Wonderful Bad News

This morning one of the members of my Cursillo reunion group announced that she has to leave the group. Of course, our first reaction was “NOT ALLOWED.” But then we listened to her fill in the blanks… and it was good news and bad.

The bad of course is that one of our close knit group won’t be joining us each week. She feels that she does this just for herself (we aren’t so sure about that, as she is a vital part of the whole and makes wonderful contributions). AAARRGGH! Why?

The Good News is that she has taken the step of acting on a call to serve others. She will be joining the local Vincent de Paul Society and working with them — and they need her at the same time our group meets. She has been wrestling with this… we can tell. I rejoice in her growing to this point. I am glad she has found a call and is willing to follow it.

Change is constant. Change never seems to be easy. Another member is leaving for a month in California because of her mother with Alzheimers. It’s hard to have her gone. Another is in the throes of moving to another state to be closer to family. She has no family left here in town and knows that is is the right decision to move closer to her daughter(s). She is a bit stressed, but seems confident that this is indeed the right move. Another is facing a health challenge. All sorts of changes in my cozy little world.

Lord, let me walk trusting that You are the Way, that You have a plan, that You are with me, and that all shall be well. All manner of things shall be well.

How We See Them

I have a favorite commercial right — I think is a Subaru commercial. I’m more sure it is a car company commercial.

The scene is the father leaning into the window of the parked car, saying things like: “Buckle your seat belt.” and “Are your mirrors adjusted?” The focus shifts to a young girl (maybe 7 or 8 years old) sitting in the driver’s seat, smiling at daddy, but looking a bit like she already knows all this, or knows it all. Back to dad saying “Call when you get there, but don’t use the phone while you are driving” — and then you see that she’s not a youngster, but a teenager — far more grown up than Daddy sees her.

It’s so true. Yesterday I went to my neighbor’s daughter’s wedding. Emily is a lovely young woman — a college graduate. A grown-up. The ceremony was lovely and Christ centered. But, I still see that toddler. I still see the 6 year old at my door asking if I want to buy Girl Scout cookies. Just as I often think of my own children as laughing toddlers or little ones struggling to swim all the way across the pool. I still see them running through the house with baby hooded bath towels streaming behind them like superman capes. Never mind that they are all married, home owners and 2 of the 3 have children.

I wonder – does God see that child in me? I suspect God sees through all of the grown-up trappings I put on right into the child that was fascinated by watching a cat give birth to kittens — the child who fell off the porch into a forsythia bush and was terrified by the event. And that is good.

Jesus told us that to we must become as little children to come to God. I hope I can still remember what it means to be that little child myself.

You must become as little children

In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus tells us “…unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

I was thinking of this today as I was listening to music from the Mexican Baroque period. That led me to my experience of the celebrations of our Latino community in my parish. For the Feast of Guadalupe people dress in costumes. There is a lot of joy and playfulness mixed in with the deep devotion.

Or, I think of the young father who came forward at mass with his tiny daughter, bearing a box with the ashes of his recently deceased (29 year old) wife. He asked that they be placed on the altar so that the community could pray for her, for them during mass. Why he chose the english mass when he spoke only spanish, I’ll never know. It was unplanned – a surprise to everyone, even the priest who handled it beautifully.

It seems that we Americans, and western Europeans have grown old. We have cast away childlike trust. The widower trusted that his request, his need would be honored. This just wouldn’t have happened had he been a part of the much more reserved english speaking community. We want plans. We want protocol. We are not about to bare our souls to the community and ask for healing and help.

We are hesitant to dress up and play the parts in plays. Oh, that’s okay for a 5 year old. But, where has the playfulness and innocence and trust gone?

Lord, I hope that I can indeed become as a little child more often and therefore be open to Your love, Your care, Your joy. And, I ask you to help me to trust as a child trusts.

Hidden heart

While praying morning prayers this morning (I use the Magnificat book), I found myself being prayed for:

free those who conceal their hearts in falsehood and betray the trust of others…

That slammed me. I do keep many things closed in. I hide myself and my heart so often. Sometimes out of embarrassment; sometimes out of fear that were it known what I really felt that others would be hurt more than by my concealment.

There are times when I’m not sure of the way out of this — part of me says – “Go for it! Get it out and let it be known” and part of me says “It’s wrong, the way you feel, so heal it internally, and don’t hurt anyone else.” I’m still struggling with it. Ouch!

Today I have no answers — just a lot more questions.