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Thursday, December 20, 2007


I woke up in tears this morning.

Not exactly immediately, but it began when my first thought was not to glorify God, as has been my habit. For at least a year now, maybe more, I try to make my first thought of the day a prayer, an acknowledgement of God's infinite glory. Sometimes it's simple, sometimes it's the "Gloria" from Mass. Sometimes I sing it, if even in my thoughts, and sometimes it's some other tune. And that's a great way to start the day.

This morning though, I was exhausted for some reason (working until 9:30 on Wednesday nights, getting home after 10, and to sleep even later is NOT conducive to a good night's sleep for me). Well, my German Shepherd greeted my groggy self with a Fire-patented "hug". She ducked her head against my chest and stood quietly so I could rub her neck and scratch behind her ears. She doesn't have the same "hug" as Fire did, considering she doesn't have his elegant form and long, sleek neck, but she learned this particular gesture from him. And that started me off thinking about the day I had to put him to sleep.

I came downstairs in tears, feeling somewhat ridiculous, but figuring that with all the stress of the semester now at an end, with all the stress of last-minute Christmas preparations upon me, perhaps I was just overwhelmed. Ever since my Dad passed away I get a little weird like this as we get closer to the anniversary of his death. (Jan. 3).

I went to check my email while sipping my morning coffee and listening to the news on TV, and found Ma Beck's post about "Pigeon Man", Joseph Zeman.

I was already primed for more tears, and this story did me in. I've never seen the man, but there are echoes in his story that speak of someone who understands that life is beautiful, life is precious, and God cares for those most consider to be "vermin".

And of course, the man was pronounced dead at St. Francis Hospital.

My dad's last words were "St. Francis! St. Francis!", and at a hospital by the same name, he spent his last moments and passed away.

St. Francis, indeed. St. Francis, pray for us all.

Thank God I didn't spend my day in that same melancholy; the storm of tears passed as quickly as it was upon me, and I went about my day in good cheer, although somewhat addled just from being tired. You all know what that's like. (Are Thursdays the worst day of the week for you, too? They are almost worse than Mondays!)

I've been back on the search for a Spiritual Director, and a few weeks ago, after a particular incident involving some religious sisters with a connection to Padre Pio got my attention, I met with a local priest. I'd heard of him and know him by reputation only, and made an appointment. He had told me up front that he couldn't take on any other directees, but I realized I needed to take some kind of step towards Spiritual Direction, and sometimes God just sends us links. He was very kind and invited me to make an appointment, even after I expressed that I knew he was busy and I feared wasting his time. In the end the appointment was set and I went.

He was helpful, gave some advice for some steps to follow, some people to contact, etc. And then he said something that surprised me: he said that he'd told me before that he can't take on anyone else, but he agreed I am in need of spiritual direction, no doubt. So he told me to keep searching, and if I really can't find anyone, to call him back, because he doesn't know what God is asking him to do. He doesn't want to close the door if it also means closing the door on God.

I appreciate that, and completely understand!

There was two things he suggested; I have been able to fulfill one. The other involves a retreat, which was not time-bound. He is extremely familiar with the issues in this area, he understands the problems with cost in flying out to attend discernment retreats, and so it's not something I'm sweating at the moment. At this point, I'm considering a private, silent retreat for lack of anything solid or that I can afford, and it's best to be IN spiritual direction at that time.

For a long time now I've been seeking and waffling about spiritual direction, and there really is nowwhere to go...but to him. I'm still praying, but I think I will be calling him back. At least to start out. It's not as if I'll be on his doorstep every week. (It's not as if I actually have the TIME for ANY of this!)

God's grace. That's all I can lean on. That's all I have. And even as I know this priest is extremely busy and overworked, (as are all great priests in our area!) I think I have to be open to the same thing he is; God's call to obedience. If there is no one else, it must be him. Until God says different.

I'm so conflicted about many things. And I'm not necessarily talking about discernment of religious life here. I've found that with a grad program, coupled with a long-time search for an SD, well, the ante has been upped, and I can't reach holiness without assistance.


Anonymous said...

Yes spiritual direction is so important..whilst i don't get the tears anymore i'm inclined to melancholy...get some rest if you can & go easy on yourself..God bless

eliztrin said...

PRIORITIES.... you can't discern w/o a director. GET A DIRECTOR first.

and BE EASY on yourself. You're doing God's will... that's what is MOST important.


Adoro said...

eliztrin ~ I KNOW, I KNOW! But as I said, getting an SD is not necessarily about discernment...there are other things, too, things I will never write about on my blog.

I'm working on God's will...much of the time failing at following it.