I've been giving a Lenten mission consisting of a series of three talks, on three consecutive nights, for the parishioners at St. Margaret Mary and St. Denis in Westwood, Massachusetts.
I'm been holed up in Room 415 of the Holiday Inn in Dedham and I must say I have not enjoyed this much silence and solitude since early December. After two solid months of jackhammers and drills literally beneath my bedroom, I made a temporary move to to a place where it turned out they were rehabbing the house directly across the street. After five weeks of more daily noise, they finally stopped for one day--then started up at the place two places up.
The day before I flew to Boston, I went to the downtown LA Cathedral, desperate for ten minutes of silence, and headed straight for the Blessed Sacrament Chapel. I kid you not, the air was immediately split by the monstrously loud sound of drills, the whine of electric saws, the shouts of workmen. I don't know what was going on, and didn't have the heart to even investigate. I said the Office for the Dead for my brother Joe's friend Scott, aka Tulu, who was found dead of a heroin overdose last week in Kittery, Maine. And then I left.
That's not a complaint, cause as we all know we are FASTING FROM COMPLAINING DURING LENT. It's by way of a windup to why these three days at the Dedham Holiday Inn have been balm for my unnerved soul. Not that they've been days of rest. I have to prepare for my talks, write a column, look for a permanent apartment from afar, arrange to move my stuff into storage, answer emails, return phone calls, schedule interviews. I've made an appearance at Mass, two on Sunday, each of the days I've been here. I'm going to Watertown today to appear on Catholic TV's "This Is the Day" and to record several "blinks" (short videos).
But at least I've been able to do all that without the high incessant whine of a power vac or a buzzsaw or a jackhammer. I've woken early and been able to just sit with Christ and process the events of the past few months.
Months of incessant work, activity, punctuated every so often by a piercing stab of joy. A yellow bird in Ocotepeque, Honduras. Monday's sunrise. A moment yesterday where, alone in the fitness room, I grabbed the remote, turned off all three blaring TVs, and gazed in wonder at the gilt-edged vesper clouds.
I'm undergoing a period of darkness and trial and I know to the core of my being that God is with me, and that the detachment from worldly things--control, rest, ease--couldn't happen any other way.
All is grace, as St. Therese said.
And glory be to God for the Holiday Inn.
|THESE ARE SOME IMPRESSIONISTIC SHOTS OF THE HOLIDAY INN IN PORTSMOUTH, NH|
THAT I TOOK WHEN MY MOTHER WAS SICK FROM THE NEARBY AMERICA'S BEST VALUE.
BUDGET HOTELS HAVE BEEN GOOD TO ME.
IT'S SNOWING, I PRAY I GET OUT OF OF LOGAN THIS MORNING!