Corporal Works

As Catholic school children, we memorized the Corporal Works of Mercy.  As an adult I find that St. Francis managed to get it right in his prayer…the hatred…love, injury…pardon, sadness…joy kind of prayer.

The current issue of National Catholic Reporter has several articles considering the works of mercy, primarily a backdoor sort of article about the Phoenix bishop’s threat to end Catholic status for a local hospital.

Phyllis Zagano (current issue of NCR)  writes about the purse strings controlling contributions to the church.  This newspaper has several references to the anger and unrest generated by the Church mandated visits to convents in the United States.  Could the Vatican be considering a mitigation of the why of the visits because the smaller contributions are reflecting that anger and unrest?

The reader of NCR often sees priests, bishops, cardinals and the Pope dressed in splendid robes, surrounded by gold in many forms.  Elaborate ceremonies feature the male clergy in pomp and circumstance.

And the women of the church?  What ceremonies?  What gold?  What splendid robes clothe these women living the Corporal Works of Mercy, the heartbeat of the Jesus philosophy.

No doubt there are males, priests and dedicated lay persons doing the down-and-dirty work of caring, but women do most of this work of the church–women not good enough to be ordained.

No priest has ever phoned and asked for pots, pans, dishes as Sister Bridget did.  Families in need prompted her drive to my home to gather what I could provide.

Sister Carol Ann and Sister Barbara are manning (odd word, right?) the trenches every single day, giving, supporting, counseling, providing.

Historically, the women of the church carried hospital bed-pans, changed linen, ministered to sores and sickness.  Women of the church wiped our noses, enlightened our minds and held our hands as we made our way.

When will authority and equity come together in the Catholic Church?  When will the lay persons, the heart and soul of any church, refuse to perpetuate the male dominated culture?

Sadly, those purse strings just might be the only way to open the way.



Nice sound.  Unusual even in our culture of made-up names and family twists with last for first.


My daughter-in-law, step mother to first grandchildren, is a small human with an amazing capacity for instinct and intuition.  She gets that concept of ‘mindfulness’ and she follows through standing so much taller than her physical stature.

During those times when we all struggle for words, Kaiya speaks with silence and strength.  That famous extra-mile gives way to her constant determination to do what is helpful.

Kaiya.   A tribute word.

A Joyous Blessing

You, Gentle Reader…you are the joyous blessing of the Eve of the Celebration.

You visit the blog, read, comment and refresh my flagging spirit, especially during this past two months when the blog has been so hit and miss with many blank days.

Odd, isn’t it.  I don’t see you, don’t even know each of you personally but you have become a support system simply by being there.  Those of you who are friends have offered what I consider amazing strength and support.  You have given more than I can ever repay and the true blessing is that you would never expect repayment.

Thank you for staying near and checking even when the page was blank.  A new normal will come soon enough and my soap boxes will again stack high.

Just so you know that I have not given way on those soap boxes, a quick story about an interview with Lee Judge, the political cartoonist featured in the Kansas City Star.  During a recent interview on NPR’s local Central Standard, Judge was asked for an example of a cartoon that was not accepted for publication.  He gave the following.

Picture this:   Five men standing to one side of the drawing, each labeled as “Pedophile’.  On the opposite of the panel a lone woman stood, no label, just a woman standing alone.  The caption read:

“Guess which one of these people cannot be a Catholic priest.”   Long live the soap boxes.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

The United States Military is the most powerful in the world, operated and led by people of experience, intelligence and savvy.  Many, maybe the largest percentage, never see front line combat assignments in modern warfare.  Retirement steadily removes the oldest members of the highest officers ranks, moving younger people up the career ladder.

Prejudices of my generation, and  generations who came before, diminish as younger people see with different understanding.   Clearly, there are military people who, with their understanding and conscience, continue to distrust the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Perhaps those well-meaning men and women should trust the power of their organization to handle the death of the DADT dinosaur.  Time and honesty will show that good and dedicated men and women have served with courage and respect while being caged in that dark ‘closet’.

The editorial page of the daily paper could consider moving Doonesbury from the comic section giving the military strips full editorial presence when Trudeau writes about DADT.

Admittedly, many church groups supported DADT and  cannot let go of their stand on Gay and Lesbian people, the stand that uses God as condemnation, focusing on a few lines in The Book rather than focusing on the Jesus nature of love.  Weren’t we taught that The Jesus of The New Testament overshadowed the ‘smite’ part of the Old Testament?

Not being a Biblical scholar, I cannot quote passages  to back up a God that is all about acceptance, forgiveness, love, creation mirroring God’s image.    Admittedly, I have problems understanding churches that condemn the private nature of homosexual couples while protecting pedophiles and abusers with cover-ups, money, promotions and denial.  Whited sepulcher comes to mind— and a subject for another day.


With Respect

It is with respect that I write.  This will be difficult, a confession of sorts, a convoluted confession for certain.

Friday is a joy filled day.  In profile, Sam is his dad, my son.  Full face, Sam is his mom, my daughter-in-law.  In his Sam-ness he is the absolute best of both parents.  Friday is a great day and like, all great things, it ends.

When Paul and Sam left today, so did my resolve of spirit.  I give in and sometimes I give up, helpless before the grief, the loneliness, the void of this house emptied of what was home.

Ronald Rolheiser is president of the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, Texas.  In his article,  Dealing With Loss, Grief, and Obsessions, Rolheiser wrote, “…and no religious word of comfort can do much for us”.

This is where I need to write with all due respect to those who tell me that prayer will heal, that God never requires more than a person can manage, that God has a plan that includes this ridiculous debilitating pain.   There are those that tell me that it is my arrogance that causes me to question The Plan.


I am not praying.

I can’t.

I am holing on, smiling at strangers, attempting focused conversations with family, remembering to eat, cleaning with dervish energy, consciously aware of how much I love my family and value my friends, honoring commitments, consciously, one moment after another.

This is all deliberate, my one-foot-in-front-of-the-other effort to reach deeply enough to find something good and noble in grief.  Goodness and nobility in grief?  Not going happen, but there is goodness and nobility in  family and friends, because of their outreach, their attempts to force time to compact, to tunnel through the process.

Perhaps their prayers on my behalf are part of that goodness and nobility, but for now, I cannot join them.  I don’t have the patience to believe nor the trust in acceptance that is to come on some distant tomorrow.


Tump The Bockity

Some years ago a new teacher came into the room where I learned from kids.  Her arms clutched a box filled with what would change this classroom into her space, her place to learn from the kids.   I answered her silent query by saying, “Tump it anywhere.  This is your room now.”

“Tump it? Did you say tump it?  Oh my gosh.”  With that, Nancy gave me a bear hug saying that anyone who knew tump had to be a kindred spirit.  This classroom opened primed and ready for her by that single word…a bastardized union of dump and turn over…tump.

Pat C. is the brains behind the Journaling Group held at Keeler Women Center.  I sit second chair to listen, learn and add my perspectives.   My life has been  a bit preoccupied with making peace, with deep breathing, with the  acceptance that has no alternative.   Class day had some morning complications.  Our plan to evaluate prior to class  was not going to happen.

I emailed that my life had taken a bockity turn and I needed to handle that bockity stuff.

“Define, please.”

Right.  Think back to post depression childhood, happily pulling a second-hand wagon with a bent axle or a flat wheel, a cherished wagon that was a bit off the game.  The ride was bockity, off kilter, off-center, off straight and narrow, but still a great ride.

Last Sam day, my cherished Friday companion was a huge part of the continuing miracle of my new normal.  DeDe gave us the gift of friendship via the gift of a membership at Union Station.  She gave us the gift of freedom from making choices about what we could afford each Friday–the gift of completely cherishing the day from 10:00 AM until the cookies from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Company signal curfew.  Sam reminds me that we have to tell DeDe that he repreciates her.

Of course, I know that tump, bockity and repreciate are not Webster words, but rather people words–words that evolved because language evolves, because sometimes we have to find a more perfect way to make the room our own.

Dave Ramsey continues to say what I believe when asked “How are you?’

“Better than I deserve.”  The tee-shirt is right.  Life Is Good.




Hiding From Murphy

“Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.”    Murphy’s Law

Murphy has a stake in perpetuating his fame by insuring that the glitches outweigh the smooth spots.  Surely, though, the law can take a hiatus now and again.  Outwitting that unrelenting LAW is my new full-time job and I need a break.

If you are a regular visitor you remember that I admitted to being spoiled by Bob’s talents for outdistancing the ‘wrongs’ of every day living.  He repaired, restored, recycled and rehashed…and most often handled it with used parts, ingenuity, as few dollars as possible.    Being spoiled was great.  I loved it, never questioning the truth that spoiled had some unpleasant synonyms.

Payback time or simply Murphy taking long overdue revenge?  Either way, that annoying Piper is pushing my can do to the back side of I don’t want to. Murphy is proving the point.

Each day something breaks my rhythm, stops the cleaning and sorting while I learn a new repair skill.  Fine.  Never to old to learn—- but for the record— maybe too old to want to learn so much so quickly.

At 10:00 PM last evening, I phoned Chris with my latest lament.  Chris works 4:00 to midnight,  takes my calls with easy acceptance and often walks me through to a solution.

The furnace wasn’t responding to the thermostat, the programmable thermostat that seems to have misplaced the script.  With calm to match my frustration, Chris talked me though finding and changing the battery.  He attitude reminded me that this is not a crisis, it is a simple and  solvable gauntlet thrown by Murphy yet easily defeated by putting Murphy in his place, make it right.

The battery was not the problem.

The weather people are predicting unseasonable and unreasonable cold starting midafternoon today.  Talk about Murphy-Perfect timing!  Chris makes the 2 hour drive every Wednesday, handles my to-do list thereby giving up his day off to help me pretend that I can do this.

With visions of potential burst pipes, chattering teeth and a very spoiled disposition, I know this one won’t wait for Wednesday.

Fine.   Bob has the paper work, all the literature, from everything he ever bought  as far back as the 1960’s…except, of course, the paper for this Jameson thermostat.  Not here.    Wait…the disappearance of that single instruction sheet IS a Murphyism, right?

So I wait for the sunrise and a reasonable hour to find a repair person willing to work on Saturday.  This has been a very long and zero sleep night, a tribute to my lack of faith that OFF means what it says— that the furnace won’t secretly by-pass the thermostat and run to red-hot proving that Murphy runs a really big operation.  Hurry Sunrise.