For The Hard Days

Today isn’t a hard day, by they way, so no sturm und drang. It’s better that way. But on those days that are hard, for they will come and come again, I want to tell you about something that gives me comfort. I don’t know the origins of this practice – someone told me about it months ago, and I’ve been wanting to pass it along. It goes like this: On a hard day, or any day, see if you can make it to mass. If you can’t physically make it, direct your heart to the nearest tabernacle. At the offertory, put your struggles on the sacred vessels. Put your whole heart there. Watch as they’re carried up to the altar. Watch as the newly consecrated Precious Body of Christ is placed back down on them.

That’s all. You don’t have to feel anything. It’s less about your sacrifice, anyway, and more about knowing that the deepest needs and desires of your heart are right there next to Him.

(On a related note, there’s a story about St. Josemaria Escriva that I love. I think it was when he was staying at the home of a bishop during the Spanish Civil War. He was praying alone in the chapel, and there were some newly-consecrated sacred vessels on the altar. He went up and kissed each one, so that the first time Jesus arrived there He would be met with love.)

I hope today isn’t a hard day for you, but I’ll put your needs there with mine, whoever you are. And I don’t mean this to be preachy – yeah right – I just think it’s beautiful.

I Did Not Know That

“The Worst Case Scenario Survival Game” may have to become a regular feature around here. It’s both entertaining and helpful. For example:

How To Foil A UFO Abduction

A. Never travel alone in the woods. No UFO abduction has ever involved more than seven people.

B. Dress like a tourist and carry cameras and a map. Appear willing to go with the aliens.

C. Focus your thoughts toward the alien. Tell it, “Leave me alone. Go away, I have a virus.”

I did not make any of that up. The correct answer (in bold) is C, by the way. If I had met an alien before I read that I would have been all, “See my cameras and map! I am a tourist! Take me to the mothership.” Close one.

 

Wednesday Things

It’s one of those dark mornings, when the night never really ends. It’s good and thundery out, and the rain can’t make up its mind whether or not it cares. It spits or pours on the debris in our back yard – Snert’s bike (oops), the roller skate in the rose bush, bats and things.

Inside, we’re cozy. I’ve had my two cups of coffee, snug in my chair. Snert is finally up, banging doors. I don’t know if there’s much in life that’s more pleasant than a morning started off right. I see us spending the rest of it in front of the fire, reading our favorite books and dreaming about the Spring that’s just under ground. I know it is.

But we don’t have a fireplace, and I get so lazy about reading.

Here’s to the infinite possibility of the day just begun – the peace and warmth inside when it’s booming outside. A metaphor for the soul, what?I hope so, anyway.

I’m so glad to have a home.

Memory

For our first date, Cisco took me to Greek town for dinner. He was a dreamboat, so my busting excitement combined with a deep fear of eating-related mishaps (spitting in his face, choking on my own spit, fork missing my mouth, mouth full when asked a question, need I go on?) meant that I could hardly swallow. (Never one to keep things simple, it was also important to me that I not be one of those girls who eats like a bird. (Because that would be a lie, because I’ve never eaten like a bird, or even a small flock of them. Lay off me, I’m starving.))

Even with all of this Very Big Drama, I made it through the meal just fine. Cisco pulled out his stud moves and ordered flaming cheese for an appetizer. That’s about all I remember. Also, he brought me yellow roses, and we were like two years old.

That night comes back to me now and again, and brings with it a mix of emotions: relief that I don’t have to go on first dates any more, embarrassment over being such a spazz, and horror at the pig-dog way I eat now. Yeah, that’s what this is about.

When we were engaged some friends were telling us about the perks of marriage, things like, “you get so comfortable with each other you can go to the bathroom with the door open!” For the record, that is a lie. I have not I will not. That thought strikes me with the same level of disgust today as it did then (but to each his own or whatever?). We don’t need to “go” together, we don’t need to clip our nails together, and we should not eat like a barnyard animal. Me, I shouldn’t. Cisco’s table manners are super.

It’s this eating together every night for years… I forget. You know food amnesia? It’s like road amnesia – when you’re driving a car and suddenly you realize that you don’t remember the last ten miles – except with dinner. You’re spacing out, wondering how long that one chandelier shade has had those weird stains all over it, when your eyes shift back into focus and you realize that you’re hunched over your empty plate um… panting. You look up to see Dearly Beloved staring at you, pale and dead-eyed. Time stands still. You swallow.

He smiles weakly, but it’s too late.

It’s too late.

(Music swells and the lights dim as she breaks into poignant but commanding ballad. Scene.)

Conversations With My Phlebotomist

She’s tapping my veins and looking at me suspiciously. “Why do you keep coming in here?”

“I’m having my progesterone tested and I have to have multiple draws to figure out what it’s doing during my cycle.”

“Why?”

“Well, PMS mostly.”

“No way. That’s a real thing? I thought that was just something men made up!”

“Um no, it’s real. Either that or I just have a bad personality. Ha ha.”

“Well, I didn’t want to say it. So, what does your husband say?”

“….?”

Come on. He thinks it’s awesome, lady. He thinks it’s the flipping best.

I guess it wasn’t bad as the time before that, though, when she told me, in graphic detail, about the murder of her husband’s friend.

“… So they don’t even know how long he was lying there with his head beat in before they found him.” Slaps a bandaid on my arm, “You’re all set!”

“Um, thanks… sorry about… the murder.”

I don’t know. It bothers me when conversations don’t have a normal resolution.

Say What Now?

Cisco and Snert were playing “Worst Case Scenario Survival Game” yesterday. It’s a game made for Cisco – basically like Trivial Pursuit for out-doorsy types. You get a question and three answers to choose from. This has just recently become a game one of us can play with Snert, because he is a new reader, and I love hearing him sound out words like “buh-bonic plagoo” and “con con con taminated”.

Anyway, Snert was reading a question to Cisco – something about how to treat a sore lower back.

“Number one: Stretch it out and put ice on it. Number two: Lie on your back in bed, and don’t move for four whores.”

 

“Um, Hours?” says Cisco.