The Timeless Way

Trying to express a sense of rootedness, examining the earth we are lodged in, what lies below the surface, the history of the place we are planted, trying to understand and express what has sweetened the soil or perfumed the air...

Friday, October 14, 2005

Mother daughter IM diablog

A portrait of Miss Speechless as a young shutterbug.

Perhaps it's just the joy of sharing the love for words with someone else that makes IMing with my daughter so much fun. We can almost predict each other's patterns of speech, we've lived together so long. From the first, my kids both have loved words. Talking, hearing stories, telling stories, putting on plays...IMing is still a recent phenom for me, though at 13 little Miss Speechless is a veteran IMer. When I'm off at work and she's at home she sometimes IM's me. I love it but on a day like today, it can be a source of terror too. See, Little Miss Speechless is at home with a case of pink eye. She just sent me an Instant Message at work. As a mother, instant access to the roller coaster ride of s 13 year old life is very helpful, but sometimes a little nerve wracking.

Little miss speechless: mommy!!
Little miss speechless: i cannot believe wat i just did

SPEECHLESS: Little Miss Speechless is that you?
SPEECHLESS: What did you do dear?
Little miss speechless: i could kill my self
SPEECHLESS: Is every thing ok???
SPEECHLESS: Don't scare me...what's going on?
Little miss speechless: i wrote this amazingly well written email to my friends about the hole pink eye thing
SPEECHLESS: Please don't ever EVER start an email or IM with "I could kill myself" again. That is very disturbing!!!!
Little miss speechless: and i was changing type sizes and i wanted to go back o the one i had had b 4
Little miss speechless: so i hit ctrl z
SPEECHLESS: Look can you go to Edit window, and press UNDO?
Little miss speechless: and it erased the whole thing
Little miss speechless: no
Little miss speechless: it was an email
SPEECHLESS: Or else you can do COntrol V and it is probably on a clipboard.
Little miss speechless: it was funny
Little miss speechless: and well written
SPEECHLESS: Try control v
Little miss speechless: with ammusing lines
Little miss speechless: and great discriptions
Little miss speechless: kk
SPEECHLESS: I'm sorry to hear that, but I'm sure you can come up with another brilliant effort.
Little miss speechless: 0it worked1
SPEECHLESS: TRY UNDO under edit, I think you can get it back!
Little miss speechless: !!
Little miss speechless: the ctrl v
Little miss speechless: 1
SPEECHLESS: You see I am a genius.
SPEECHLESS: A computer wizard
Little miss speechless: but it also got a bunch of other things
Little miss speechless: yea
Little miss speechless: ur the best
SPEECHLESS: Now before you do anything else, I want to read a written confirmation from you that you Little Miss Speechless will never EVER start an email on a small subject with a terrifying line like "I could kill myself"
SPEECHLESS: I thought you'd set the house on fire or poured boiling water on your brother, or taken daddy's motor cycle out for a spin or poisoned yourself.. All sorts of ghastly horrible ideas went through my head in an instant.

Little miss speechless: lol
SPEECHLESS: Never ever is not enough. I want a full written contractual agreement!!!!!!

Rapacious: Definition of the White House gang

Grasping: greedy and grasping, especially for money, and sometimes willing to use unscrupulous means to obtain what is desired. (Dick Cheney)

Destructive & Vicious: engaging in violent pillaging and likely to harm or destroy things. (George W. Bush)

Predatory: living by eating live prey. (Karl Rove)

Monday, October 10, 2005

Ask me why my heart bleeds?

Katrina and the abandonment of our brothers and sisters from New Orleans is a new wound but all too familiar, fruit of a very old and bitter vineyard. The poor are abandoned, people feel afraid. How can this wrong be undone when it is clearly part of an old and painful story?

Too long we’ve drawn water from the polluted well of racial hatred, poured out on a vineyard that bears the fruit of pain, anger and indifference. Each new slur and epithet uttered on the public stage from James Dobson or William Bennett or whispered private, comes from poisoned fruit, and plants the seeds of violence and hate. I pray that God leads us to a new spring, the living water of love, that this vineyard might bear a better harvest. But the wounds we carry and deny are so deep and painful, and in this country we keep heaping new pain atop the old, slashing the body of our victims anew.

There can be no end to the prayers for healing for us all, and prayers for forgiveness for what has been wrought to benefit the priveleged few.

Just quickly, I can pull together a long long list of victims and survivors to pray for and seek atonement with:
Africans and African Americans everywhere treated as poor relations in the human family; mental hospital survivors; native american indians of North & South America; prisoner workers in China; German holocaust survivors--Jews, Gypsies, Gays,; Russian pogrom survivors; survivors of Hiroshima & Nagaskaki; the siege of Sarajevo; Somalia; Darfur & southern Sudan; the famines of Ethipoia; child survivors of "God's Army" in Uganda; child laborers chained to rug looms in Inida, Pakistand and who knows where else throughout the world; corrections inmates of the US injustice system; the disappeared of El Salvador, Guatemala, Argentina & Chile; Catholics in the North of Ireland; Miners trying unionize and strike in South Africa, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Manchester;...such a random list of victims, just off the top of my head, not even including victims of the dreadful disasters of nature like the earth quakes, landslides, floods and sunami of recent memory, not even including the dreadful abuses of animals, but all victims of one thing: human greed.

It's very hard to confront the facts of human history and imagine that we could ever by our own will be in any way "good." Yet still God has no hands but ours, no voice but yours and mine. There's nothing that will be moved if we don't move it. We must work and speak out and make a difference. Starting now. The world needs to change.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Prayers of the Faithful

Twenty Eighth Sunday, Ordinary Time

1. We are your body, your church, struggling under the knowledge of sinfulness. We long to turn away, to cast accusing fingers outward. Still You call us to your feast. Turn us to You and to each other. Lead us on the path of reconciliation.

2. The leaders of the government which claims us as their own are torturing and killing. We live with the knowledge of our collective guilt. How do we atone? Give us Your agenda for our lives. Lead us to prayer, penitence, truth-telling and reparative acts of mercy.

3. East Germantown is a testimonial to neglect. Make us fit to wash the feet of the neediest amongst us. Teach us to work and not work for our reward, to humbly beg for the blessing of the poor, that together in You we might be exalted.

4. Today we behold our Confirmandi, whom we cherish. As together they prepare to fully participate in the work of the Church, let them know our love for them, and our longing for their voices to be heard, and their wisdom to be known.

5. The beauty of the earth is a feast for the eye. As we come into the harvest time, help us remember and find food for all who are hungry.

6. We lift up our sick, our beloved dead and all who mourn, knowing that You love us to the end and beyond. We ask you to embrace our sufferings; comfort us with your presence.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

The Feast of St. Vincent, friend to the poor

Prayers of the Faithful
September 24-25, 2005
26th Sunday: Feast of St. Vincent De Paul

We beg redemption for our Church: Philadelphia’s grand jury report reveals a history of abuse in the Church that is indefensible. Let the response of Church Leaders be not defensive. Show us, show our leaders how to atone for abuse, lies, and denial. Let remorse, reconciliation and repentance lead us to Your righteousness.

We pray for the victims of storm: Not yet recovered from the blow of Katrina, Hurricane Rita now threatens the lives of thousands. Lift up, we beg, those who are bowed down. Hold all who are helpless in your care. Write their names on our hearts and speed our hands in response to their need.

We plead for World Leaders that they may guide us with wisdom and strength, informed by Your love, humbled by Your glory, in whatever name they know you by.

Our hearts ache for Peace and for reconciliation among those who suffer from the devastation of war. Hold close those who protest in Washington and round the world in the coming days, may their actions be steadfast in Your Love, leading the way to deep and lasting Peace.

We delight in this House of Vincent, a garden prepared by countless daily acts of faith. The seeds we sow are many, may the harvest be abundant. May our storehouses be perpetually emptied as we seek to give to a hungry world all of the gifts we receive here.

We remember the sick and suffering, the dying and dead. Let all who are sick in body and spirit be touched by human hands, knowing your compassion and healing love. Comfort the hearts of those who grieve. Hold our dear departed brothers and sisters in the fullness of your loving presence.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The last promise of summer

We know too soon it will be farewell to all of this...

Indian Summer

These are the days when the birds come back,
A very few, a bird or two,
To take a backward look.

These are the days when skies put on
The old, old sophistries of June—
A blue and gold mistake.

O, fraud that cannot cheat the bee
Almost thy plausibility
Induces my belief.

Till ranks of seeds their witness bear,
And softly through the altered air
Hurries a timid leaf.

Oh, sacrament of summer days,
Oh, last communion in the haze,
Permit a child to join,

Thy sacred emblems to partake,
Thy consecrated bread to break,
Taste thine immortal wine!

Emily Dickinson, 1830-1886

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Ownership Society

Magean Gheal

Ownership of debt, that's what Americans own. Own a credit card? Own a student loan? A car loan? A home equity loan? A mortgage? Three mortgages? Chances are your worth is about equal to some of the folks who eat in our soup kitchen each week.

They don't own jack...but they don't own any debt either.

Wage slavery may be a choice or a condition. Liberation might come through renouncing material goods.

It worked fairly well in our great grand parents day. People had enough to get them through their working years. And when they got too old to work, they turned to their children. Life was short and some claim brutish, but I suspect there were moments of joy. Moments of inspiration when the clouds broke and the sun light poured forth with a radiance which transformed and illuminated the humdrum of everyday existence.

These days we claim peak experiences about once per week. Epiphanies are our constant friend. Holiday entertainment is ours every day. So how do we reach for new highs when the festival seasons role round?

Can't. So the result is, we chafe against our existence as a wage slave. Long to renounce it all, to head off to places where life is simpler, and our power is needed.

The world needs you exactly where you are. If you want a refreshing change from your life as a wage slave, try renouncing your many pleasures. Then renounce a few more. Give up steak and sushi and that South American striped bass. Start eating stewed turnips, barley and beets day upon day upon day. Turn off the radio, lay aside your IPOD, turn off the internet. Listen to the sound of your dog sleeping on the floor. Listen to the cricket that is still chirping in the early morning. Look at the face of the person beside you in the bed, feel their breath warm and innocent as they sleep. Feel the softness of the early autumn breeze stirring the curtain.

Life is right here, open, exposed, vulnerable. You can touch it tenderly, caress it, tremble at its undefended availability. Don't race away. Don't run through your day. Just breathe. Just be. Give thanks each time you breathe in, each time you breathe out.

It can be that simple. Demanding nothing.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Massage Meditation

Being away with my family for the week, I was utterly unaware of the magnitude Hurricane Katrina. The news from Biloxi, from the Delta, from New Orleans fills me with a deep sorrow and foreboding of this dreadful new America, deconstructed from what was once a strong and powerful nation.

Today on my vacation I went to do something I'd never done before-- a massage. I injured my shoulder a few weeks ago and it has gone from bad to worse, waking me at night, not even Ibuprofen seemed to ease the pain.

The massage therapist is a friend (is it just me or does everyone in America have at least 5 friends who are massage therapists???) She did a wonderful job and it seems possible that the pain in my neck and shoulder has eased slightly as a result of her efforts.

Going into the massage it had occurred to me that this was a time perfect for prayer. I was able to focus on a small circle of people I'm closely connected to, and then broaden my prayer to envision people in nearby towns, states, our nation, our continent, other continents and finally the world and the possibility of healing the pain that tears us all so hard apart. This all felt good and needed, and it felt like the best use of the time I had. But even so, as I was there so focused on the healing of my body, I was struck above all that the experience was tremendously self-indulgent and self-focused. That's not entirely bad, but it certainly puts a fine point on a tendency of life as a Middle American.

Perhaps its too great a generalization, but it strikes me that most of the people receiving massages in this country are those who are least in need of them, and the people who work so hard, using their physical strength everyday are seldom ever so indulged.

I envisioned the carpenters and plumbers and electricians, the landscapers and masons, the fire fighters and nurses and migrant farm workers all with their bodies stressed, stretched beyond what we are told is reasonable. I thought of the girls in Africa, waling miles, making several trips each day, carrying 10 gallon jugs of water on their heads, or working out in the fields in blazing sun. I thought of the crippled children crawling from train car to train car begging for a few rupees in India, of the mother with a starving child in Darfur or Niger...who will rub their feet or sooth their care worn shoulders? Of the grandmother mourning the loss of her son and grandson in Iraq...who will remove the tension from her neck? Unclench her fist?

I have no answer for any of this. I felt grateful to have had the time to think of these people, to see them in their beauty and their suffering, and to know the longing to wish to reach out to them, to help them heal from the wear and tear of everyday life. I am grateful for knowing that the reality of need and longing for wholeness extends far beyond the small privileged part of the world I inhabit.

And I think of the poor and exhausted people whose lives have been turned upside down by Hurricane Katrina. I pray that their suffering may be eased by the work of many hands, trating their pain, and that the work of those hands may be used for healing all our wounded lives.