Thursday, January 29, 2015
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
I spent today in the tropics meditating on the Gospel and reading a novel I just started and listening to "The Planets." I missed my usual trip to the Caribbean this year, so today I got a piece of it.
The winter sun is still so low on the southern horizon that it fills two of the south facing rooms in my home. In the room where I was sitting the thermometer in the shade registered 85. In the neighboring room where the thermometer is in the direct sun it registered 105.
I wondered how much healing power the sun has after it passes through a window. I'm sure the beauty of the sun sparkling on the snow creates in me a bliss that promotes mending.
I took the picture later outside the back door.
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
When I was in Germany a few years ago I visited Dachau Concentration Camp. This is a picture of the ovens used to cremate the bodies of those prisoners who were killed in a variety of ways, mostly in the gas chambers. The word "holocaust" means "whole-burnt." In the Old Testament it referred to completely burning an offering as a way of giving it to God. For this reason many Jews prefer to call the Nazi extermination of six million Jews "The Shoah" which means "the catastrophe."
When I was at Dachau there was a class of German high school students visiting the camp as well. Their teacher told me that every student in Germany must visit one of the camps.
Sometimes we may think that we have heard enough about the Holocaust, but we must not forget that ordinary civilized people like ourselves were so caught up in a hate-filled movement that they committed murder after murder. A very good movie, "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas," gives us a tragic insight into what happens when we try to pretend nothing wrong is going on.
Victor Frankl, a holocaust survivor, wrote "Man's Search for Meaning," a great lesson in surviving whatever threatens to destroy us.
(There were also five million non-Jews killed in the camps: Gypsies, Poles, communists, homosexuals, and the mentally and physically ill.)
Monday, January 26, 2015
Since I came home from the hospital I have not been outside to take pictures, so the pictures I have been using this month are from another time. I mostly went looking for bright summer or spring or even fall. Yesterday's snowflakes were from several years ago. I've always had trouble getting pictures of snow actually falling, so I had to look back a long time.
Well, too bad I didn't wait. This picture I took this morning from my back door. We had only about 3 inches of snow today. What you see here quit shortly after I took the picture. "We have only this moment."
Sunday, January 25, 2015
One of the Christmas cards that I received, which became a get well card, had an apt quote from Francis Bacon: "We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand - and melting like a snowflake."
This insight is a great comfort to me now as I find myself frustrated about not being able to think about the future. Now is a good time for me to learn to live in the present moment.
Thursday, January 22, 2015
I used to think that when someone was sick the night brought rest. That has not been my experience in the hospitals and often since I came home. I would wake often and long for the dawn.
In looking ahead at some future Mass readings here's one from Job 7 that I could own:
"Troubled nights have been allotted to me.
If in bed I say 'When shall I arise?'
then the night drags on
I am filled with restlessness until the dawn."
Thank God lately I have been having mostly rest-full nights.
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
A quote on the calendar from Ministry of the Arts said: "Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God."
When I look ahead I see a few doctors' appointments, but it's hard to think much beyond that. This picture of full summer holds promise, but swimming and lying in the sun seems a dream. I feel like I'm drifting. I do trust God. Maybe all God wants is a drifter.
Monday, January 19, 2015
Near the beginning of Mark's Gospel Jesus says what he is all about, "The time is ripe. God's Rule is at hand. Change your lives and believe in the Good News."
Spring breaks out at the ripe time. In Jesus God's Rule will come to completion in our world. Jesus within us shares with us his ability to always want what God wants.
Thanks to Bill For a New Beginning by John O'Donahue. The opening lines take on new meaning for me in the light of my recent surgery:
"In the out-of-the-way places of the heart
Where your mind never thinks to wander
This beginning has been quietly forming
Waiting until you were ready to emerge...."
Sunday, January 18, 2015
I couldn't think of anything more the opposite of Christmas than my favorite swimming hole in June in Dolly Sods.
I played the last of my 75 Christmas CDs yesterday. Since I had not put up any decorations before the heart attack, there was nothing to take down.
The music did help me to reflect on Love taking on human flesh and making his home among us. Because he is truly one with all of us Jesus gathers our pain into his own and makes it part of his redemptive suffering. Love, Who love us. thank You.
Saturday, January 17, 2015
I find the story of Jonah and the Whale amusing, even funny, though it makes several serious points, mainly that God wants to save every human being.
It inspired Carl Sandburg to write the following poem, which echoes my own experience:
"If I should pass the tomb of Jonah
I would stop there and sit for awhile;
Because I was swallowed one time deep in the dark
And came out alive after all."
Thursday, January 15, 2015
An excellent day so far. I'm getting around the house very well. The physical therapist had me do stairway Tuesday. Head infection seems almost over.
I read a chapter of a novel without losing concentration. So I tried centering prayer and that went well.
Love, Who love us, thank You.
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
I finished yesterday reading all the Christmas and Get Well cards that came while I was in the hospitals. I had planned to send Christmas cards during January, but it seems beyond me. So if you are used to getting a card from me, please accept this as my greeting for this year. If you sent get well wishes, please accept this as my thanks.
I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of love in these cards. I am positive that it has had a big role in my healing. Love, Whom we sometimes call God, is holding us all together.
Love, Who love us, thank You.
Monday, January 12, 2015
An April sunset I titled "Almost Heaven."
I keep finding heart references in scripture. This is from Psalm 51:10;16-17:
Creator, reshape my heart,
God, steady my spirit....
When I offer a sacrifice,
the gift does not please you.
So I offer my shattered spirit,
a changed heart you welcome.
In your love make us lovely.
Saturday, January 10, 2015
Friday, January 9, 2015
Some flowers beside the road last summer. Snowing hard and bitter cold again today, but from inside I can't get a good picture. So I look back for some favorites.
Since I missed most of December and Christmas celebrations I have decided to keep celebrating Christmas for a few more weeks. I'm listening to carols as I write.
When I couldn't pray much more than brief prayers after surgery carols were a big help in keeping my focus on Love becoming Flesh.
Thursday, January 8, 2015
Dolly Sods in all its glory, one of my favorite places. I faced the fact two years ago that I could no longer hike there by myself. I depend on someone going with me.
Most of my life I have been reluctant to accept dependence on others. I think I was too proud to think I needed anyone. The experience of the heart attack and the surgery and the staffs in the hospitals and the expressed support of relatives and friends has driven me to accept the fact that I can't do it myself.
Wednesday, January 7, 2015
From the end of October this glorious mix of form and color is a kind of autumn abstract. (Click on picture to enlarge it.)
I couldn't pray much more than "God help me." I couldn't get through the Lord's Prayer without losing focus. I couldn't read a whole page in a book. It's as if the surgery broke off parts of me. I am trying now to get myself together.
I became aware of how important were the prayers of others for me, helping not only my physical healing, but keeping me aware of God with me.
Tuesday, January 6, 2015
It has been snowing most of the day. No I haven't been running around in the snow taking pictures. This is from the snow we had just before Thanksgiving.
How about this from Ezekiel:36:26!
I will make you a new heart,
breathe new spirit into you.
I will remove your heart of stone,
give you back a heart of flesh.
I will give you my own spirit
to lead you in my ways.
Monday, January 5, 2015
November 13 there were 400-500 Canada geese on the lake. The memory of this view of the lake was a comfort while I was in the hospitals. (Click on picture to enlarge it.)
I became much more aware of the healing power of love embracing me and holding me to this life. Relatives and visitors and cards all expressions of Divine Love.
Love, Who love us, thank You.
Saturday, January 3, 2015
Here I am. I had a heart attack on December 4. Open heart surgery on December 9, triple bypass. Home December 26. Recovering very well.
One short prayer that I found myself saying often I pass on to you as a Christmas greeting and a prayer we can use in the new year:
Love, Who love us, thank You!