A Bunch of Rubbish


I find November to be a transitional month—not quite past autumn and not yet winter. Skies are often filled with heavy dark-gray clouds that suddenly open into glorious sunlight, illuminating yellow leaves. The business of outdoor activities is ending, and the bustle of holiday celebrations is waiting to begin. This is the month when nature goes dormant. And we become wrapped in restfulness, drawing-down at home in heavy sweaters, flannel pants, and warm slippers. With hands encircling steaming cups we slow our pace and reflect.

This is when the true purpose of dormancy develops in our lives, when roots expand and the overt activities of life decrease. We become more grounded.

By definition, dormancy is a state of rest. Like hibernation, it is a time of minimal activity. Many organisms require this cycle of rest. Without it the future holds reduced productivity and impaired vitality—plants don’t flower, animals become obese, and people distraught.

For those of us who manage living with Seasonal Affective Disorder, dormancy is not always beneficial—too much stillness and my mood goes dark. I find it best both physically and mentally to remain as active as possible before the confining nature of winter sets in.

It had been cloudy and rainy for days. The afternoon cloud-breaks of sunlight were a welcomed sight. I saw from my upstairs windows that it was a breezy day. Remnant leaves were being stripped from dormant branches. Flocks of small birds were flying en masse with the wind, and their sudden turns reminded me of schools of fish.

I felt gloomy and angry, and hoped that going for a walk would improve my mood. I tied on boots, secured the hand-knitted ruana—a large shawl-like poncho—with a brooch, and headed out the door with the dog, she in a sweater as well.

There are few things happier than a dog on a windy day. My Lilly was no exception. Her tail wagged as she pranced, head up, sniffing the air. She wanted to stop at every sign and pole to mark her passing—but I was on a march and she needed to keep pace. My mission was to outmaneuver the dark thoughts that swirled.

Leaves and litter blew about, trees and shrubs swayed. As we passed an overgrown woodlot, a naked shrub at the edge had gathered debris…including a plastic bag snagged low in the branches. Caught and twisted the plastic crackled and jerked with each windy gust. Entangled by the previous storms it could not break away.

I really hate litter. It makes a place look worse than it is. With deliberate steps, maneuvering over tall grass and hidden limbs, I approached the shrub and snatched the plastic bag free. Continuing the walk, the bag was used to hold the litter collected as it blew into my way. The dog took advantage; each time I stopped and stooped, she piddled her message of passing.

It had been about an hour by the time Lilly and I returned home. Going through the back gate, I threw the bag of litter in the garbage can. My mood had improved, those bits and pieces of dark thoughts had also been gathered and trashed.

Image Pixabay.com, CCO, Creative Commons.


To Console, Tuesday’s Prayer for Sisters and Nuns


Mother Mary,

Our holy women are flesh as we are flesh, heart and souls with emotions and doubts. When faced with hardships guide them to turn to your Son and recognize the adversity and pain in his holy perseverance.

When they doubt the strength to endure the sadness that weakens the knees and clouds the mind, wrap them in your arms that knew the helplessness of another’s sorrows.

Hear our prayers, Blessed Mother, that we may know how to console them in their needs as they have consoled us in Jesus name. Bless our Sisters and Nuns in their times of struggle.


Image Pixabay.com, CCO, Creative Commons


The Face of a Miracle


I’ve not accomplished much writing. On Monday evening a call came in; my dear friend’s husband (I’ll call him Jim) had a massive stroke. Jim had been on the floor for over an hour when my friend arrived home and found him.

As a supplicant, my post through the night was in the oratory at vigil prayer. Tuesday morning I sent out word to other prayer-warriors, asking for God’s will for Jim to rebound to God’s own glory.

Wednesday I looked into the face of a miracle.

Jim who is in his late 70s experienced 75% of the right hemisphere of his brain to be without blood for 4+ hours. He, with his wife, were run through two hospitals until at a specialized hospital the surgical team removed the clot.

The question was not if there would be impairment but the extent of it.

A stroke of THAT magnitude results – if the person survives it – in severe disabilities. In the wee hours of Tuesday morning my friend was being prepared by the staff for the inevitable challenges her husband would face, since it appeared he would live.

24 hours after surgery, Jim was eating a sandwich. Think about that for a minute. To eat a sandwich he had to be able to sit up, have motor control, ability to chew, and able to swallow.

I was dumbfounded when I walked into Jim’s hospital room, and covered with goose-bumps. I was standing in the presence of a miracle. He too was keenly aware of what he had been granted.

Jim said other than being “just a little tired” he was doing great. And he was indeed. He was walking the halls, combing his silver hair, opening all those doggone plastic lunch containers with ease so he could eat, and shocked the doctors by remembering what they had talked about the night before.

Folks, it had only been 48 hrs. and Jim is only “a little tired”?! No paralysis, speech impediment, drooping face, slurred speech, or seemingly any mental/memory issues.

God’s glory, right there in Rm. 44 bed A. I am eager to see what lies ahead. Seems God has plans for Jim.

Image Pixabay.com, CCO, Creative Commons.


Formation, Thursday’s Prayer for Priests


Lord Jesus, you have chosen your priests from among us and sent them out to proclaim your word and to act in your name. For so great a gift to your Church, we give you praise and thanksgiving.

We ask you to fill them with the fire of your love, that their ministry may reveal your presence in the Church. Since they are earthen vessels, we pray that your power shine out through their weakness. In their afflictions let them never be crushed; in their doubts never despair; in temptation never be destroyed; in persecution never abandoned.

Inspire them through prayer to live each day the mystery of your dying and rising. In times of weakness send them your Spirit, and help them to praise your heavenly Father and pray for poor sinners. By the same Holy Spirit put your word on their lips and your love in their hearts, to bring good news to the poor and healing to the broken-hearted.

And may the gift of Mary your mother, to the disciple whom you loved, be your gift to every priest. Grant that she who formed you in her human image, may form them in your Divine Image, by the power of your Spirit, to the glory of God the Father. Amen

~Archdiocese of Boston web site.

Hidden, Buried, and Rummaging to be Fed


The large fox squirrel is gathering and burying a cache of nuts. Making short raspy barks, his tail twitches furiously. He sprints up and down, and then circles the black walnut tree’s trunk wanting to make sure I know how annoyed he is that I am in his territory. I mimic back his bark and laugh as he looks at me and then really begins to use some bad squirrel grammar.

Black walnut trees are a great food supply for squirrels and numerous in this region of Michigan. The rough green husk covering the shell makes the nut a sizable two inch ball, which can cause significant dents to a car shooting down a farm lane at fifty. The husk is removed by the bushy tailed marauders, and if they don’t eat the nut right then, it is buried–and if not dug up during the winter, becomes a tree.

I see farther off there are several squirrel cousins also harvesting this grove. Even though there is plenty, all are annoyed with each other at having to share their food source. My presence as I walk along the path makes them madder, and with sudden bursts they dash around chasing each other, chattering. The winner, at least for that moment, shoots a dominant glare at the other and returns to gathering. The chastised one works the far side of the tree out of sight…until the argument erupts again.

Winter is coming and these diligent creatures are preparing for the season of lack, and the challenges of remaining fed.  Instinctively they know the time is coming when their world will turn to ice and snow. It is then that they will rummage below the snow, seeking the food that is hidden beneath.

We too face times of hardship, though we lack the instincts to know when they will come. We think we have readied ourselves, tried to prepare sufficiently for those times when our world turns cold and hard. Sometimes we succeed, often, we do not.

It is then that we must intentionally seek sustenance. We start to rummage for God, looking for something we know must be there somewhere, hidden, buried and possibly left behind.

In times of hardship, we seek The Food that will nourish. The thing is we must always seek to be fed; we cannot be nourished by the Eucharist if we do not seek Jesus in it. And this being fed is not a feast of gorging all at once, but in incremental morsels.

I often rummage about looking for God, for Our Lord hidden in the visible world. I also look for Him buried beneath my anxiety, concealed by my insecurities, and am often surprised by some one else unearthing of the love I have hidden even from myself.

Image from Pixabay.com, CCO, Creative Commons.