Sunday, July 27, 2014

WINDING UP/WINDING DOWN




FADING RHODODENDRONS

In an hour, I'll meet with my spiritual director, the good Fr. Greg, and my 30-day silence will be over. Not that I have much of desire to talk. And though we've been in silence here, I've visited with family, hung out with the local alkies, chatted with the folks in the ER, and have made my way out to cell reception many times during this month-long Ignatian retreat for phone conversations.

Still, it has been a real retreat.

Yesterday, sitting on the wide expanse of lawn that leads down to the ocean, I thought: What if love, real love, the love God has for us, is so utterly beyond our limited comprehension, so completely other than our little categories and systems and weighing and measuring and fears that?....

I realized I couldn't possibly generate that love by myself. That upsurge of emotion and feeling; the willingness to suffer in order to share the beauty: those come from somewhere beyond me.

What if every hair on our heads really were numbered?


NILES POND LILY PADS

What if God loved me not only as much as I love him, but infinitely MORE?


SUNRISE,
FROM FIRST LIGHT, A DAILY THREE-HOUR EXTRAVAGANZA

What if, as Meister Eckhart said, "God is greater than God?"...

SUNSET

MY SOON-TO-BE-16, 6' 3 NEPHEW ALLEN.
I WAS THERE WHEN HE WAS BORN!
HALIBUT POINT, ROCKPORT, MA

8 comments:

  1. my comments for the past few weeks have often mentioned that my wife and I are having problems. in the midst of this (just prior to the divorce papers that surprised me) God let me know how much He loves me, and for the first time in my life I know I'm his son.
    But also, he is letting me know what I prig I am: thinking I know everything, stating opinions in dogmatic terms, thinking in my head (and even heart!) that I am better than many of those around me...and on and on and on...
    Recently, a single man (66 years old) from our parish who sat behind our family for a year of so each Sunday at mass (when the family was still together), has seen our plight and taken me as a friend who can use some help. He used to be a divorce lawyer, by coincidence, but has quit that since his reversion to the Church. After weeks of friendship I stopped by his house the other day. It is an incredible house on a hill overlooking both the city and the mountains. As he took me around showing his art collection and various rooms and books and libraries I noticed that in all the pictures he was only with men. My guess that he was possibly homosexual was confirmed by some of these pictures.
    3 months ago I would have politely told him I had to go home because it was getting late (8pm is NOT late by my standards. But I bit my tongue, thought of Heather and many lines from "Parched" and forced myself to look at this good man as God's son. We will see a movie this week, and last Sunday I had the kids and we all went to his house to look around. I think he almost went into cardiac arrest about 30 times as my little kids reached clumsily at various fragile pieces of art from China, Europe, South America etc. We had the best time and the kids ate off his tree that I climbed into for fresh fuzzy apples.
    This is a man I would have abandoned to his aloneness 3 months ago. I praise God that there was enough in me to see Him at work in our lives.

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  2. Oh, it surely must be, Heather. How else to understand this overwhelming sense of love and inexpressible joy. I think It is deeper than beauty itself. Especially someone (like me) who is not by nature particularly loving or joyful! And then... of course, the delight that comes when someone else is describing or experiencing what seems to be the same thing. It must be Him... and then, it must follow, that He Himself must experience at least that same delight that I know! But even more... somehow, we all enter into it. It surely must be. (And good for you, too, Paul!)

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  3. Aargh! It turns out that the gentleman mentioned above might not yet be leading a morally regular, sexual life. When I called to confirm our going out to a smoking bar in town here (which are rare since smoking is illegal in bars within city limits unless a bar has a smoking variance with the city) tonight, this guy started to hit on me with subtle overtones. When I told him not to talk like that he actually came on stronger and I got angry and again asked him not to talk like that, at which point he began to play it off that he was just kidding. Shit.
    The moment I realized he was homosexual about 10-12 days ago, I decided that I would not let it bother me. This follows a spiritual path I began about 5 years ago where when I believe the Lord wants me to help bring someone closer to Him, I do it no matter what. And if it is really difficult, I consider it as analogous to either the incarnation of Jesus (which couldn't have been a better trade off than just staying with the Father and Holy Spirit and the good angels) or His 3 day descent into hell, which must have been educational for those who were in Abraham's bosom until The Resurrection. Such meditations help me through helping our Lord with tasks I find less that fun.
    But now this task is just plain disgusting to me -I am officially repulsed and even angry. For now I have to tell him (what he should have already clearly seen) that I am straight, a stupid, uncomfortable talk I had to have with guys from my university days at the University of San Francisco. Good thing is I have a buddy who loves to smoke cigars (I like pipes) who is able to come tonight! That is going to help tons. He and I have been friends ever since I heard of Communion and Liberation, usually going shooting guns or watching movies or getting our families together for such events as the Super Bowl. I gave him the skinny on tonight's situation and he said, calmly as ever, "don't worry man, we'll be alright." And I looking forward to talking practical theology tonight, for all three of us are of an intellectual bent.
    And for my part, pray for me that I learn the boundary between helping someone and co-dependence -I don't think I am very good at that distinction.

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  4. Good news on the home front from the above post. And before I begin, thanks to everyone who threw out a prayer over our little plight.
    So the three of us had a great time; my buddy Joe, who is a technut couldn't believe that gayboy (such is my friend's earned appellation until he earns back his real name through appropriate interaction) owns not only a Tesla, but one that begins at $130,000! A tech geek's dream (he's not a geek, but what the hell, he is a better shot with a 22 cal. and I have to poke at him somehow!) would be nothing more than driving shotgun in one of the fastest production vehicles ever made. Not to mention all that electric technology that some guy, Musk -is it?, put into the car. And gayboy had plenty of fun showing him everything possible programmed into the car's software -all the way up picking up radio stations from, let's pick one -Iceland-, live with pop music that truly made me wish I was deaf for a second or two. A grace our Lord decided not to bestow. I was pretty much more interested in the view of the mountains until gayboy floored it and the car shot from a mere 55 mph to a bit over 100 in about 3 or four seconds. Even I had to admit that was pretty awesome. So we finally settled on a Mexican restaurant before heading for a martini and cigar bar at which Joe and I were provided each with a Cuban by gayboy. Wow, best stogie I ever smoked, by far! We talked about everything and, since Joe is not a judgemental prig like myself, our mutual friend opened up regarding his life in many ways I hadn't seen before. I'm sure the bourbon helped, for me it was smoking an entire Cuban. We had boatload of fun and, surprisingly, none of us really wanted to go home by the time either tiredness or a wife had made call.
    Life really is better when we make the effort not to go it all alone like we know everything and don't really need that outside help.
    Don't tell Rush Limbaugh, it might set him and his listeners into a cognitive dissonance that offsets the right-side balance of our present political duopoly. He might even find himself having a martini with Harry Reid and telling him to stop setting aside land in Nevada for the federal government through BLM land grabs that he then oversees sale of to foreign corporations. Harry may not then know how to give his kid's jobs anymore, tell them to spend more time with their families since they already have more money than they need, and become pro-life all of a sudden. This would certainly cause Nancy Pelosi's death and John Boehner would not have any circus-front enemies to pawn his financial indiscretions on anymore.
    It'd just become an uncontrollable mess

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  5. Thank you, Steve, as always. Paul, I appreciate your readership but your comments are getting way, way off topic which at a certain point becomes disrespectful. This isn't the appropriate forum to air marital difficulties,bar tales, political opinions, and stream-of-consciousness daily life minutiae. The appropriate forum for that would be your own blog--I encourage you to start one!

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    1. I mean you're right regarding my being off topic etc.

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  6. Sorry about that Heather, you're right!

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