samedi, mai 31, 2008

Stormy Weather

Driving home from the salon today, I heard the weather forecast. Our whole local area has a tornado watch. As the rain began slipping down the windshield, I looked nervously at the tall branches of the trees by the fields. They were swaying, but very gently.

We've been darned fortunate in the Northeast to date. Yes, we've had some flooding-one of my friend's mothers lost her house where the dunes had been swept away (in part by bad planning by local authorities). Yes, we've had some downed trees. But we have experienced nothing in contrast to people in the south and the far west.

I sometimes wonder what would happen, God forbid, if a weather disaster- say a tornado-hit the White House or Capitol Hill. Would it change George Bush's indolent contempt for those who advocate mandating new rules to combat climate change?

Read the article by Charles Blow linked above, and ask yourself what price complacency.

jeudi, mai 29, 2008

What is YOUR calling?

The courage to heed your calling
Till the fertile paradoxes of embracing life's larger purposes.
By Elizabeth
> Recently, my daughter told me that one of the nuns who student-taught at her school was being assigned to live out the mission of her order in another locale.
> As I tried to explain to my 13-year-old, her teacher's move is part of the discipline of a community-based life vowed to holiness, self-sacrifice and service.
> The notion of a calling that transcends personal ambition or financial gain is foreign to our contemporary American landscape, where the concept of workplace stability is becoming archaic, employee loyalty a quaint anachronism and the notion of a "common good" the province of cloistered academicians.
> Yet around us we see the psychological and spiritual cost of a society that chases the chimera of increased productivity, ranking it above individual worth and self-respect.
> Layoffs, reassignments, and the exodus of talent from industries in transition exact a toll that isn't confined to the victims.
> It is time to rediscover the ancient, sacred notion of vocation.
> As a newly minted Christian convert in my teens, and then as an idealistic young Episcopal priest, I thought that professing a vocation, a particular call made by God to serve in the world, was a choice made once in a lifetime.
> Then I began to observe older clergy grappling with disillusionment or complacency as what had once seemed new and inspiring had became routine and dutiful. Their struggles served as a warning - and as a lesson.
> Whether we wear a clerical collar, a nurse's uniform, or an imported silk tie to work, we should always be asking ourselves not only how our work fulfills us, but also whether it is truly making a difference in the lives of those we profess to serve.
> Not a comfortable notion, is it?
> Nor should it be.
> Even a brief encounter with the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures tells us that acquiring a purpose is no walk on the beach.
> Rather reluctantly answering God's call to lead the Hebrew people out of Egypt into freedom, Moses endured 40 years of squabbling and complaining, and died before seeing the Promised Land.
> It is no wonder that the Hebrew prophets weren't always joyful about afflicting the comfortable and comforting the afflicted; such activities were not only frequently unpleasant, but also dangerous.
> With a "yes" to the Angel Gabriel, Mary accepted a call to bear the incarnate Christ and to watch the son she loved condemned and executed as a common criminal.
> Exploring one's vocation - a purpose broader, deeper and higher than a particular job or set of circumstances - does not guarantee stability or a comfortable life.
> I have been challenged, and moved, as I watched an old friend on a vocational pilgrimage consciously step well outside her comfort zone. A Catholic with an inclination towards social-justice ministry, my friend, Jackie, kept questioning herself and her calling.
> A few years ago, Jackie lost her husband. The months of grieving that followed were also an occasion for deep reflection. Last summer, she left her home in Vermont, and moved to Detroit for a year to volunteer with Mercy Corps.
> Adjusting to community life was occasionally painful, and sometimes frustrating. But over the last nine months, Jackie's e-mails have expressed growing confidence about her abilities and the joy of being "part of the local color, part of the community."
> Contemplating the future a few months ago, she asked for prayers that she would be where she ought to be, when she needs to be there.
> "I trust that if I keep God before me . . . I will no longer be afraid of my life wherever I live it," she wrote me recently.
> Fulfillment in willing service.
> Freedom in embracing discipline.
> Security in the midst of change.
> These are the fertile paradoxes of embracing a purpose larger than our own well-being.
> Think what we could do to heal ourselves, and our society, if we embrace our callings and use our unique talents to renew ourselves and help heal the world.
> Ponder what will happen to us, and to our culture, if we don't.
> It's a slam dunk. Isn't it?

Elizabeth lives and writes in Glenmoore.

Find this article at:;!category=pa;&randomOrd=052908082555

dimanche, mai 25, 2008

I love your imperfections
I love your everything
Your broken heart, your broken wings
I love you when you hold me
And when you turn away
I love you still and I'm not afraid
Cause I know you feel the same way
And you'll stay Cause when we're torn apart
Shattered and scarred
Love has the grace to save us
We're just two tarnished hearts
When in each other's arms
We become saints and angels. Sarah Evans, Saints and Angels

I went hiking with a female friend yesterday in the wood behind my house. As we followed the old railroad bed and pulled aside branches, we talked a lot about our township and a developers' plans to build a spa and "English style village." After speculating for a while about people's motives and interests, and delving into children and their behavior, the conversation turned, as it occasionally does, to why long married men seem to be so clueless about a few basic things having to do with family life.

Then it was time to turn to our other peculiar puzzle, my "love" life. What I want, I told her, is a man who knows he's broken, and needs a companion. Because I sure as heck am. Broken. Not in need of more than one savior-but of a guy who is willing to show me his scars...and then laugh a little, and throw his arms around me, and keep moving forward...together.

Until then, I guess I stay this just side of reserved-guarding not my body so much as my heart.