I don’t get it.
I read the lengthy article in last Sunday’s paper about Mother Teresa. How she felt the absence of Christ in her life though what she wanted most was to feel his presence…about her “dark night of the soul.”
I read it and I thought, “Wow. Who knew? Poor thing. How incredibly hard that must have been for her.” And I thought briefly about my own petty struggles and how puny they are compared to the struggles of this great woman. And I said a little prayer of thanks to God because by his great mercy, I have not known this struggle – I mean REALLY known it…not like she did. And then I said a little prayer of thanks to God for Mother Teresa, whose faith was certainly much sturdier than my own, whether or not she perceived it. And I thanked God for all of the good she did in this world and for her witness.
Then that was it. I put the paper down and got ready for church and pretty much forgot about Mother Teresa until yesterday.
A lengthy visit to the blogosphere last night got me to reading about this “new” revelation about Mother Teresa – and I read lots of stuff out there about her and about the media hype over her spiritual struggles. I read views from the sites and blogs of Catholics, Anglicans, Orthodox and Lutherans which I check from time to time. And at the end of the evening I was fairly horrified – nauseated, really.
Now granted, I don’t know much about Mother Teresa. What I know can be summarized in very few words: She was a Roman Catholic nun. She spent her life in service to the Church, doing great works of mercy among the poorest of the world’s poor … doing the work to which all Christians are called but which most Christians (including me) fail miserably at. She is listed among those who are commemorated at Sunday liturgies in my former tradition (Sadly, this isn’t saying much. Here she joins the ranks of others like “Katherine Von Bora Luther, Renewer of the Church” - I don’t understand how Katie Luther renewed even the Lutheran Church - though I could maybe see how she renewed Martin. When I asked my former pastor about her commemoration, he just admitted that she really didn’t do much renewing of the church at all but that the Lutheran Church’s Commemorations Committee probably felt a need to get a few more women on that list for gender balance, and they were grasping at straws. But this is a different sort of rant for another day – or not). Anyway, that’s about it – that’s about all that I knew about Mother Teresa.
So what I am struggling with is to read how under attack this poor woman has been this week by representatives from all walks of Christianity (including the Orthodox). She is accused of trying to buy her salvation with good works, of considering herself to be above St. Paul and even the Virgin Mary, that her works of mercy could not possibly have been done out of love for God and her fellow man, that her faith was empty and useless, that she was a hypocrite, that she chose substandard confessors, and several other things which the rest of us are, of course, way above. Then the attacks turn to her confessors …
It made me sick.
What right does any Christian have to judge her? Or her confessors? (or anyone, for that matter). Christ himself asked from the cross why God had forsaken him – Jesus Christ - who IS God! Why would we hold a mortal woman to some higher standard than that of perfection? To a standard higher than Christ? Who the hell do we think we are?
If we presume to even think we have something to say about Mother Teresa, perhaps we’d best not say it until after we’ve spent a lifetime in the slums of India – or maybe just one day in the slums of our own city – or even an hour in the silent, invisible slums of our American suburbs.
How dare any Christian even open their mouth to comment on the life and faith of this woman that NONE of us knew personally? I really don’t get it – at all.
If we are really concerned about Mother Teresa and her salvation (and not just concerned with making some example of poor faith of her), we should all put down our stones, shut up, and pray for her.
Better yet, we should let God worry about Mother Teresa’s salvation and start worrying about our own.
Lord have mercy.
Friday, August 31, 2007
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Along with almost everything else in my life it seems, I’ve come to a bit of a different view about worship in the past six months. It occurs to me that for the first half of my life I never learned to appreciate the beauty of worship with just a few.
I’ve always thought that as far as worship is concerned, bigger = better. More people, better worship. Bigger organ, better worship. Better organist, better worship. Better trained and better rehearsed servers, better worship. A presiding minister who can sing the Eucharistic liturgy in tune – bonus!
But I’ve learned in a hands-on sort of way recently that there is a distinct beauty in small and simple worship that is hard to describe. It’s personal, it’s deep, and it’s incredibly rich.
Some months ago, my parish added Thursday evening Vespers to their weekly cycle of services. Thursday Vespers is sparsely attended – usually about 6-8 worshippers plus the priest. Sometimes there’s a couple more, sometimes a couple less. When I went to this Vespers service for the first time and saw how few were there, I thought, “Oh, this is gonna be good. There aren’t even enough singers here to sing all four parts – how are we going to do this?”
But we did do it. We worshipped, and it was beautiful – and rich and meaningful. And it was rich and meaningful in a way I’d not experienced before. Not in it’s big-ness and perfection, not in it’s pomp and precision - but in it’s reverence and honesty – in it’s smallness and simplicity. This Vespers service, with just the few of us there, was fully as rich and meaningful as a Saturday night Vespers with 20 or more or a Sunday morning liturgy with a whole church full of people. In fact, it had a specific beauty in it’s simplicity and in its intimacy that the other services don’t have. Yet in it’s smallness, I am filled to overflowing.
How does that happen?
At a recent church potluck, I was trying to explain this thing I’d noticed about the beauty of the smallness of this service to another woman who regularly attends Thursday night Vespers, too. She was not at all surprised. She said, “Isn’t it something how that happens? You know, God doesn’t need our worship – we do.” Wow – wise woman!
Does God benefit from our worship? I’m not sure (she obviously thinks not – and I think she may be right). But I am sure that I benefit from worshipping. And I suspect that I need to worship far more than God needs my worship.
Worship is God’s gift to us, and an incredible gift it is! It is a vehicle by which we are brought into proper relationship to God – and the liturgy (“the work of the people”) is the very work for which we were created. In our worship, God takes whatever we have to offer, blesses it, and returns it to us a gift - one hundred-fold. In the offering of our worship, we receive. How can our doing of this work ever be less than a blessing?
Size really isn’t everything.
Posted by Cha at 6:42 AM
Sunday, August 26, 2007
I didn't have it today!
Or last Sunday!!
Thanks be to God!!!
This Orthodox newbie suffers most Sunday mornings from a different kind of convertitis - the caffeine withdrawal headache.
Anna from church told me that she used to suffer from nasty caffeine withdrawal headaches on Sunday mornings, too, but only for a short while after she became Orthodox. She said that one Sunday morning they just stopped - and she hasn't had a Sunday morning headache for many years. She said it's a grace given to her by God, and she said she hoped that soon I would be afforded the same grace. Maybe I have been! (To not have one for the past two weeks has certainly been a blessing!)
Perhaps caffeine junkie Orthodox women like me should consider this head covering for Sunday liturgies. I'm guessing, though, that unless I removed the grain and replaced it with very finely ground french roast or a nice espresso so that it could be absorbed via the scalp, it wouldn't really do any good.
Might just be easier to cut back on the coffee Monday through Saturday.
Posted by Cha at 4:49 PM
Saturday, August 25, 2007
A couple of weeks ago, Dixie asked an important question: "Since you used to be a Lutheran and are now Orthodox, how did you get here from there?" It's an honest question which deserves an honest answer. I have contacted Dixie privately in an attempt to make good on my promise to her of such an honest answer.
I tried for a couple of weeks to write a concise account of my journey, and I have written one...and it's not concise (this won't come as a surprise to any who know me!). But I am not prepared to put this account in a public forum of any kind ... at least not yet (and maybe not for a very long time). I'm not so sure it's all that important to anyone but me, anyway.
So I will answer Dixie's question in the best public way I can: How did I get here from there? By the grace of God. Only. It's my standard answer, and 100% honest, to boot!
My reasons for leaving Lutheranism and becoming an Orthodox Christian are somewhat easier to name.
I will try to do at least this much in an upcoming post.
Lord, have mercy.
Posted by Cha at 10:43 AM
Thursday, August 23, 2007
"But according to Christianity, Man is homo adorans; worship lies at the very root of his being. It is his only true, necessary and inevitable work. If, as individual persons or nations, we gain and grow in wisdom and knowledge, or in ignorance and malice, it is only as the fruit of our essential worship."
- Douglas Ian Dalrymple (The Scrivener)
Sadly, it seems that Douglas has decided to hang it up. I will miss reading him, but am glad that he wrote these wonderful sentences before he left the blogosphere. I'm going to use them again.
He can put elegant words on things about which I can only babble.
Oh well, at least for now, we still have his archives ...
Posted by Cha at 1:03 PM
"What shall I say about dogs who have a natural instinct to show gratitude and to serve as watchful guardians of their master's safety? ... To dogs is given the ability to bark in defense of their masters and their homes. Thus you should learn to use your voice for the sake of Christ, when ravening wolves attack His sheepfold."
- St. Ambrose of Milan
OK - So our dog only wags in defense of his masters/mistress and his home. But what I shall say about dogs is that I've learned a thing or two from ours:
Obedience is a good thing and ultimately makes one happier.
Don't go out in the rain unless you have to - and then, do what you need to do and get back inside where it's warm and dry.
Naps are a good thing.
Everyone can be forgiven - for anything.
It's best to try and keep children in a nice, neat group. Wait for the stragglers and chase down the ones who randomly run off.
You have a better chance of getting some popcorn if you wait patiently nearby than if you try to take the whole bowl by force.
Even if you are absolutely free to go anywhere in the neighborhood, the city, or the world, the best place to be is at home with those who love you.
Make it a point to greet the neighbors in a very friendly way whenever you see them (then they won't get so mad if they find poop on their side of the property line).
If you get into trouble, it probably means you have too much time on your hands.
Loving your neighbor can be done even if your neighbor isn't like you.
Posted by Cha at 12:42 PM
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Here are a few:
As a southpaw, I have caught myself more than once making the sign of the cross with my left hand (though this hasn’t happened recently, thank God!)
If I am not very careful, “...and the Son” still falls out of my mouth when I say the Creed at Liturgy (I noticed one other former Lutheran who stands near me in the choir smirk when this happened once – it probably horrified the others who were near enough to hear).
Seeing our sons serve as acolytes at liturgy always chokes me up a little.
I don’t like peanut butter ... or kulich (the "kulich" in our Pascha basket is always really banana bread in disguise).
I do not share the fascination common among many Orthodox Christians with with Lord of the Rings, Star Trek, Harry Potter, or other such fantasy literature or cinema.
I would like to get to a place where I am not so self-conscious about everything I say, do, think, and eat. That is to say, I would like to get to a place where the things I say, do, think, and eat are automatically the right things. Perhaps that will happen some day – but I’m fairly confident it won’t be any time soon.
I do miss singing Lutheran hymns, but not as much as I thought I would. And on the occasions when I do worship with Lutherans, I now find myself wanting to sit on my hands – and yet feeling sort of weird about even sitting at all.
I have reason to believe that several of my siblings don’t know I’m Orthodox. And I have even more reason to believe that most of those same siblings wouldn’t really care if they did know (so why confuse them?)
I keep a little tiny prayer rope in my car for use in traffic jams.
I think that several non-Orthodox Christians I know would make much better Orthodox Christians than I am.
Posted by Cha at 8:40 PM
By Gracious Powers
By gracious powers so wonderfully sheltered,
and confidently waiting, come what may,
we know that God is with us night and morning,
and never fails to greet us each new day.
Yet is this heart by its old foe tormented,
still evil days bring burdens hard to bear;
O give our frightened souls the sure salvation
for which, O Lord, you taught us to prepare.
And when this cup you give is filled to brimming
with bitter sorrow, hard to understand,
we take it thankfully and without trembling,
out of so good and so beloved a hand.
Yet when again in this same world you give us
the joy we had, the brightness of your sun,
we shall remember all the days we lived through,
and our whole life shall then be yours alone.
By gracious pow'rs so faithfully protected,
So quietly, so wonderfully near,
I'll live each day in hope with you beside me,
And go with you through every coming year.
-Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945)
Posted by Cha at 12:20 PM
Sunday, August 19, 2007
An awesome dessert that's a little putsy but SOOOO worth it! (Oh, and it also takes a very long time to bake - but we've got more time than money and on a cold and rainy Sunday ... why not?)
A little vanilla ice cream on the side makes it absolutely perfect!
Hat tip to Gern for the link ... and the pan, the peaches, and the blueberries!)
Posted by Cha at 8:40 PM
Friday, August 17, 2007
"...since you were once Lutheran and now you are Orthodox (a path we share) how did you get from there to here?"
I've not forgotten about you, Dixie, or your question - and I intend to reply. But a concise response about this is difficult for me (Who are we kidding? It's actually a challenge for me to be concise about anything!).
But I'm working on it.
Posted by Cha at 8:15 AM
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Well, according to this online quiz, I'm:
Umberto Eco: The Name of the Rose.
You are a mystery novel dealing with theology, especially with catholic vs liberal issues. You search wisdom and knowledge endlessly, feeling that learning is essential in life.
I'm such a sucker for these stupid things ...
Posted by Cha at 11:43 AM
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
"The Feast of the Dormition or Falling Asleep of the Theotokos commemorates the death, resurrection, and glorification of Christ's mother. To help us in our preparation of the feast, it is preceded by a two week fast. As with the Nativity of the Virgin (September 8) and the feast of her Entrance to the Temple (November 21), the Feast of the Dormition also comes from the Tradition of the Church.
There we learn that Mary died as all people die because she had a mortal human nature affected by the corruption of this world. The Church proclaims that Mary needed to be saved by Christ just as all of us are saved from trials, sufferings, and death of this world. Having truly died, she was raised by her Son as the "Mother of Life" and already participates in the eternal life of paradise which is prepared and promised to all who "hear the word of God and keep it." (Luke 11:27-28) Finally, we celebrate the fact that what happens to Mary happens to all who imitate her holy life of humility, obedience and love.
It is important to remember that there are no relics of the Theotokos. Their existence has never been mentioned throughout history. At one time in Constantinople there was a center of pilgrimage where the belt and veil of the Virgin were venerated."
Adapted from "The Orthodox Church, Volume II: Worship", by Fr. Thomas Hopko.
From the Tradition of the Church
"Following the day of Pentecost, the Theotokos remained in the city of Jerusalem, comforting the infant Christian community. She was living in the house of the beloved Apostle John, later the Evangelist. At the time of her death (tradition states she was in her early fifties) many of the Apostles were scattered throughout the world preaching the Gospel. All but Thomas were miraculously brought to the Virgin aloft on clouds.
As they stood around her bedside, she commended her spirit to the Lord and Jesus descended from Heaven, taking up her soul in His arms. The Apostles sang the funeral hymns in her honor and carried her body to a tomb in Cedron near Gethsemane. When a Jewish man tried to interrupt their solemn procession, an angel of the Lord came and punished him by cutting off his hands, which were later healed.
The Apostle Thomas arrived on the third day and wished to see the Virgin for the last time. They discovered an empty tomb. Church tradition relates that the Theotokos was resurrected bodily and taken to heaven, the same reward that awaits all the righteous on the Last Day."
About the Icon
"The Theotokos is depicted upon the funeral bier. Christ, standing behind the Theotokos, is her Son, Who has come to receive His Mother's soul into heaven; He holds in His left arm an infant in white, symbolizing the soul of the Theotokos reborn in her glory in heaven; Christ also is robed in white and appears in an aureole (elongated halo) depicting the Light of His Divinity.
The Apostles are depicted on either side of the bier stand the Apostles; the group on the left is led by St. Peter who stands at the head of the bier; the group on the right is led by St. Paul who stands at the foot of the bier.
Below the bier is a figure of Antonius the Jew, who tried to disrupt the procession, was punished, but later repented of his sins and embraced Christianity through Baptism."
Taken from "The Icon Book", by Boojamra, Essey, McLuckie & Matusiak.
Finally, here's a wonderful post on the feast from my very favorite blogger, Fr. Stephen Freeman
Posted by Cha at 7:15 AM
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
A few weeks ago, my family and I attended the Romanian Festival at a local Orthodox Church.
I didn't know much about this parish on the other side of town (OK, I didn't know anything about it, except that I have seen their priest at several inter-parish functions I've attended).
This event was a fundraiser for work on their building, which is showing serious signs of age - so we were happy to go and eat a great meal, support their endeavor, and learn a little something about this parish. We sat in on a brief presentation by their priest about Orthodox Christianity, with a sort of Q & A time afterwards...it was a helpful sort of discussion for neighbors and others who didn't know much about the church or the faith.
One thing I noticed, though, was this interesting seating phenomenon. The church didn't have pews - which, of course, was not surprising, but they had these very interesting stalls. Each stall had arm rests and a flip down seat which could be used by the occupant during the sermon or whenever they felt the need to take a load off - or just lean on the arm rests. More interesting yet was that each stall had a plaque with someone's name on it - designating that stall as belonging to a particular individual.
(Any Lutheran readers will note here that they have no corner on the market of pew ownership! It rather brings the whole "Excuse-me-but-that's-where-I-normally-sit" thing to a whole new level!)
This is an old church and so I had to wonder about how many of those named on the little plaques are even around anymore - and what happens to those spots during services now??)
In any case, the sponsors of this festival had a gorgeous day for their event. The folks from St. Stefan's were welcoming and helpful, their priest was kind and warm, the food was wonderful, and the event was very well attended (it was packed while we were there!). We noted in the newspaper shortly afterward that they didn't raise anywhere near the amount of money they need for the necessary work on their building, which was too bad, I thought. But in my opinion it was still a great success - they opened their building to curious neighbors who might never have otherwise seen it, answered questions from those who wanted to learn a little more about Orthodox Christianity, and generally provided a wonderful and positive Orthodox presence for all who attended.
Our family has put a Sunday morning visit to this parish on the short list of things to do soon.
Posted by Cha at 7:13 AM
Monday, August 13, 2007
I like goats.
I'm not sure why I find them so intruiging, I just do.
Have you ever tried to look a goat in the eye? It's' hard! They have such very strange eyes on either side of their head with those slit-shaped pupils which make me wonder if those eyes can really work together to see anything. Goats look so innocent - yet they're unpredictable and mischievious - which only adds to my intruige about them. But I find goats to be sort of mysterious and simply charming.
As a suburban kid, I never saw a goat up close during my entire childhood. My rural rels were dairy farmers, so I saw alot of cows - but no goats. But as a kid I read lots of stories about goats, which only added to my fascination with them. Then as a young adult, I visited a goat farm and was positively captivated by the goats I met there.
I had heard that some folks from my church have a pet goat. A goat in the city - whodathunkit?? Yesterday after Liturgy my family visited these folks so that I could see and meet this goat for myself. She's adorable!
When we entered the back yard, the goat (Gabriella - Gabby, for short) was happy to see us and was prancing and jumping about and was generally being very goat-y. She engaged the kids with a couple of (gentle) butts, and I could well imagine that even though she's pretty small, she could easily knock me on my bum if I wasn't careful.
Anyway, we had a brief and lovely visit with this charming goat and her family, and left with the promise that next time we'll stay for tea!
Posted by Cha at 6:22 AM
Saturday, August 11, 2007
I've meant to mention this before and keep forgetting.
I recently purchased an engaging and enlightening CD set (3) of a lecture by Fr. Marc Boulos of St. Elizabeth the New Martyr Orthodox Mission in Eagan, MN. It is entitled, Judgment as Hope.
Having a good chunk of time to sit in my car from M-F, I have found this a good time to listen to edifying kinds of things such as this.
Anyway, I commend it to your interests - it's available here.
(Of course, I can arrange a loan of our copy if anyone local is interested).
Posted by Cha at 9:14 AM
We had a thunderstorm last night.
While this normally wouldn’t be a bloggable event, we are experiencing a drought in these parts just now. Lawns are dead and trees are already turning, due to lack of moisture. (Worse, the squirrels are eating my tomatoes off the vine, which, as I read online, is something they do when there’s a drought. DH has put out a nice big pan of potable water for them and their bunny friends, which seems to be helping a little).
I heard a comment on the radio just the other day that in the past couple of years we haven’t had summertime thunderstorms at night around here like we used to. Being an extremely sound sleeper, I couldn’t verify his observation – I’d just assumed that we have had some in recent years and that, like everything else, I just slept through them.
Anyway, last night’s thunderstorm even woke me up – making it an event of significance. While I was delighted to be awake to experience a moment or two of it (because I really love a good thunderstorm, especially at night) I wish I could have stayed awake long enough to enjoy all of it.
Best of all, it appears that we received“measurable precipitation” from the storm, which we sorely needed.
Thanks be to God.
Posted by Cha at 9:04 AM
Friday, August 10, 2007
There is a danger, I think, in blogging – this is part of the reason I hesitated for so long in starting a blog, and this danger is something I try to be very conscious of when I decide what to put out here, especially when I write on matters of church and faith. I do so with fear and trembling. The danger is this: that someone eager to learn about Orthodox Christianity will visit my blog hoping to learn anything about the faith. (Because no one knows I even have a blog, I should be safe at least for the time being!)
Yesterday I read a fellow Orthodox blogger’s post on the Nicene Creed (and some other things). This blogger has written his own version of the creed and uses it in his daily prayer rule. His “expanded creed” uses, in part, the Nicene Creed, but offers much enhancement of the Statement of Faith (sort of like this popular one which, though not written or intended to replace the Creed in liturgical settings, is often used in just that way in some Protestant congregations) . It’s not that I think that his "expanded creed" is heresy, it may or may not be – ultimately, it’s not up to me to decide - but it is a personal enhancement of the tradition which has been handed down to us (which certainly does not need our own personal enhancements).
There are at least 2 problems with this as far as I can tell. The first problem is just the question of why an Orthodox Christian would feel a need to change the Nicene Creed, as if it’s somehow inadequate as it is. (Of course, this has already been done at great cost to the Church). It brings to mind the question that if this “expanded creed” is the personal creed of one Orthodox Christian, to whom or what is this person united?
The second problem is what publishing such a personal creed of any kind says to any click-happy inquirer who is hungry for knowledge of Orthodoxy. Does it say that we as Orthodox Christians are free to take what the Church has given us and alter it to suit our own personal needs and circumstances – to manipulate it in order that it becomes a better reflection of our own personal beliefs? While his “expanded creed” includes in pieces the Nicene Creed which the church recognizes to be Truth, in its altered form it is not the statement of the Faith of the Church, but only the statement of faith of this particular individual. Such material, when couched in theological and intellectual discourse can, to the undiscerning seeker of the Truth, be mistaken for Truth, which of course, it oftentimes is not.
Before I was received into the church, I spent a lot of time on the internet sorting through much of the information out there about Orthodoxy and I read many blogs of Orthodox Christians. A little of what I gleaned online was helpful, most of it was not. In my haste to learn as much as I could about the faith I made the very big mistake of at least suspecting that at least some of the opinions, and postings of individual Orthodox laypeople were true reflections of the Orthodox Church’s position and teaching on various matters of faith. In the end, it left me more confused than anything.
Many bright and well-read Orthodox Christians often post deep theological essays about church and doctrine (these often make me somewhat dizzy). While publishing insights and reflections might be a good creative outlet for those who write, when these things are made public, it is often unhelpful for those who seek. I often have to remind myself that these writers are not the Desert Fathers and Mothers...many of these bloggers are fairly recent converts, like me (which is pretty scary, really) and that there is a distinct difference between “what I think or feel” about scripture, church doctrine, Tradition, and worship and “what the church teaches” about these matters.
When I write, I must first always caution myself against entering the fray of theological discussion in a tradition in which I am an infant. And when I read I must always remember that when I seek Truth, the best place to find it is from those who have been trained by the Church to teach and to preach it.
Posted by Cha at 11:36 AM
Thursday, August 9, 2007
-- Envoys of Prince Vladimir of Kiev, after attending the Divine Liturgy in Hagia Sophia Cathedral, Constantinople, late tenth century.
I’ve read this little quote lots of times and am constantly amazed how the feeling which these words convey continues to be my own experience of Orthodox worship.
I felt this way the very first time I attended an Orthodox liturgy over 20 years ago – not at Hagia Sophia Cathedral, but in the basement of a priest’s home, a house chapel. Not with hundreds of other worshippers in attendance, but with less than a dozen. I remember it being all at once the strangest and yet most familiar liturgy I’d ever witnessed.
And these words continue to come to mind almost every time I worship. I’m awed at the timelessness of these observations.
Posted by Cha at 6:16 AM
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
Sis has seriously damaged the cornea on her left eye. Tomorrow she will have some sort of surgery on it to remove the cornea (Eeeewwww!). After it is removed, they will place a clear contact lens band-aid on it until the cornea regenerates itself.
Just thinking about the whole thing makes me very squeamish, but they assure her that while it will be painful for a time, she will heal completely before too long.
Gives me the heebie-jeebies ...
Posted by Cha at 11:24 AM
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
I walked in the door, hot, and tired for no reason at all (work is incredibly slow in the summer and being bored exhausts me). Elder Son met me right inside the door and said, “Hey, Mom, do you want to play a game of darts with me?” I said, “Geez, can't I even get in the door? No, honey, I really don’t want to play darts right now – maybe later.” Then, maneuvering around our giganormous dog (who also met me at the door wagging, wagging, wagging his tail – waiting for any sort of recognition from me), I proceeded to greet Dear Husband for our evening “how-was-your-day” ritual.
After said exchange, I looked around to assess the damages of a summer Tuesday: dishes on the counter, Jimmy John’s wrappers on the table, 2 baseball gloves and a ball in the chair in the living room, lemonade cans on the end table, sofa pillows on the floor, video games lying on the couch, blah, blah, blah. I picked up a few things as I walked through the living room, wondering aloud just how hard would it really be for those guys to pick up after themselves and noting how much easier for all of us it would be if they could just learn to do this one thing.
Feeling lazy, we decided to go out for a burger, stopped to pick up a few necessities at Target, swung into the library, and then landed at home to relax for the evening in the cool of an air-conditioned house. As soon as we got home, Elder Son again came and asked if I wanted to play a game of darts with him (it WAS later, after all!). By then I was tired and really didn’t want to do anything except veg – so I begged off and promised to play a game with him tomorrow. As a last resort, Elder Son got Younger Son to play darts with him. “Thank God!” I thought.
Then this morning on my way to work, I learned from the radio news that at right about that same time the night before, less than a mile from my house, a young boy had drowned at the beach near our house. Details haven’t been released about exactly what or how it happened, except to say that lifeguards were on duty and his parent(s?) nearby. The boy’s body was discovered by some teenage swimmers, who had bumped into it in the water. According to early reports, lifeguards performed CPR on him at the scene and he was then taken to the local hospital – as was his mother, who is pregnant and had gone into labor. The boy was pronounced dead at the hospital. Doctors were able to stop the mother’s labor, but they were not able to save her son.
Lord, have mercy.
How very tragic it is to think that while I was blowing my own son off in order that I could sit on my bum and watch a re-run of “Law and Order” in the cool of my messy living room, another mother on a hot beach very nearby was watching lifeguards as they tried to revive her dead son.
How very tragic it is to think that I met my son’s eager request to play with “not right now” when another mother very nearby will never get to play with her son again.
How very tragic it is to think how often I whine and complain because my sons leave their stuff all over the yard and the house - when another mother very nearby had lost her son, after whom she’d never pick up again.
How very tragic, indeed.
Posted by Cha at 12:22 PM