Ancient of Days

Through God’s glory I’ve been able to schedule some free time on my birthday. And I’ve finally reached the age where I don’t want to talk about it.

But I decided to read through my birthday greetings on Facebook, since that’s such a new type of community and the interaction is so interesting. I’ve met so many people through there who share so much of their lives, their pain, their suffering, and their joy with me. The emails and private messages I receive never cease to humble me, and inspire me. I recognize it’s a new medium, and I don’t want to get caught up in it, but I’m genuinely touched by the humanity of it. (Plus, obviously, I keep up with friends and family.)

The universe lives and abides forever;
to meet each need, each creature is preserved.
All of them differ, one from another,
yet none of them has he made in vain,
For each in turn, as it comes, is good;
can one ever see enough of their splendor?

But, one thing I’ve noticed is that I can’t keep up with the birthday greetings and well wishes and get things done in my life also.
birthdayI’m going to make an effort though just, because.

It’s thoughtful of people to take the time, even if it’s two seconds. For many it’s more though, and since I have the time, I want to acknowledge that I hear them, I love them, and I appreciate them.

I love the people who read my blog too.

So… thank you.

Birthdays, long walks, great dinners, moving plans, stress, friend dramas, family dramas, … life is so rich. I love it.

Lord Jesus, please help me to grow in wisdom, that I may always do your will. Amen!

Wednesday's Child has Far to Go…

the awakening

I woke in the black of early morning, reached for my Breviary, turned on my bedlamp and winced in pain.

People with light colored eyes have issues with bright lights, even an unbright bedlamp. It’s a reason I usually have a furrowed brow or sunglasses in photos. And, when saying Mass under thirty or so spotlights, it’s usually … a bit too bright. It’s a cause non celebre, and I need new glasses.

But most of all, I was overwhelmed with the bleakness of Job.
Dore's depiction of Job
“My flesh is covered with rottenness; my skin is cracked and festering”. And the gloom of the Mass Gospel loomed, as the disciples walk so unknowingly with Jesus into the Valley of the Shadow of Death.

But I had things to do with the day, and couldn’t be held down pondering these things too long. Time was tight after all! Today was a work day we had organized to help my niece move some things out, set some aside for resale, and clean out the holding area of all of this stuff which was in her back carport. I rented a truck, made a batch of perfect spaghetti and meat balls, set the day aside and got a good night’s sleep.

the day

It’s actually a long story which has to do with the amount of things in my parents’ household when it was sold, and the comparatively simple size of my niece’s home. This all went fairly well, but, unfortunately, my niece had not gone through everything that we thought she had gone through. So some things were moved without her having gone through them. I apologized.

On the bright side, the carport is immaculate. It’s a great place to sit and visit, and for kids to play.

But, the day had started off, so soon after walking through these maudlin readings, with my brother’s trip to the doctor. God bless him, he does have some mental health issues.

He brings his medicines with him and hides them around the car. Usually he has some very important papers which he stuffs under the seat, or puts into my care. Then he wants to stop and buy a pack of Advil at the gas station. When you get there he asks for 5 dollars. And then he wants to stop in for a cup of coffee and some smokes at a local cafe. His appointments don’t take all that long, but he always has to wait around for the doctors to write letters of recommendation, or refer for prescriptions, because he’s a very important person and these things will happen right away.

Or he has something else to do which has caught his attention. Meanwhile he casually asks everyone around for cigarettes. Ultimately your patience is on it’s last edge. He smokes a cigarette. Finds his way back up to his doctor’s office. Comes down. Asks for, receives, and smokes another cigarette. It’s something which obviously can’t go on.

These poor people probably give him cigarettes because he looks so frightening, and pale and ancient. We honestly just don’t know what to do with him anymore, or how to help him. His doctors don’t either. When I left this evening he was hiding his medications in the hot water heater. He had to stand on the washing machine to do this, wearing dirty boots, as he casually explained that he thought something might be wrong with the hot water heater.

I waste away: I cannot live forever; let me alone, for my days are but a breath.

You observe him with each new day and try him at every moment!
How long will it be before you look away from me,
and let me alone long enough to swallow my spittle.?”

For soon I shall lie down in the dust;
and should you seek me I shall then be gone.”

I have a long way to go in life. Priests generally retire late.

I’d better get some rest, and plan a but more gym time.

Wednesday’s child usually ‘is full of woe.’ For me, I have far to go.

the resolution

“Then, Lord, I remember your mercy and your deeds from all eternity, knowing that you deliver those who hope in you and save them from the hands of their enemies.” Sirach

an image from William Blake, on the eventual comforting of Job

Maudlin Tuesday

I woke up so early today, completely sleepless, and pulled the covers over my head to avoid the reality that yes, it was morning and yes, I have some things on my mind. I just needed some more sleep in the worst way. And what really bothered me is that I watched “The Shining” last night while getting a bit of work done. (Some people put on music, I put on movies.)

I saw the Shining years ago, and didn’t really get it. Everyone I said that to explained it to me, and I still never got it. So I thought that watching it again now, now that I’m mature and have so much life experience upon which to draw, it would be crystal clear. But I still don’t really ‘get’ it. I really like some of the filming in the snow at night, however.

But when I woke up, all I recalled was the crazed mania, the uneasiness, the creepiness of being in such a situation, and the strange talk about the phenomenon known as “The Shining”. As I lay there (feeling miserable to be honest, with allergies all about,) I couldn’t help but wonder, once again as I had so many years ago, what the phenomenon of the shining had to do with the main character’s insanity. There’s a link, which is crystal clear because everyone else understands it. But the logic has always eluded me. Maybe it’s supposed to be illogical, and maybe we’re not supposed to think about it too much. Maybe it’s just meant to be disturbing, and to leave us disturbed. I’m going to watch it again, I know. And then google it and see what’s written about it. And then I’ll wonder why I invested so much time in it when True Grit is out now and is probably a much more enjoyable (not to mention spiritually healthier) film.

But laying in bed I brought my Breviary before my sleep filled eyes and read through the Office and Morning Prayer. It was so perfect for my dour ungenerous mood ~~~~ Psalm 102 and Job. Psalm 102, that’s a long story. And Job, that’s even longer. And they’re both miserable.

But they hold the promise of better things to come, and that was just the swift kick I needed to start the day off prayerfully.

There’s a lot to let go of when we invest in a life in Christ. And that includes dour ungenerous moods, and petty differences, and selfishness, and even occasional early morning blues and tiredness.

Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you,
there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters
or mother or father or children or lands
for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel
who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age:
houses and brothers and sisters
and mothers and children and lands,
with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come.
But many that are first will be last, and the last will be first.”

Letting go of concerns though, it’s important to remember the entire concept of self-care. That’s another long story too.

I have the feeling there are a lot of long stories I should start writing down.

But not today. I’m going to go back to bed and pull the covers over my head. go get some very important work done.

Update Someone has done an in depth review of “The Shining”. The mystery will be revealed!

Fr. Kenneth Allen