Tuning In - Long Distance Care Version

When I was in the novitiate, I often found it easier to blog about the deeper stuff using a little trick I call tuning in. Simply put, I set my itunes/ipod to shuffle and see what songs (and possibly message) emerge. As I've eluded to on the blog, I've been preoccupied of late with something happening 3,000 miles away as my Dad faces a pretty major medical situation. It's hard to share, but at the same time it seems like this is the stuff I should be blogging about both for myself and for others. So, this Sunday evening I thought I'd try this old trick and see what happens. So, ipod set to shuffle and we have ....

1. “My Soul is Longing” by Monica Brown
My soul is longing for you my God
At mass this morning, we sang a different song, "Center of My Life." In the midst of all the craziness of my life at the moment, it felt good and right to be singing "O Lord, you are the Center of My Life. I will always serve you, I will always praise you, I will always keep you in my sight." Sitting in church, singing these words, I felt a deep longing for God, even if words fail at the moment. The readings and homily were all about prayer, and perseverance in prayer.

2. “Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want” by the Smiths (listen)
“So please, please, please,
let me, let me, let me,
get what I want
this time.”
Ok, so if I'm honest, words don't fail. The only words that come to me these days in prayer are these, and what I want is for my Dad to get better and to have a good quality of life for a few more years. No matter how much my spirituality has deepened over the past years, at times like this it really is this simple.

3. “Jesus, Your Heart is a Womb” by Margaret Rizza
Open to mystery, God in the trinity
Jesus your heart is a womb, holding our humanity, wounded in fragility
Which brings us to images of God. In the midst of everything else going on in my life these days, I'm taking a very interesting course in Christian Anthropology. Our readings this week were from Fragmentation and Redemption by Caroline Walker Bynum about, among other things, images of men and women and images of God in the middle ages. One of her main points is that in the middle ages, Jesus was often imaged as having both masculine and feminine characteristics. Funny given that I'd spent the day reading such things that this song came up in the mix!

More to the point for me, is my own image of God. Yesterday I needed to get away and so I went for a little drive to Snoqualmie Falls. As I was standing there at the lookout watching the majesty of the waterfall, I found myself thinking of God. One the one hand, for the most part I no longer think of God as the puppet master God, moving us around and making things happen because we ask really really nicely. And yet, as song #2 illustrates, part of me wishes it were so because then God could just fix it. Then, looking at the waterfall, I thought of how powerful God is. How amazing all of creation is and love, human relationship, etc... And I admitted quietly, to myself and to God, that I'm a bit confused.

4. “Australia” by the Shins (listen)
I felt like I should just cry,
Worried and confused. Holding it together for the most part, until some kind person asks how my Dad is doing and then I lose control of my control.

5. “Saint Rosa and the Swallows” by the Thermals (listen)
passing all the days I switched to auto mode
This week it's 7 years since my mom died. 10 years since she got sick. 6 years since my Dad had an accident that shifted his life. Most of the time during all those years, life has gone on. For one thing, I managed to stop ignoring my heart's desire and took the leap into religious life during that time. My sister, brother and nephew got married. Another brother got divorced. My niece was born. And just his past year, my sister adopted my adorable new nephew. Good, beautiful and wonderful things have happened in my own daily life too. But there are also moments, like these past two weeks, when what's going on 3,000 miles away has much more significance than what's going on here, and really I'm just making it through on auto mode.

6. “Sing a Song for them” by Jenny Lewis (listen)
Sing the song for them
If you sing a song, sing the song for them
With all the suffering in the world, and with all the family members, friends and loved ones on auto pilot, it's amazing that things happen at all if you think about. But they do, because there's more than just the pain and suffering. There is love, relationship, solidarity, all the good things that come with being human. Yes there's pain, but part of the mystery I think is that we're all meant to be together with each other, in the mix of the pleasure and the pain.

7. “Sidewalk” by Built to Spill (listen)
What hasn't changed for you
Can you wait for the sidewalk
Waiting for you
Can you wait for the sidewalk
Can it wait for you
So life goes on. We can't wait for the sidewalk--it's already there--waiting for us to step out onto it and go for a walk. A silly song (with a catchy tune) but true. It's a gentle balance during these crisis times. Taking the time, taking care, while also being as present as possible to the life you are in. So great to have the support of community, even if sometimes I just need some personal space. But I know they are there. Same with family, even if the siblings are also thousands of miles away. Together, we will get through this. And life will go on.

Those are my deep mixed up thoughts this Sunday evening.


1 comment:

Pachyderm said...

Thank you, Sister. I've used your technique of "tuning in" a few times myself to help me hear where I'm really at - that and being still and writing.

Holding you and your dear ones in my heart and prayers.

Sr Therese