Monday, February 28, 2011

Prayer #154: Eyes Up Here

Yesterday, I was reminded that reminders come in threes.

First came what may be the most (and only) hopeful line in the conclusion of the bleak Hunger Games trilogy:
What I need is the dandelion in the spring. The bright yellow that means rebirth instead of destruction. The promise that life can go on, now matter how bad our losses. That it can be good again.

Then came my Sunday morning walk to Mass where I saw this written on a sign outside a neighborhood Lutheran church:
God seem far away?
Who moved?

And lastly came the gospel reading, which I heard loud and clear even though I was stuck in the cry room (crying, incidentally):
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat (or drink), or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?

Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they?

Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?

The combined effect -- and the reminder it brought -- led to this prayer.

Prayer #154: Eyes Up Here

Worriers, I've noticed -- mainly because I am one -- spend a great deal of time looking down at their feet. The better to figure out where they are heading. The better to stay on a straight line. The better to avoid a fall.

But worriers, I've also noticed -- mainly because I am one -- waste a great deal of time looking only at their feet.

Lord, lift my chin. When the anxiety of who and where and why and what's-it-all-about clouds my vision, cause a blinking fit to clear the fog.

I don't want to dilute Your mystery; I simply want to live it. Eyes facing up will help.

Amen.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Prayer #153: Innernet

Watch out now, my Catholic is about to show ...

By now I'm sure you've heard of Confession: A Roman Catholic App, available on iTunes to help all penitents examine their consciences before receiving the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation.

The app announcement -- which, by the way, is "thought to be the first iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad app to receive an imprimatur from the church" -- came hot on the heels of Pope Benedict's social media blessing, in which he lauds online interaction but asks us not to forget the real world.

All of which made me wonder ... should I be examining my online conscience?

Prayer #153: Innernet

An Examination of Conscience for the Wired Soul

Have I presented false personas to gratify others?

Have I given myself titles, talents, and trophies I haven't yet earned?

Have I stolen ideas and distributed them as my own?

Have I cheated others of their right to speak candidly?

Have I been jealous of others' success and sought to diminish it?

Have I used emerging tools to enrich my interior life, or debase it?

Have I taken every available opportunity to spread good across the airwaves?

Have I defended my most deeply held beliefs in public, or disguised them?

Have I been afraid to be authentic -- to be whom You created me to be?

Have I hidden Your role in my life?

Whatever my answers, please love me online and off, and show me how an honest confession can result in an honest profession.

Amen.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Prayer #152: This One Goes Out To The Ones I Love

Taken in Florence, May 2010.

In honor of Valentine's Day, I'd like to present Italian Mother Syndrome's Catalog of Love, designed for every emotional need and whim.
  • Can't find the words to express what's in your heart? Maybe Labor of Love can unlock the eloquence.
  • If you're falling into a nauseating vortex of romantic love, I suggest you Giddy Up/Down to this post.
  • Wondering how love is patient, love is kind ... yet you're not? Join the club and read Love Bugs.

Prayer #152: This One Goes Out To The Ones I Love


I pray for babies who grasp at mobiles, blow raspberries, and sing themselves to sleep.

I pray for kids who imagine pirate ships in their backyards and set sail before dinner.

I pray for adults hell-bent on changing the world, because to believe it is to do it.

I pray for friends who, through stellar example, challenge you to become your best version.

I pray for couples who grasp what they've signed up for and proceed with enthusiasm.

I pray for parents, pending or practiced, as they pop buttons and Tylenol in equal measure.

I pray for seniors who graciously impart what they know to make room for new lessons.

I pray for souls who have left our sides but not our memories.

I pray for them because I know them all. I pray for them because I love them all. I pray for them because You love them all.

May they know it and be glad.

Amen.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Prayer #151: Go-Getter

Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it. - George Bernard Shaw

Prayer #151: Go-Getter

Lord, give us proactive spirits. Show us how to grip our lives with two hands, so we may hug them when they need hugging, and shake them when they need shaking.

Our actions could be straightforward -- jot down the words for a bedtime story.

Or personal -- broach a subject that keeps you awake at night.

Or physical -- stare down cancer and crack your knuckles.

Or global -- start a revolution.

Propel us forward on the paths that let us best serve Your glory. Remind us that our limits are imagined, for in Your eyes, scale loses meaning, and meaning scales.

But above all, help us remember that whatever we act on -- tiny and tremendous -- the world is not the same once the moment passes. And we are not the same for enacting it.

Amen.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Year 3: DC! (And no, I still haven't hung my pictures)

Junior year is over. Again.

It's true. I'm at the end of three years -- THREE YEARS! -- in Washington D.C. today and wondering a) where the hell the time went, and b) why it's not eight years given all that's happened.

I don't know about you, but junior year in both high school and college were roller coaster years for me. I had a lot of laughs and a lot of heartache, new adventures and new fears, personal triumphs and personal losses. 2010 -- my third year in DC -- was no different.

Let's take a look, shall we?

* Changed jobs ... again! This time on my terms and at my pace. Proved I still have what it takes. Also proved that I'm tired of job hunting and would like to stay put for awhile.

* Grew with Fella! We're going the (long-)distance and keeping up lurve across the miles. I can't say it's easy, but I can say it's worth it.

* Loved my peeps! And in some cases, lost them too. 2010 brought weddings, funerals, pregnancies, grad school, international moves, and a whole heap of transition. Much of it is wonderful. Some of it is sad. In either case, I took each shift straight in the heart.

* Wrote! My picture book manuscripts are well under way and I hit Prayer #150 just this past week. (Read the whole prayer series to date here.) At this rate, I'll be published in 2052. If I'm lucky. But who cares?? I'm having a ball and loving that I'm a writer who's actually writing. Finally.

* Hung my pictures! LIES. I haven't. I framed a couple and stacked them against my wall. The rest are waiting for love and attention. They will probably not receive it any time soon.

When such liminal years end (or rather, evolve into the next phase), they always leave me tired and a bit worn-out. I question if I have the energy to live fully in the next year. I wonder if I should take a break, pull back, maybe take up drinking crocheting.

And maybe I should. A little less travel, a little more reading, etc. Still, there would be no less loving. No less caring about the wonderful people who move through my life in a meaningful, inspiring way. No less focus on discovering who I'm meant to be and what I'm contributing to this busy rock.

Otherwise, it would be a pretty boring senior year.

But ... on the upside, I'd finally have the time to hang my pictures.

Hmm.

Nah.

I'll stick with living.