We're getting a long, leisurely autumn with blustery winds and mild temperatures. No hard freeze, yet, and changes are coming slowly. In some parts of town we still have full color. At the same time, it feels as though we're racing toward the holidays, and winter.
On my walk this evening, I encountered the group of middle schoolers who congregate in the park at dusk. The boys, too "cool" to wear jackets, hands crammed in jeans pockets, leaned on their bikes and talked to beautiful clear-skinned young girls with braces and smart phones. They crowded together on the sidewalk, and I walked through them, said hi (a couple of them spoke) and continued my loop around the placid lake. To the west, the calm sky blazed red. Just what I needed at the end of a full week.
I thought of Emily, the student who left such an impression on me during an interview for Confirmation on Wednesday evening. When I asked her to describe her relationship to God, she didn't even have to think about it.
"I thank God when I wake up every morning. I'm so happy he made me the way I am. He made me an athlete."
She plays volleyball, basketball, and softball.
"Have you seen the movie, Chariots of Fire?" I asked.
She hadn't, so I told her about Eric Liddell and his athletic gift. In the movie, he is quoted as saying, "God made me fast." and "When I run, I feel God's pleasure."
That seemed to resonate with her. It's always a gift when you are conscious that God is present in your life, and you are allowed to be in touch with your purpose for being. It's always a gift, too, when you can love yourself enough to be grateful that you are you, which, to me, seems remarkable for a young person.
I Shot the Sheriff
He fired back once, and we quickly reached an impasse. It's certainly not lost on me who the "sheriff" is in this scenario. While attempting to put another person in his place, I managed to shoot myself in the foot.
Here's the deal.
Impulsivity may not even be a real word, which is humiliating enough in itself.
But what I'm really weary of is my own tendency to be impulsive, negative and critical, and to speak down to the nearest person whenever I'm unhappy with something. And, in the middle of my reaction, even as I was firing off a response, I was conscious that I would end up having to apologize.
Since this occurred pre-election and pre-new bifocals, there was no excuse for it, other than being just plain mad.
For several days, I couldn't think of one reason to be sorry for what I said. It took more than a week for my heart to begin to soften. I wasn't sure it would even happen.
But it has, and I did apologize, and it doesn't seem to have been well received. All I can do, I think, is hang up my badge and think about other stuff.
(. . .But I didn't shoot no Deputy. . .)
And there's plenty of other stuff to think about. . .
Some of the parents of kids in our Faith Formation program are responding to opportunities I'm throwing out for connection, discipleship, and greater involvement in the parish. Finding them has been the trick, and I feel that some avenues are being created. One idea is for getting moms of young children together for a video/discussion/study, and another is for an online (non-gathered) gathering for women to chat with each other about a slew of topics that concern them Two other women have agreed to moderate that with me. Reading Sherry Weddell's Forming Intentional Disciples is generating a lot of energy for me in understanding how people view church these days. And I'm going to a workshop in La Cross next week on Lifelong Faith Formation.
Our A.W.E. group met this morning. I've said it before. What amazing women. We're still reading and talking about Cynthia Bourgeault's The Meaning of Mary Magdalene. We discussed at length what it means to bear one another's burdens, and how just knowing someone is conscious of our burden somehow can ease the weight of it.
Bourgeault, being the deep thinker and deep writer that she is, can be difficult to follow. It helps so much to be able to process her teaching in a group of like-minded women. But this part, we readily understood:
"It is love standing there at the foot of the cross, love following the small entourage that takes his body from the cross and places it in the tomb; love holding vigil when everyone else has gone home."
The James Taylor concert was, well, in a word, sweet.The entire thing. Jack and I enjoyed a great dinner beforehand, with easy-in, easy-out downtown experience, lovely weather outdoors, and a good view in a pretty comfortable spot with an appreciative crowd indoors. Excellent music, lots of talent, good stories. It had been quite a while since we'd done anything like that.
For what? I have to wonder. For what, exactly, did we and do other families go through this over pot? (incarceration, separation, isolation, alienation) That part, at least, is behind him, for which I am most grateful.