Archive for April, 2010


There are so many opportunities each day to just…stop…and take notice.  Last evening when the soup was on the stove and the table was set, I was home alone.  I thought of all the little tasks and projects still undone but I decided at last to go sit on the patio and watch the hummingbirds.  Mia, the Siamese cat, affirmed that choice by coming to sprawl out on my lap.

Sitting there I remembered many such evenings during chemo when I just watched and waited.  And then I remembered other times on retreat, when I have had the luxury of time to observe in quiet, to “take it all in”, to notice what usually passes me by.  When life gets back to normal, whatever that is, the pace picks up and it’s not so easy to notice, to wonder, to listen to the birdsongs, to feel one’s own heartbeat and breath.

What choices can I make each day that will be like Love’s firm but gentle hand grasping my shoulder and whispering in my ear: Wait! I want to show you something wonderful!

Such choices can make each day a retreat, a sabbatical, an opportunity for God to break through.  Even for just a moment…that I don’t want to miss.


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I’ve had my hummingbird feeders up for about 3 weeks.  Long enough to have had to change the “nectar” several times, to keep it fresh- not because the birds were back.  Our 30 mph winds did their share to empty the feeders, too. But no hummingbirds.  Until yesterday!  I looked out the livingroom window and there he was! 

Later in the day when I was watering the flowerbeds that are just beginning to show signs of life I heard the familiar hum.  The Russian olive tree is a favorite perch and sure enough there were birds darting in and out, back and forth to the feeder.  Welcome home!  I realized how much I’ve missed the little creatures – and how good it is for them to go away and come back again each year.

That’s what is so beautiful about Holy Saturday.  We have this time of silence after Good Friday.  There is a leftover tinge of sadness and loss but mostly it’s a time to wait.  I think of all the people who wait: for test results, for healing after surgery, for loved ones to come home, for work to be finished, for food to arrive, for a safe time to travel, for a message from home, for a child to be born, for bread to rise, for seeds to sprout, for hummingbirds to appear…or for a tomb to be empty.

God waits with us this day.  In our sadness, in our fear, in our longing, in our hope.  God waits with us for the blessing of an Easter fire at dusk.  We wait.

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Yesterday I had an opportunity to spend some time sitting outside at a church that overlooks the border fence.  As I was reflecting on my desire to be open to whatever God wants for me I found myself confronted by “the fence”.  I could see the mountains of Mexico on the horizon.  I could see the buildings of Juarez and the cars moving on the other side of the border highway.   My mantra for the day was “open”.  I breathed it in.  Then I saw the fence.  “Closed!” it said to me.  The wind was blowing from the southwest, from Mexico.  I breathed it in, “Open”.  Then there were people in my mind and heart, friends and children of the Santo Niño project, who cannot even come to visit this church. “Closed!” said the fence.  I felt the springtime sun, strong from the south.  I felt it warm on my face: “Open.”  This time as I watched the fence with it’s passing cars and border patrols and surveillance cameras I felt all the fear and violence and sadness piling up against that wall.  “Closed!”

The violence in Mexico and immigration reform are complicated issues.  It’s simpler to just build a fence.  But when the heart gets involved…simple doesn’t  work anymore.

What does God ask?  Open or closed?  Later in the day our speaker commented that God’s light can penetrate the parts of us that are broken, undefended, vulnerable.  Maybe those cracks in my heart aren’t such a liability after all, if they can create a greater openness to God.  Entering tonight into Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday’s Easter Vigil, the “Triduum” of liturgies that are the high point of our year, may we be open, open, open to the Love that keeps trying to break through to us.  “Open!”

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