Saturday, June 27, 2009
The Rosary, Raw Fish, Family, and Vocation
This evening after Adoration, I went down to my brother's house for dinner. Since we couldn't celebrate my birthday last week, we planned it for tonight, yet when I was half way there Mom called to say they wouldn't be there!
Apparently my brother decided he needed to go grocery shopping. Happily, though, I had a key to his house, so Mom explained that my birthday gift was on the coffee table and it would give me "something to do". Inwardly I groaned, because I knew she was saying I should pray the rosary she was giving me. (I still have a rebellious side and an ingrained reaction inclined to automatic disobedience to Mom, even if what she is suggesting is something I WANT to do!)
So it was that I entered the empty house, and after setting my things down, went into the bag of rosaries Mom was giving me to distribute to others. Within that was my gift, a special rosary she'd ordered. In fact, she'd been told it would take 5-6 weeks...it only took two.
I think this is the most beautiful rosary I've ever had; it has pearls set in silver (not real!), and the medal has the Sacred Heart of Jesus on one side and Our Lady of the Snows on the other.
Although I usually pray the rosary during my Adoration hour, or, if headed to my brother's, I pray it en route. Once that rosary was in my hands, I understood why I hadn't sensed the inclination to pray as usual; right there, in my brother's living room, while waiting for them to finish their errands, I prayed this rosary for my family. I looked at the painting of the Prodigal Son I'd given my brother for Christmas, and realized that God was bringing things together for us all in a way none of us really understands, even now.
It was a beautiful moment of God's grace, His presence in the small things, and in fact, an answer to a prayer.
Shortly after they arrived back home, we decided on a restaurant: a Sushi place nearby that apparently was running an all-you-can-eat special. Realizing that this isn't something that comes along every day, we headed over and gorged ourselves on a few courses of Sashimi, Nigiri, and a few different rolls, then another entree of either steak or chicken.
I've only had Sushi a few times, but have always enjoyed it. Today, though, was the first time I had sashimi and realized that perhaps THIS was the real test of whether or not I really liked it! I'll admit that I had to focus on not thinking about what I was eating. The reality is that we're "programmed" not to eat raw food, and yet, what was I doing? Eating raw fish doused in soy and (faux) wasabi.
The texture of the sashimi, (fish without vinegar rice) reminded me of exactly what I was eating and that, in fact...it wasn't cooked. And in fact, cooking it would have ruined it completely.
I've gotta say, though, tonight's dinner was FABULOUS. And the fried rice with my teriyaki steak was the best I ever had! We made certain that our server passed our compliments on to the kitchen!
Family & Vocation
But the best part of the evening was just being with my family, to include my brother's girlfriend. Food, sake, wine and family. What can be better?
They are also curious about my upcoming trip so I explained what I knew, and they want me to come down for dinner again after my first trip in July. We might well return to the same restaurant...so how, in good conscience, could I ever turn that down?
As it is, I'm very grateful for so much right now. My family seems to be warming to the idea of my possible Vocation and they're curious about the life that seems so mysterious to them...and why it interests me. It's hard to explain to my non-practicing-Catholic brother and his girlfriend of the same mindset how God is at the center of everything.
Just the same, I'm grateful for their support. Tonight I brought home the large suitcase from my brother's luggage set. No one is trying to talk me out of this, Mom approves and understands why I'm going.
We did have a short discussion on how, especially, the cloistered communities come to be. How do they build their buildings? How do they live? I explained how they make products to sell, how people support them. My brother can't fathom this. I reminded him that this is how all the great cathedrals were built...from support of the people. Everyone paid for it.
Same with religious communities...benefactors support them, even as they work to support themselves.
I didn't tell my brother that I'm understanding this more and more. God is powerful. This summer I'm able to go on these trips to discern God's will through the same method that built the great cathedrals and maintains various religious communities today: faith and benefactors.
It will maybe be a long time before I will be able to explain any of this to my family. Even as they watch with interest and are wiling to help, they don't all understand. And that, actually, is beautiful, because I know that in that mystery, God is revealing Himself to them.
We all give witness to God through our lives. That doesn't mean we share everything, every detail, but rather that we live as God is calling us to live, follow Him in ways that might be uncomfortable for others to witness (and maybe us to follow!), and slowly, He is revealed.
As I've said over and over again, I'm not a Saint. I'm a train wreck. I'm a plane crash. I'm a husk of a burned-out relic of a car on the side of Route 66. My family knows this very, very clearly, and so does everyone who knows me.
Nothing that is happening to me is happening because of anything I've ever done. But if God can work through someone like me, it shows His glory, His perfection, His love, His mercy. And if I can take a step back and hide behind all that wonder, then I am willing to step up and take this risk.
It's still difficult, but I'll admit that the fact that my Mom and brother are cautiously supportive is amazingly helpful as I prepare to finally take this huge leap in July.
Maybe all it takes to bring people together is a little sake and raw fish. Oh, and the Rosary.