Saturday, March 20, 2010

Something Beautiful is Emerging, Indeed


So, a few weeks ago I noticed shoots of green poking out of the ground in the yard of the little house full of noxious sewage fumes. A week ago I  trudged out of the front door to find a single yellow crocus had flowered. Today, there are three of them; the other two are purple, and now the bright, happy heads of a plethora of daffodils are ready to bloom. And so am I.

This has not by any means been my most devotional Lenten season ever, but I have to say, since I've been observing Lent, this is the one in which I've been the most transformed. I can't take any credit for it.  When the heart thing happened, I promptly sabotaged the seven hard-earned pounds of weight loss I'd achieved. But Mair is in bloom lovies, and I just don't care what the scale says right now. I'm losing the kind of weights that have kept me broke and bound for far too long, the kind on the inside.

Today, on this first day of Spring, I've been packing and carting boxes. We are moving into The Sunshine House, thanks to our dear friends Lisa and Will, and I'm certain a bright and promising future awaits us. It looks like Ken has found job in a tattoo shop right across the street from the Sunshine House. Right after Holy Week and Easter Lisa is opening Cuppa. This is a wondrous thing, y'all. And me, I'm slowly getting healthy, and am back to my abandoned lifestyle changes (most of them). And lovies, I'm starting a business, but I'll tell you more about that later after the move. First things first. I will say,  however, I haven't even had the courage to try a business venture, other than writing, for a long time. But it's Spring! My life is exploding with color and fragrance, mirroring what's happening outside after this long, snowy winter.

I'd better get some rest now. We have a long day tomorrow and for the next few days, but I will pop in now and again, even if I don't comment right away. Tell me friends, what is in bloom in your life? I'd love to hear. Talk among yourselves.

Much love, and I'll chat with you from The Sunshine House.

mair-francis

Friday, March 12, 2010

"Look at the mess."

Once I heard one of my most beloved priests, Fr. Benedict Groeschel, say that when he was a little boy, he used to have to think of something sad when he went to confession to dredge up some semblance of contrition. He often thought of the most heartbreaking scenes in the old movie, Lassie. I can picture the little priest-to-be working up his tears. It's an endearing story. Then he said, "Now I go to confession and I don't have to try to make myself cry. All I have to do is think about my life and say, "Look at the mess." For the record, he is a very devout man.

Look at the mess, indeed. I've had a conversation with a few of my lovies around here and we agreed that Lent brings out the best and worst in us. Here we find our most ardent zeal, and most stubborn apathy. We see the green shoots of virtue begin to sprout, and we weary ourselves just looking at the remaining fallow ground that refuses to yield to Spirit's pounding. Lord, have mercy.

Someone, God knows I can't remember who, said that conversion is a violent process. It certainly was for the Apostle Paul. Right now it is for me, too, and I find myself in a soul upheaval that is breaking up a lot of hard ground. God longs for my inner Springtime, but I am aching from the battering of my hard heart. But no growth takes place without God pulling up noxious weeds, and softening our soil. All I can do is hang on to the master gardeners busy hands as he toils with the hope that something beautiful will emerge from all of this. SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL WILL EMERGE!

But for now, the dirt and weeds are flinging everywhere, and I'm appalled at the work that still has to be done. "Look at the mess," I'm saying, but he keeps working. That's what's so amazing. God doesn't shy away from the work it takes to form us. The Omnipresent, Omniscient, timeless God of grace is not only laboring to make the garden of our souls beautiful, he's enjoying the fragrant, colorful wonder that we will be, that's already so apparent to him, but hidden from our dark and mortal eyes.

And hey, he takes a break on the Sabbath. Thank God! Like seriously. All that digging he's doing really freakin' hurts.

How is this season of emerging Spring for you, dear ones?

mair-francis

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Be That Well

What a week it's been! The Sunday before last I passed out at dinner and there I was in the emergency room and then a bed at UK hospital. After that my computer died--yes, the one I sent to be serviced two weeks ago. But I'm out of the hospital and rested. I'm not one hundred percent but I'm here. My computer is back, and it seems to be working just fine.

This week I've spent a lot of time grieving my life, and the choices I've made. I realized, with God's help the support of friends, that I've spent much of my adult life living as if I'm still the high school drop out and battered woman I used to be.

Okay, let me say this: I really was a high school drop out, but why have I made that BIGGER than being a freakin' college graduate? I haven't written the best novels EVER, but I have received recognition, and even gained some fans. One of my books was nominated for some pretty darned good awards. So why have I sat on proposal ideas, afraid that I'm not a good writer and wondering if my writing life is OVER?

I'm back with the same old issues: a landlord demanding payment I don't have and a pending eviction; checks that are delayed for no fault of my own; fear driving all my decisions. I'm wearing a heart monitor right now. Lord, have mercy. Last night I asked myself what is breaking my heart. The answer? I am.

So after a tearful, "God why haven't you provided?" moment, my dear lovie Lisa showed me the ways in which he had, indeed, provided. We're low on funds not just because I didn't get my check on time, but also because we've been a financial prodigals, spending the little we have too lavishly, and believing ourselves, especially me, to be unworthy to be called a daughter. But my good Father has received me with great love, just as he the prodigal son's father did. He ran to meet me.

Today, my life starts over. I don't care if there's an again after that.

I called the counseling center today. I'm going to get help with every little thing standing in the way of being of my being the most authentic, best me I can be, and that includes financially. I'm going to set a time for daily (with a sabbath) work. Daily! I'm listing all the ways that I can make money with the many gifts God has given me. Today's message from God to me has been, "I've given you all that you need. Go!"

Lisa reminded me that Francis DeSales said, "Be who you are, and be that well." She added, "You're fantastic. Use the gifts God gave you." I have barely been myself, much less be me well. It's time to forge the identity that I've missed caught up in both legitimate and unnecessary suffering.

Being in Overeaters Anonymous, I've prayed the serenity prayer: "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change." This I'm good at. "The courage to change the things I can?" Not so much. Sure life is scary, but I still have to live it. "The wisdom to know the difference isn't my strong suit either, but the Bible says if we ask for wisdom, God will give it. I'm counting on that.

Anybody with me?

mair-francis

St. Francis DeSales image by John Murphy
http://www.cafepress.com/idyllspress/

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

So sorry...

I have my iMac back, but it came on the day I was released from the hospital. I have no idea why I'm feeling so badly. It may be related to my heart, and I'm wearing a monitor for the next 30 days, but I can't tell you how listless and terrible I'm feeling. I'm asking for your prayers and patience. I'll be back as soon as I'm better. Hold on to Jesus.

Much love,
Mair