Friday, July 30, 2010

Our "Life-giving" Gifts

July has certainly been a month for prayer. I had started out the month with concerns of a possible "lump" or "mass" seen in my check up. Rather than re-filming right away though, a look at history was a more conservative way to go so we needed to wait for films to be sent, etc.
I had decided not to have any concern, as there is some benign history in my family tree - and it was likely along the same lines. I really wanted to focus on not getting worried. Still every now and then there were fleeting thoughts of "what ifs"... and "how would"... with every effort to remind myself that not knowing anything yet was no cause to despair. My focus quickly turned to those who are suffering, and to those that did suffer so much, and we lost not so long ago. During this time of not knowing if there was or wasn't an issue, I put together the above Pink Ribbon Rosary in honor and memory of my dear friend Cyndi.
Also, during this last week, a much more difficult experience happened to another dear friend of mine. After suffering an illness after a surgery, it was explained to her that she likely had cancer, but it required further testing to confirm. Prayers were fervent for this woman, intercessory prayers requested from all over. The news after testing was even more grim. The family was devastated - preparing themselves for the "what ifs" that just became their reality. Working through an initial mourning at an impending loss that would take away a wife, a mother, a grandmother... then, a bit later the same day, another call. The final pathology this time shared a different story - "it's not cancer after all..." he said. Yes, I'm told it was a roller coaster of emotion.
That same evening, in looking at the San Damiano Cross icon, our priest was pointing out a few of the icon images - "and here's Lazarus with the burial cloths wrapped still on his head". And, just then we spoke of how this family had suffered a loss, and gained a life back in the same day. In their eyes, truly a miracle.
How often have we suffered a death, only to have the gift of life given back to us in the Lord's immeasurable mercy, and we don't even see it? This "good news" that was shared with this family, and within our parish truly has given us a fresh look at appreciating those around us, and finding life after death. When I see a newly baptized member of our church, it is such a heartwarming moment of "new life". The same when seeing a married couple that can renew their life of love, after years of challenges, and the priest through the mercy of God absolving us of the deadness of sin, through the healing or "life-giving" sacrament of Reconciliation. The story of Lazarus really gives us the opportunity to see how precious our lives are, and how much we are loved.
So today, at the end of July, I received my little "life" moment. After viewing more films, the radiologist assured us that there was nothing there, I was fine. While I do not want to make something out of nothing, I am so thankful for this gift I received. Looking at life a little differently, not for worries sake; for the opportunity to look around and appreciate even more the grace that I am given each day I live my life, and every blessing I receive.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Faithful Servant Arts...What's in a name?

One retreat morning years ago, at my place setting, (randomly chosen)(?) was a tile that had the words "Faithful Servant". I have kept the tile in front of my mirror for years.

It is very strange, the twists and turns life takes when I participate in it. Yes, I admit, I fully participate in my life, the best that I can. A strange comment, sure, but as I look back on what has led me to where I am today, I am certain it cannot be me. I would have never in my life expected to be a blogging, etsy-arts-crafting, cd slinging, twittering catholic. Yet, here I am. And, yes "Jesus, I do trust in you."

Putting out a CD has never been on my "bucket list", but, once I read about Mother Antonia and her sister's and the lives of Mercy that they emulate - I really wanted to do something to help earn some money to send to them. The Divine Mercy message has such meaning in my life, that putting together Mercy is... became a way for me to help spread the message, and help a cause that helps others realize that mercy.

Also, I have certainly been interested in art as a hobby, first with drawing, as a release I guess. Starting in my 40's, I really just wanted something to do on my own. I found that the most meaningful pieces to me were those that were an expression of faith. In hindsight, this is not so surprising since I had really stopped "performing" any music years ago - yet am so richly engrossed in the beauty of music in the liturgy. Able to let go of my insecurities, and participate in the love of music in my life at mass. There is no place I would rather sing than with the angels during Holy Mass.

So, completing the cd, and having photography, and arts, filling my soul (and my shelves for that matter), I realized my true interests lie in whatever I can humbly do that will glorify God. This is where "Faithful Servant Arts" comes from. First, I strive to be a faith-filled, and thankful child of the Lord; a true servant (in-training, I am nowhere near the servant that Mary was, or many other saints ), and perhaps through my expression of love for the Lord - some might see Arts.