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I’ve just embarked on another new year in my life, another year older and hopefully wiser.  The birthdays seem to come more rapidly each year.  But I don’t mind.  I like growing and maturing.  That’s all it is–just me, the same as always, only better.  More myself, more comfortable in my own skin, more appreciative of life and being part of the world, more joyful and more grateful.  Especially at this time of year!  Autumn is finally in the air here in Texas, which means I’m feeling rather high-spirited.

Perhaps it’s the combination of maturing and becoming energized that have made me start thinking about dreams and pursuits that I have not yet seen through.  One of these is acting.  The only time I feel really good and really confident about expressing myself orally, out loud, is when I have a part to read and a character to be.  Becoming somebody else, putting somebody else’s words (or my own) out into the world to be heard is such a wonderful, liberating, transformative experience.  I want to give it a try, in a public way.  If for no other reason, I want to do it just so I won’t have to regret not doing it.

I guess that’s also why I enjoy Halloween so much, and costuming in general.  This year was really fun.  I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it, but I love Doctor Who!  And so, I decided to be a female version of the Doctor!

         Doctor Heather 2

As you might know, my clothes were inspired by the 10th Doctor.  The snacks I brought to the office party, however, are the 11th Doctor’s favorite snack (as well as Dalek-threatening ploy):

Jammie Dodgers

I suspect that lots of people didn’t realize I was actually in costume that day–but that made it all the more satisfying when I encountered fellow Whovians who got it!  I ran into a few people who apparently thought that my costume was a librarian, and were rather amazed that, in fact, I am a librarian in real, everyday life.  LOL!

Real, everyday life is plugging ahead.  I can’t complain about a thing, but just try to make it even better.  Before we know it, Thanksgiving, Advent, and Christmas will be here, and another calendar year will begin.  But for now, I just want to recite Shakespeare, wear cozy clothes, and drink warm things!  Happy Autumn, everybody!

Sorry for the lack of posting.  I keep of thinking about things to write, but then when I sit down to write… nothing comes together.

Life is a big haze lately.  It’s been just over a month since my dad passed away, and sometimes it feels like it’s been years… and sometimes it feels like it happened this morning.  Grief plays weird tricks with time.  I still feel the same way about Patrick, who passed away over 5 years ago.  And sometimes their deaths don’t seem real at all.  Sometimes I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if one of them called me on the phone or knocked on my door.  It’s strange.

I just keep trying to get through one day at a time.

My mom and sister went to Pittsburgh today to take care of some business and ship down some of Mom’s belongings.  I wish I could have gone with them, but I just can’t miss any more work right now.  I know it must be incredibly hard for them to be there, so close to all those reminders of Dad.  I’ve been thinking of them and praying for them often today.  It sounds like they are getting things done, though, which is good.

I’ve gotten so used to spending weekends with Mom that I am going to be lonely this weekend.  I was going to go to the office tomorrow to catch up on some work, but the library is closed on weekends now that the semester is over.  I will probably stay home and catch up on housework instead.  And go check in on Mom’s kitties.

Oh, and celebrate Pentecost!  One of my favorite holidays!  That’s something to rejoice in, at least.  And I really need something to rejoice in.  Really, really, really.

I hope you’re all well.  I’ll keep trying to write more.  God bless you!

I am no fan of modernism, post-modernism, or any of that.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t love modernity!  I’m late 20th- and early-21st-century through and through!  I’m sure there’s a reason God put me at this spot in the time line, and I aim to enjoy it and make the most of it!

As I was driving home from work today, it was a mostly-overcast evening, in that glorious twilight between light and dark.  I live pretty close to Love Field, pretty much right underneath the landing pattern.  As I slowly made my way home through traffic and stop lights, I watched a succession of jet liners emerge from the clouds, their white lights glittering brightly against the grey.  It was really quite a wondrous thing.

For a moment, I allowed myself to be dazzled by this occurrence that can be so very everyday and mundane.  I could imagine Monet painting such a scene if he and the Impressionist Movement were alive today.  The clouds–sweeps of muted greys and violets–pierced by the white lights of the descending jet liners… the dim, overshadowing outline of Cityplace Tower or the AT&T building, with a mishmash of cars and red lights below.  A beautiful picture!

And then I started laughing to myself.  I was tickled to think about one of my ancestors from even just 100 years ago suddenly popping into this evening in 2008, and what on earth they would think if they saw those lights in the sky, soon to realize that the lights were attached to some giant, roaring, metal-bird-looking flying machine!

Or, for that matter, what they would think of sitting in my little Honda, zipping down the street at a dizzying velocity of 30 MPH!  All while listening to music that they might recognize–with the sound of a full orchestra filling that tiny space!

It’s amazing, sometimes, what we take for granted.

I thank God for my life… my life here… my life now.

Related Post: Reflection on Timelessness

I’ve been meaning to write about this for several days, but this post by Fr. Longenecker has inspired me.

During the last couple of months, I struggled very hard with prayer.  I just felt like I never had enough time and energy to pray consistently every day.  In the last couple of weeks, however, I’ve really set my mind to rectifying that.  I decided that I had to get my priorities straight: God and my religious life and my duties as a Christian and especially as a Lay Dominican simply have to come first.  Without them as my center, I can’t possibly be myself, and my life doesn’t mean as much.  How can they if I neglect the very source of my life and the vocation He has given me?

So I just set my mind to it that, at the very least, I was going to pray Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours every single day without fail.  It wouldn’t matter what else was going on, it wouldn’t matter how I may feel or how tired I may be–I would’t leave home until I’d prayed, and I wouldn’t go to sleep until I’d prayed.  It was very difficult at first!  I always felt so rushed and distracted… and very tempted to rush past praying.  But I forced myself to just sit down, take my book and pray.  And not just speed through it, but take all the time necessary.

After a few days, I found that a strange and wonderful thing happens when I take time for prayer… it is as if time slows down!  And the more rushed I feel, or the more tired or distracted–i.e., the more effort it takes me to slow down and turn my mind to prayer–the more time seems to slow down while I am at prayer.  And the more time I seem to have for everything else I need to do!  It has really given me much more peace and relaxation in my life!  Over the last couple of weeks, I feel like I have gotten so much more accomplished, and in a more whole-hearted way!

I don’t really know how to explain it, other than that God provides for those who put Him first!  He provides not only material things, but also time.  And He provides much more of it than we could ever ask for!

Since that first week of praying Morning and Evening Prayer every day, I have also found more time to pray the Rosary and attend Mass more often during the week, to read Scripture more, and to pray more in the course of my days, whether at work or home or driving or walking at the gym or grocery shopping.  Turning to God in the midst of any old circumstance has become more natural to me.  And I feel like I am living my life more fully and more properly.  Everything is more ordered–not in the sense of being restricted, but rather in the sense of everything working more smoothly, and resulting in greater peace and liberty.  And what do peace and liberty mean for humans?  That’s right–happiness!  It is ours for the taking.

As I was praying The Liturgy of the Hours this morning, I had a moment of great joy:  I am not alone right now, I thought to myself.  This isn’t just me, alone in my apartment, on May 14, 2008, in Dallas, Texas, reading bits of ancient texts. 

Around the country and around the world, there were innumerable other Catholics performing this same action, reading and praying these same words: bishops and priests, consecrated religious, laypeople like me.  And it wasn’t only a shared action across space, but also across time: hours, days, weeks, months, years, centuries, millennia.  Times and places I cannot even imagine. 

The Psalms take us back further than the time of Christ, long before a human mind or heart could comprehend or even conceive of so strange and marvelous an idea as God Incarnate or the Holy Trinity–ideas Christians often take for granted.  And yet the Psalmist’s prayers touch and move and resonate with even the most modern soul.  We understand them.  They are our prayers too. 

The Psalms and other scriptures, the praying of The Liturgy of the Hours–these are just a couple of examples of where Catholics encounter the timelessness of our faith tradition.  This timelessness, this being “ever ancient, ever new” to borrow one of my favorite phrases from St. Augustine, is one of the most important and appealing things to me about Catholicism.  It is one of the things that keeps me safely moored in the world around me, anchored to some of the things that are truly most important.

That’s why I tend to cringe when I hear or read somebody say that the Church is “out of touch” or “outdated” or “irrelevant,” or that the Church “needs to get with the times”–by which they really mean, “get with the modern secular world.”  Such sentiments seem to be a symptom of the modernist snobbery that presumes that the present modern age is the best and most enlightened age that ever has been and ever shall be.  It presumes superiority and–even more bafflingly–permanence where there is none to be had, as if the present can be isolated from the past and the future, held apart, and judged on its own merits!  The reality is that the secular world, with each successive “modern time,” is impermanent and ever-changing.  Any alleged superiority of today will most likely be sneered at, or at least shrugged at, tomorrow.  What will future generations say about our world and our modern time?  The answer to that question is:  What do we say about the past?  So maybe we’d better watch our tongues.

I don’t see how any sane person can deny any of that.  So why on earth, then, should anybody want to take something so timeless as the Church and try to conform it, to confine it, to our own little spot upon the vast expanse of history?  The Church has overcome much worse times than ours, and she has also seen much better–and she will do both again and again until time finally ends.  And people will still be praying the Liturgy of the Hours and being stirred by the Psalms and doing all the same things Catholics have done for nearly 2000 years now, and probably much in the same fashion.  Thus, we are part of the future, as well as the past.

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(Image from a painting at St. Catherine of Siena Parish, Metairie, Louisiana)

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