Archive for April, 2006

Spring Flowers

Sunday, April 30th, 2006
Spring Flowers

The Sacred Passion

Saturday, April 15th, 2006

This is a meditation based on The Way of the Cross… Peter, James, and John who walked with Jesus up the mountain of the Transfiguration must have wondered what Jesus meant when he said, “My soul is sad, even unto death…watch with me.” Read what Jesus might have been thinking on The Way of the Cross….

I’m sad about being alone when I go into the horror of pain and death. Much later, not now, not today, you will see me “sitting at the right hand of the power and coming with the clouds of heaven.” At the right hand of the Ancient of Days, the Holy One, the Holy Immortal One. But not now, not yet. Today I am called a blasphemer. I have no inheritance, no possessions, and no friends. They who hate me hand me over. Those who receive me hate me. I who was a strong tall sapling born out of parched earth am rejected today, avoided, held in no esteem. No one feels my need. I trip and in the dust, the blood, mud-like paste, sticks to my wounds as I struggle to stand, for I must go on though he tramples on my very spirit. Blood and mud, like the color of wine, stain my garment that clings to my legs, holding me down. There is no one who weeps for me. She first wrapped me in clean linens called swaddling. Warm and secure. Now my legs are bound and wrapped in this blood-red rag and I cannot move. But I feel the weight coming off my shoulders a little. Let me see who that is. A stranger lifts my pain a little. He doesn’t want to. He’s like I was last night. Not wanting to. Don’t be afraid, gentle strnager. Look at me. No! Look here, at me! Look at me! Even he would avoid me if he could. If only I could tell him whom he helps. But one day he will know. You who tred on my spirit, allowing this pain to afflict me. You! Listen to me! I look for you! I beseech you! I can’t see the path! Blood blurs my vision and I stumble again. I lie in the dust. I can’t breathe. My mouth tastes my blood. A cool dampness touches my fevered face. For a moment I am transported to a place beside a river where he promised he loved me. A woman wipes my face and touches my lips but I can’t speak. Thank you my friend. You don’t know me, but you risked death at the hands of these rabid dogs who pursue me and tear at me. You sacrificed your safety for me. Father, bless her. I must move on. I leave the cool comfort of that damp cloth. I leave one who helps me. A gift for you Veronica. A gift. Knowledge of who I am. I must move on. A sheep to be sacrificed for many. They wander, lost, without any guidance and I will go take their pain so they can be filled. Father, I am cut off and alone so that my friends may be healed. Heal them and send a guide so they no longer wander, poor, lost, and scattered sheep. Weeping, I move forward. Do you think I am weeping for myself as you weep for me? I do look a sorry sight don’t I? The lost and beaten Son of One who is gone away. But weep not for me as I do not weep for myself. “Weep for yourselves and for your children” who can’t see me or hear me. Or is it that they won’t? They do what they will, not what the Father wills. “My eyes run with tears.” Why has the Lord afflicted me with his blazing anger? Father forgive them for they cannot console me. They don’t know me. Give your word again, Father. Give life again. Give commands again. I lie in the dust so that they may have life. Father! I can’t bear this! I can’t see. I can’t speak. I can hear the roar of their jeers. They would devour me. I am weak and ravaged, yet you are my strength. It is in my weakness that I am strong for then I lean on you. They strip my clothes. The mud-dried garment sticking to my skin rips my skin off. Naked I came and you held me. Naked and alone I lie here while nails pierce my flesh. They steal my bloody clothes and turn their backs on me to play at dice. Then they raise me up. With a fearsome noise the beam they have nailed me to falls into a hole. The jolt of that setting in place shocks my every nerve. That wild animal scream; is that me? Reduced to this? A beaten, skinless beast, raw and screaming? Bind me, Father. Heal me, Lord. Let your waters pour out on me. Hatred and bitterness continue to beat at me. The hands that reached out to comfort the afflicted and rejected are smashed against a tree and nailed there. Father forgive them, for they know not what they do not know.

Father? Where are you? I was beloved. I was held against your chest. They have pierced me. But I ask you, Father to forgive them. Give them life. I know you are near for you have been at my side since the beginning. I accept your will. It isn’t easy Father. Sometimes your will is the hardest, most painful thing for me to do because I am selfish. Self-preservation is foremost in my mind. Die for them? Never would have crossed my mind. Like asking me to live with pigs — but you asked me to. You asked me to be love. And I am love because you asked me to be love. So I love them whether they act like animals or angels. They are your children Father, your creation and I love them as you asked me to. I accept crucifixion for them. Now Father, you show them the road through the cross to Resurrection. I will be life and you will help me to defy and to overcome the powers of death. In the silence I hear you Father and I move toward your chest again. Father! take my spirit into your hands and once again I put my head on your chest. Look Father. Some know me. They fall to their knees. The soldier knows. He will not let them hurt me any more although I’m already gone from them. The ones who know are sorry for having offended you, for answering you with the Cross. Look Father. They wrap my body in fine linen. Let us send forth our spirit to them. And then they too will experience the Resurrection. “With dawn comes rejoicing!” (Meditation based on “The Way of the Cross” 1965, Barton-Cotton, Inc, Baltimore, Md)

The Battle of the Nightgowns!

Saturday, April 8th, 2006

When I pack a suitcase to visit Mom in Cleveland I don’t have to pack sweatshirts or nightgowns as Mom always promises, “I have plenty for you to wear!” Every night before I get into bed, there is a neatly folded flannel nightgown for me and in the morning, another sweatshirt Mom has decorated. Well, it’s cold this year in Cleveland, and I keep looking at the daffodils with their heads bent to the ground by the wind off Lake Erie, shivering….. The wind blows from Lake Erie right into Mom’s bedroom and I feel like one of those daffodils sometimes. I climb into my Dad’s side of the bed (he’s in a nursing home) and I muse off to sleep very cosy in one of Mom’s flannel nightgowns that she has placed on my side of the bed.

Last night I got bold and decided to challenge this “it’s Spring” thing Clevelanders keep touting. “Ha!” I chortled, “It’s Spring, the Indians won the home opener and it’s time for the fancy nightgowns!” I took a bath and put on Mom’s favorite Shalimar scented body lotion. Then I approached the treasure trove. You really can’t approach the treasure trove of fancy nightgowns without the ritual of wonderful body lotions. I opened the big dresser drawer like I was 5 years old again and I viewed the neatly folded satin nightgowns in white, pastel pink and cream colors. Real lace on the necklines and sleeves, Peignoirs, and on the left, aside from the spendor, the flannel nightgowns all neatly folded. “It’s Spring!” I told the flannels, “And I’m wearing this one!” I lifted out a nightgown that looked like a wedding dress! V neck studded with little pink satin ribbons that ladies tie in bows, one by one. Sleeves edged in creamy lace and little rose colored flowers. I slipped this wonder over my head and I was transported back to an image of my Mother gliding out of her bedroom. A tall, regal woman in a nightgown of pink, purple and green. She wore slippers with little tuffs on them. To the five year old me, she was tall and queen-like. I grinned when I saw the sleeves on this gown barely fall below my elbows and the hem of the gown falling mid calf. Mom is 5 feet tall and I am a good 8 inches taller! No matter; I slid on a little peignoir and try to figure out how to tie it. I felt like a ragged urchin girl who was transported into the Queen’s bedroom. “I don’t know how to tie this thing!” I mumbled. I made an awkward bow. Mom’s size tiny-petite slippers won’t fit, so I complete the ensemble with a pair of white athletic tube socks (Did I tell you it’s freezing here in Spring-time Cleveland?) I glided out into the living room to show off my treasure and my sister gasped with joy! “You look like a Princess! You need a tiara!” Mom laughed, “Where did you get that?” she smiled too with old memories. I glanced with distain on my subjects and I glided over to look out at Lake Erie, waves crashing against the shoreline. “It’s Springtime and I’m a daffodil, standing up straight.” I grandly strolled to my seat on the couch in the wake of my spendor.

Later that night, I woke up several times and thought, “It’s cold in here. I haven’t been cold before this. What’s up? Did Mom take away a blanket? … No they’re all here. This is the same pile of fluffy blankets I’ve been sleeping in all week. Brrrrrr….” I rolled out of bed and went to the linen closet to get another blanket. I thought of the plains women who came across the wilds of America in wagons and who slept in flannel nightgowns in drafty log cabins. Well ladies! You were right weren’t you? Flannel nightgowns one and Fancy nightgowns zero.