often about as far as I can get.