Sunday, December 16, 2012

Advent III

O Wisdom… tonight begins the first of the "Great Os" that lead up to Christmas Eve. I had not heard of them before coming to the community, and now, like most of my sisters, I look forward to them.

We are a sorry excuse for a choir now, and for that reason, most of the time we don't sing. But our eldest sister has been humming the opening to "O Wisdom" all week, and even though I knew it would be off key and totally out of whack, I still began the antiphon by singing it instead of saying it. It was awful. But it reminded me of the fairy tale of the monks in a small Russian community who hired a professional singer to sing on one of their sacred occasions. Afterward, the monk was praying and said, "Usually the angels come to hear us on this night, but I didn't sense them this year." The answer was, "Usually you sing. We come to hear you."

Oddly enough YouTube has no video of anyone chanting these haunting melodies. That's too bad. You sure don't want to hear me sing them, even if the angels don't mind.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Advent II

A pregnant and unwed Mary… off to her cousin's. Greeted with joy, no judgement, no questions asked. Our celebrant today spoke about the amazing capacity that God has to meet us where we are.

We don't have to clean ourselves up, or clean up our house, before God can come in to meet us. We may think we do. But that is not what God asks of us.

How amazing when we cam mirror that same acceptance in each other, the way Elizabeth welcomed Mary.

May this next week of the "Irrational Season" (as Madeleine L'Engle described it) be one for welcoming and accepting and joy.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Advent I

Easy enough to promise…
"Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me as you have said."

Until the nausea sets in and the pregnancy begins to show.
Now what?

No wonder Mary took off for her cousin's house. After all, the same angel had said Elizabeth was six months along. Misery loves company/safety in numbers/any cliché in a storm.

But what she found at Elizabeth's was affirmation. Validation. We all could use a little of that when we say yes to God. Especially when we have no clue where that yes will lead.
Wishing you a blessed Advent: full of affirmations and validations for your choices in life.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

We have a cat here at the convent. Her name is Emily and she belongs to Sr. Faith Margaret. When Sister is traveling, I'm the one who scoops the poop, feeds her and gives her medication. She often sleeps with me when Sister is gone. Most of the time I don't mind at all. She's a good cat.

But she's not my cat. I would like to have a cat of my own, specifically an orange cat like this one in the picture.

I would name it something really dumb, like Ginger or Home Depot.
I would love my cat.

On the other hand, I can predict a zillion reasons why this would be a terrible idea. Who would take care of my cat when I travel? And I don't know what I'd do if Emily didn't like Home Depot, if they didn't get along. Of course I would side with my cat in any disagreements. I would blame Emily for throw-up in the hallway. I would compare who had the cleanest cat litter box. I would begin to resent Emily, who now holds the seat of grace in our house. She's a good cat; she doesn't deserve that. She's just not my cat.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Happy Birthday Mom

Today would be my mother's birthday. She was 28 years old when I was born, which would make her 95 if she were still alive. Nobody in my family ever lived to 95. They were heavy smoking, hard drinking New Englanders, and most of them died in their 70s of heart disease or stroke.

I will most likely die of stroke. I carry the high cholesterol RNA, the artery-hardening strands of genetic material that takes us down when we least expect it. It actually gives me a great deal of comfort to think about dying that way; certainly better than wasting away a day at a time, peeing my pants, my mind moving in and out of some goofy mental fog.

Several of my sisters are elderly and it's both a joy and a frustration to try to follow the mental trail of breadcrumbs their minds leave behind. The other breadcrumbs I just sweep up, trying to get to them before they're ground into the wood floors. When you age you don't see so well, don't hear so well, don't remember so well, and the powers of observation deteriorate along with everything else.

I can see it in myself to a lesser extent, but I am twenty years younger than they are. I have lots of time to deteriorate.

My mother didn't want to be buried when she died. It wasn't the coffin so much as she didn't want any one place to mark her passing. She wanted cremation with the ashes scattered by the funeral home, so I would never know where she was. "If you want to remember me, put a vase of flowers on the mantle on my birthday." she said.

I've done that some years. But while I went along with the cremation idea, I scattered her ashes myself. The oceans of the world mark her passing. Any beach will do as the place I visit to remember her.
Since I can't get to the beach today (I'm supper cook) I may get some flowers. Happy Birthday Mom.