the blessing of a good day

Posted by on Jul 28, 2016 in poems | 2 comments

kayak

There’s something
in the early evening —
a feeling at twilight
when the day hasn’t quite ended
but the night hasn’t come, either.

It’s like you have one more shot
at getting it right,
but you realize,
hey, I did it all right.

Or mostly right.
Or right enough
to merit this peace.

This beauty.

This quiet wonder.

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Details in the Background

Posted by on Jul 21, 2016 in Weekly Photo Challenge | 6 comments

detail

I didn’t even notice this little guy until I saw him through the lens. I’ve walked past this plant a dozen times, but on this day, I happened to have my camera and was shooting random things for the fun of it.

I saw something, this little detail against the green backdrop of leaves, jump out once I changed my perspective. How many times could we benefit from a change of perspective — viewing something ordinary we take for granted or don’t see at all, and look with a new lens, a different point of view. Who knows what we’ll see.

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Look Up!

Posted by on Jul 13, 2016 in Weekly Photo Challenge | 6 comments

storm

This week’s photo challenge, asking us to look up, makes me think of a million things. I’ve been looking up an awful lot lately, and it has all been grand.

The storm in this picture looks like it is way off in the distance, but all I had to do was look up to see more of the same. I love it when the heavens open up like this. If you’ve followed my extended absence from blogging on my social media posts, you’ll know we’ve moved to a new part of the country. It seems like every day I’m looking up to see what heaven is sending my way. I hope to never stop.

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on opposite sides of the horizon

Posted by on Jul 2, 2016 in Weekly Photo Challenge | 1 comment

opposites

This week’s photo challenge, opposites, had me thinking. The level straight line of the horizon separates the sky from the water, and I noticed how everything above the horizon was parallel — the clouds, the colors, the sky are all blocked in parallel chunks that provide cover to the whole surface. Meanwhile, below the line things are perpendicular. And that had me thinking: the posts, the trees — they are reaching up to the heavens. To heaven.

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Pursued by the cross. Again.

Posted by on Jun 23, 2016 in personal | 5 comments

san damianoI heard the sound of metal scrape concrete before I saw the small crucifix swept out from under the wire shelves. I have no idea how a crucifix made its way into the recesses of my garage, but I picked it up, sad that it had been lost and left in a dark corner for so long. There was a time when my family made twine rosaries for Rosary Army, so it could have fallen out of a back pack years ago. Well, God’s timing is never off.

I rubbed the crucifix clean against my shorts and put it in my pocket for later.

As I swept, I remembered that earlier this year I rescued a cross getting trampled by high school students when I was leaving work. It used to be I could find money on the ground, but apparently the new thing is finding crosses. I’m sure it’s no accident that these treasures inspired an afternoon of prayer.

Unlike the plain cross from before, this one, the San Damiano cross, survived its ordeal almost scratch-free. Its beautiful detail is familiar, as I own a full-color crucifix given to me years ago. My long association with the Franciscans came rushing to me this morning as I continued with my task of cleaning out the garage.

I was born in the beautiful city of Santa Clara in Cuba, a city named after St. Clare of Assisi. I can’t think of St. Clare without bringing to mind St. Francis of Assisi — together they co-founded the Franciscan tradition, a tradition I’m intimately connected to even though I didn’t know this until very recently. The values that have been passed along in my family most certainly come from this Franciscan legacy.

A deep faith, commitment to prayer, and perhaps most evident, a love for the poor coupled with servant-leadership seems to run deep in my family. I have a great uncle who was a Franciscan Friar in Spain, another great uncle who was a diocesan priest, and of course, my grandfather, Daniel, who led his community of Legazpia as its mayor.

My grandparents were surrounded by Franciscans. Capuchin Franciscans served their community in Santa Clara, so much so, that my grandmother joined the Third Order of St. Francis. I discovered this on my trip to Cuba last fall, where I not only reconnected with family, but reconnected with places that were meaningful to my grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins. The church where I was baptized, closed by the communist state, lost the Capuchins serving there. Fifty years later, the church has re-opened with a Capuchin Franciscan assigned as pastor. Other Franciscans have returned to the area as missionaries.

Service to the poor and the community has been a tradition in our immediate family, too, and I now recognize where the sensibility for this came.

Recently, my husband came home from running errands and placed a small statue of St. Francis on my desk. I appreciated the gesture, but looked at him quizzically — I’ve never had any kind of devotion to St. Francis that would warrant such a gift. My husband shrugged and explained that he saw the statue and thought I’d like it. At any rate, it seemed odd and out of place to have the saint lying in a pile of discards in a discount store.

I’ve often said that the saints seem to creep up behind me and chase me around until I pay attention to them. Maybe St. Francis is trying to get my attention. It wouldn’t surprise me, I mean, this past year I seem to have been surrounded by his followers. What must he want from me, I wonder.

St. Francis taught we must take up Christ’s cross daily. I have done this twice, literally, and I don’t think I need to find a third cross to get the message. But what cross am I taking up? I already have crosses to bear– some entirely mine, and some that I share. I don’t think my answer is in any of those.

While praying before the San Damiano cross, St. Francis heard the call to rebuild the Church. I wonder if I’m being called to the same, in some small way, through evangelization. I love Jesus. I want others to love Jesus, too. Maybe he’s calling me to something new.

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