Our Lady's Garden
November 28, 2015
I hurried into the room, already hearing the rosary in progress. It had already been a busy day and I had worked hard to be able to join in prayer with these beautiful women that I call friends. I quickly removed my coat and settled into a chair knowing something was wrong, really wrong. “What the heck is going on,” I thought.
The leader of the rosary continued but when the group joined in, there were three distinct refrains at a different pace. One individual was praying in a slower fashion, much slower than the leader and is customary. Another faction was responding to her by increasing their pace. Yet another group held tight to the pace of the leader. I really needed to feel the power of this prayer and didn’t feel up to choosing sides, I prayed silently hearing only dissonance.
noun: dissonance; plural noun: dissonances
1. lack of harmony among musical notes."an unusual degree of dissonance for such choral styles"
2. a tension or clash resulting from the combination of two disharmonious or unsuitable elements."dissonance between campaign rhetoric and personal behavior"
Dissonance. The sound of disagreement or the inability to agree is everywhere. At holiday tables, hosts silently pray to avoid dissonance. That everyone will have a lovely time, that they will enjoy one another’s company and end the visit on good terms. Why is that so rarely the case? Why do issues that are mundane as sports teams and child rearing issues that cause rifts between siblings, parents and friends. Why do some make others feel like they are “walking on eggshells”? Why?
Why can a group of grown adults not blend their voice in harmony, lifting a common prayer to heaven laced with petition, praise and thanksgiving? I don’t know. What is was about that day that made a prayer a competition, I do not know. I do think that dissonance is harmful. I believe it makes communication difficult and sometimes wounds individuals.
I enjoyed a beautiful Thanksgiving. I couldn’t ask for more, not one thing. I am grateful that my children played, laughed and talked. I pray that no one felt left out because being lonely in a crowd is the worst kind of lonely.
I think the world we live in can be so polarized that people feel like they have to carry their flag into battle always. Perhaps, they feel if they don’t counter wrong, they condone it. If they don’t correct every wrong, they become part of the problem. I see their point, I understand the issue, I just know that that perspective can go too far, seeking misunderstanding and questioning every motive. That is not the life Jesus calls us to live. He calls us to love one another, to not count the cost, and to forgive.
Mother Theresa gives us guidance in this area. She used her opportunities on the global stage to defend the innocent and vulnerable in the presence of leaders who should have felt ashamed of them selves in her presence. Yet, she spoke the truth in love.
May God bless and keep you this day, and when you encounter dissonance please remember to pray. God is always with us, we ought not forget.
The following verse is attributed to Mother Theresa and was found written on the wall for the children.
People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and
some genuine enemies.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.
Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten.
Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.
Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway.
It has been a long time since my last post, I am sorry.
So many opportunities lost due to the lack of time to write.
Thank you for bearing with me.
All is well, very well.
I have traveled many miles since my last post and enjoyed much laughter.
May God bless you this day,
November 21, 2015
TV Trays and Black Friday
As we enter this Thanksgiving Day week, many are awaiting the “Happiest Day of the Year!”
It is not Thanksgiving Day,
no, it's not Christmas Day.
It is Black Friday.
Just the words “Black Friday” sound sinister, almost evil. The term Black Friday isn't evil as I understand the term to be a retail reality at the point of the year when retail stores begin to show a profit for the year. Accountants would use red ink to indicate a negative balance and once the business crossed into the profit margin the ink would be black.
Of course, Black Friday is more about shoppers and that’s what made me think about TV trays.
I remember TV trays fondly. Everyone had them in the 60s and 70s and I didn’t think much about them but I have decided they were a bad idea.
The way I imagine it beginning is this –
Cue the nostalgic music . . .
After saving up for a television, the family begins enjoying amazing entertainment in their homes.
Every night, another popular show plays to the glee of the entire family.
Next comes the amazing invention of TV dinners – simply amazing!
Each family member gets to choose their own entrée!
Mom slips the meal into the oven and Shazam!
Out comes dinner – everyone is pleased.
One day, TV trays appear. (My personal favorite was the ones with a floral arrangement design.)
Now, all can enjoy the evening, eating dinner while watching TV.
. . . stop the music.
I remember TV dinners. They were neat. We had them whenever we had a babysitter. It was a “twofer” - a perfect evening of food and freedom. In my house, we didn’t eat TV dinners as a family. We didn’t eat outside the kitchen table and we didn't eat in front of the TV. Well, maybe there were a few special occasions but TV was not a part of the evening routine I remember as a child. There was homework, dinner, homework and bed. I do remember when we visited relatives and the adults wanted to talk, out came the TV trays, from their decorative stand, and we would sit on sofas and watch TV and eat. I liked it.
There was one summer when we did eat TV dinners. My dad was at National Guard training. There was a sale on TV dinners, 10 cents each. It was 1972, but that was still quite a deal. We loaded the cart and licked our lips, TV dinners every night. The dinners never cooked quite right, you see, one portion of the tray was never done - to be returned to the oven. Of course the dessert was always worth it but the variety that was once exciting: Salisbury Steak, Turkey and Stuffing, Chicken Dinner, two weeks later was not.
Let’s just say we were not enthused, less hungry and the excitement was over.
What does that have to do with Black Friday, you may ask? A lot. At their arrival, TV and its dinners and trays were exciting, so exciting. What could be better, ease and entertainment.
I also remember when Black Friday sales after Thanksgiving began. The deals were amazing! Family already gathered together shared the excitement of a good deal and getting Christmas shopping done - ease and entertainment.
I think that's the way most bad ideas begin, full of excitement and promise.
Year after year, the competition between stores fueled bigger and better door busters. The starting time crept earlier and earlier and closer to Thanksgiving day, often called “Turkey Day”. Finally, the sales crossed over and the early bird was shopping on Thanksgiving and store employees were working rather than eating dinner with their families. What a deal.
We bend the rules, and then we break them.
Who ever thought eating dinner in front of the TV was a good idea?
Who ever thought eating dinner sitting on the couch was a good idea?
That’s just nuts! Looking back, does anyone think that was a good idea?
Does anyone think entertainment is a good replacement for family conversation?
Look around, does anyone notice the damage caused by this "good idea"?
Growing up, my grandmother’s sofa was a big deal. She was proud of it. I remember early on, it was covered in plastic to protect it. The arm covers were never removed and an afghan covered the back to assure no stains. Then the TV trays arrived and we sat on that couch and ate dinner, my brother and I. I am sure we were careful but sitting on Grandma's couch eating dinner must have felt odd, weird.
It made as much sense as shopping on Thanksgiving Day.
May your family and Thanksgiving be blessed as you gather around the dining table and celebrate the many gifts given by God. I will include you in my prayers of Thanksgiving, as I am so grateful for you.
God is Good, All the Time.
All the Time, God is Good!
A Thanksgiving Consecration
We consecrate this Thanksgiving Day
to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
through the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
We offer You this day with a joyful heart and a grateful spirit.
Please bless our family and friends, bless our time,
and our conversation.
May our relationships be renewed and any division be healed.
Grant us safe travel as we offer all to You!
In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
January 2015 Blog