Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Magic Wand

Sometimes life seems so seriously wrong that we believe that we may need a magic wand and that if we had such a tool we could wave it and make whatever problem at the moment correct.

Magic wands come in a variety of forms. Sometimes they come in the basic relaxation skill of breathe ~~~ exhale. When things go awry I often hold my breath. This does not facilitate thinking very well. It does not encourage living very deeply either. Holding ones breath creates havoc all its own.

Magic wands are often medications prescribed by medical professionals to cure what ails a person.

Magic wands can often be found in these words: I lay my hands upon you in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, beseeching our Lord Jesus Christ to sustain you with his presence, to drive away all sickness of body and spirit, and to give you that victory of life and peace which will enable you to serve him both now and evermore. Amen (BCP, p.457)

Magic wands can be used in times of frustration. After long suffering and patience tested to a tiny thread I have heard one person say “I will just go in there and wave my magic wand and everything will be OK.”

I have witnessed magic wands at work during a furniture moving adventure that was instigated by no one doing the actual moving. After stopping three times to secure the ropes, I heard a very brave young woman pat the furniture and say, “It will be just fine.” and she got in the truck and drove home. It was just fine.

A Magic wand is found in the words: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Surgery to remove a part of the body that is not playing well with the majority of the body may be a magic wand. I know of several people who have lived very fantastic lives through the great mystery of modern surgery and I am glad of it. Without these mysterious wands of science I would not know some amazing stories about sugar cane, or the Great Depression or how candy was made by my Grandmother, a Confectioner.

Magic wands come in several shapes and sizes and in words such as Sister. My magic wand today was hearing the voice of my Sister. It healed what hurt and gave me a smile and some peace. After all isn’t that what we want from magic – a smile?

Friday, February 16, 2007

Father Freeze and Forgiveness – a rather odd combination

"Not to forgive is to be imprisoned by the past, by old grievances that do not permit life to proceed with new business. Not to forgive is to yield oneself to another's control... to be locked into a sequence of act and response, of outrage and revenge, tit for tat, escalating always. The present is endlessly overwhelmed and devoured by the past. Forgiveness frees the forgiver. It extracts the forgiver from someone else's nightmare."
~Lance Morrow~

OK, so Lance did not know my Dad, neither did Father Freeze. Neither of them knew how stubborn I am either. It is probably a good thing for both.

The priest that said the Mass of burial for my father was ROMAN CATHOLIC. No doubt in any fashion, he knew the rules of the faith and he was going to follow them. I learned at a very early age that the rules of that religion did not suit my faith as it was developing and had clearly chosen other thought processes to occupy my time while in school. (Yes Becky that is how those grades you found came to be – I deliberately chose not to pay attention.) I had thought that God was much bigger than the rules and tenants of the Roman Catholic faith. God loved everyone and the thought that some of my non-Catholic friends would go to Hell because they were Jewish, Protestant or Episcopal simply did not make sense to me. Surely the Indians of Peru did not need to become Roman Catholic to go to the Great Maker. I thought I read that they were very reverent people – surely the care of the earth and respect for life was what God wanted from us all. I saw at a very early age the universal part of religion and never quite left that thought behind.

So as the Mass planning progressed I realized that there would be no Joy in Who-ville at that service. I realized in complete affirmation why I am no longer a Roman Catholic and just had to decide how abiding I was going to be. By all rights I could receiver Communion because I was Baptized Catholic. Somehow that solidarity did not bode well with the guiding voice from within that day.

I was sad for Fr. Freeze and I was sad that Dad had raised us to think for ourselves and had to be handed off to eternity by a man that did not have an original thought or way to express Resurrection into eternity to a grieving family.

God Bless my sister. She smuggled Jesus to Becky who was reduced to a mass of tears by the statement that the Body and Blood of Jesus was for Catholics ONLY and the rest of us could stay in our seats. Forget the blessing of the heathens – we were chastised and left to rot in the pews.

So my children – they were also raised to think for themselves – finished singing every verse of the exit hymn and then got in their respective cars and called a priest who understood thinking and celebration of Resurrection.
Good for them I say – Good for them. Lance was being proven correct:
“Forgiveness frees the forgiver. It extracts the forgiver from someone else's nightmare.”

My children understand forgiveness in totality. It may take a few days to process the forgiveness to completion, but when all is done, they are free. There may, at times, be well placed comments about stupid choices or actions done by others to them or their friends; but generally when they are done forgiving life continues at its regular pace.

I knew that I had to forgive Fr. Freeze before the end of the day. I had enough to handle and carting that man along every step of the way was more validation than he deserved. He needed to be left in the pew.

So today, in my head, that is where Fr. Freeze is sitting, in a pew waiting for the Joy of Resurrection to be delivered to him. I only hope that every time he has to say a Mass of burial for a family he hears the haunting sobs of my daughter and the heat fails to work.

My God is an awesome God.
My God is a big God.
My God is a strong God.
My God loves everyone even Fr. Freeze.
My God made us all to celebrate life and the lives of those we love.

So tonight as you rest your head on the pillow – think about being finished with the things, actions and activities that were not working so well for you. Say, “I am pretty much done with that, moving along now, different horizons to see, different ideas to think, and different people to love. I am free to do this. God loves me and wants me to love others the same way He loves me.”

See how you feel in the morning. I bet you walk straighter and I bet your feet feel lighter because you are not carrying the past anger with you as you traverse the world.

Walk gently and leave nothing but footprints. That is what Lance, God and my Dad would have wanted.


Thursday, February 8, 2007

I am missing my community

Since mid-August there has been an amazing community about me.

A wise father, an amazing husband, two loving sisters, a jolly brother-in-law, three stellar daughters, one splendid son-in-law, eight nieces and nephews ranging in age and interest, one niece in law who rocks my world, two grandchildren who are the apple of my eye, and a few stout and strong friends, work cohorts in various locations, family of said people, friends, and acquaintances at church and online.

Tonight I am missing my community. I am in my very nice home that looks like I live here, smells like home to me, is familiar in all it sights and sounds, comfortable and comforting, and is about all I ever want in the way of a home. I have spoken to just about everyone mentioned in the above litany except my wise father.

I saw birds at the feeder today. I have been waiting since December to see them. The snow is staying on the branches and it fills up your eyes with wonder at their beauty. It is cold and quiet outside and yet there is an amazing peace at the sound. My sister saw a shooting star tonight, her first ever. My sister passed her "inspection" at work.

I hear my Dad say "Look here, I am still near you. I will stay for as long as you need me to be here." Well Dad, we need you to be near for a while longer.

Thanks for keeping us safe through the snow storm we traveled through to get home. Thanks for teaching me how to write well all those nights you dictated book and history reports to me and I was so tired that I could not see the page, much less understand what you were saying. Thanks for just about everything - even the times when our ideas did not meet in the middle - you taught me that one can use your problems as a hole to climb into or turn the hole upside down and use it as a step up. I think without the adversity of our relationship during my teen years I would not be the kind of person I am today.

I am helping to give a sermon on Sunday February 18, 2007. I expect you will be there, please bring Mom.

We are also having another celebration of your life and witness in spring, with lots of music of varied sorts and different writings. A well thought out celebration. We need to be able to celebrate you the way you raised us - with thought and caring - not by some cut and dried - no room for love formula dictated by a church that knows about its rules but not about LOVE. You are also welcome to hang out with us then, bring Mom she will enjoy the sounds and she always loved a party.

Well the clock is blinking 10:38 pm. I need to sleep. My community is safe and each in their own home and I know they miss each other too. I heard you chuckle when I told this story.




Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Home sweet Home

It took us 9 hours to travel from Cleveland to Columbus because of the weather.
It was 2 hours from Columbus to Cincinnati - maybe more because we took a tour through some country roads and listened to Dad tell us stories in our own heads and then we went to eat lunch
I am thinking that Grandpa said to make them struggle to get home so that they will appreciate it more and God said OK
I called Tony while we were in the car. Tony said that he would plow the driveway and keep and eye on the house. Good ole' Tony.
Now if you are my children you are hearing me in my most affectionate affirmative way echo the sounds of the Italian neighborhood I grew up in. Yo Adrienne, would have been a sound you would hear in our neighborhood - - maybe sometimes Yo Estella, would ring through your window along with the wafting smell of sauce and meatballs and pizza. These little tiny Italian women making meals that would feed the multitudes and they were so tiny these women - it made you wonder how they lifted the pots - - maybe that is why we heard "Yo Tony, come here a minute."

Eulogy February 5, 2007

Bob, Grandpa, Dad
My father was a Chemist
He knew that all things in life had weight, mass, properties and a lifespan.
My father was a Professor.He taught in a myriad of ways and on a vast variety of topics.Walks in the parks were always full of history, science, biology and natural history lessons. He could tell you what tribe walked what glacier area in what period and they ate what natural food to survive in the forest you were traversing. It was a most amazing thing.
This natural ability to teach about nature instilled in his children and grandchildren and great grandchildren a love of the environment and learning that will be carried into the future for the betterment of the world.
While he always had a book that he was reading most of this knowledge was in his head and in his heart and he shared them freely. Loving was a natural state for Dad.
My father was a professor. He taught a variety of Chemistry courses, Photography and he tutored his children in whatever class they happened to be struggling with at the time. In my case, I always have lived far away from home, when the children came upon a puzzlement we called Grandpa and if the call was before 11 pm you could guarantee the correct answer delivered in a way that would impress the information in your head but also in your heart.
Bob, Dad, Grandpa he taught you as an adult and let you walk through your lessons with gentle words and a full dose of worry on his part. He always had kind things to say about whichever sibling I asked about. He would just say that she is having her fair share of troubles. Leave it at that and let me find out the details on my own.
We three sisters are much the same. We weigh and measure things in our own fashion. I am an administrator trained in sociology and I measure things by process. Bobbie is a nurse and she measures things that reflect the human condition with a special love and affection for the geriatric set. Mary Ann is a pastoral and human care giver and records the lives of many people in her gigantic heart. We all like a certain amount of order and quiet in our lives. We all have learned that being respectable is a hard thing to attain, but worth its weight in gold.
Some of these words that I use here are a summation of statements that I have heard over the last few days. Words used by his grandchildren and those that came to love him over the last 82 years. I never heard a word against this man I call my father. He was respectable and respected.
Dad always had a lesson for you if you wanted to listen but never forced you to learn. Gentle and kind he gave us his character and when it is all said and done that is a great gift that can be handed over to his progeny.
My father, being a Chemist, kept records and journals long before it was the IN thing. When we were dismantling the homestead we found a variety of forms that kept the record of change over a lifetime. There were checks and bank records dating back to the mid 1960's. There was every possible warranty for every item that he and Mom owned. Didn't matter - it was kept for the record. Dad also was aware that he had a lifespan and started keeping the record of that change in his human coil everyday, for many years.
I found it quite revealing that the last place the calendar was marked was the week of his birthday, January 22, 2007. Pen in the book, rubber banded to the week of January 21, 2007.
Dad was aware that the changes that were happening meant the properties and masses and weights of his body were ending.
When the doctors told us that the body was not playing well with the world Dad said, "guess that they cannot fix me anymore." He asked for his time piece to be removed, he was done measuring time, weight and mass.
He then proceeded to give us the most peaceful lesson on Eternal life that anyone has ever seen.
His granddaughter said that his dignified way of going into eternal rest was so plain and straight forward that the words Eternal Rest will always ring with his dignified exit from this life.
Bob, Dad, Grandpa, hero, teacher, friend, inventor, counselor, husband, role model and gift to the world, you will be missed more in your human form than I can express, but we will always carry you in our hearts.
With love, Franny, Bobbie and Mary Ann