You are currently browsing the monthly archive for November 2006.

But I am making something, a word salad of uncertain value, just
like a shoemaker or a chemist or a teacher.

Sr. Julie Vieira, IHM over at A Nun’s Life links to an article in a UK paper about sisterbloggers.  It’s great.  Here’s the link

Black Friday Five

Reverendmother here…

husband accompanied my brother this morning to stand on line for a
Nintendo Wii. They headed out at oh-dark-thirty this morning but were,
sadly, thwarted. There were 30 people in line for 6 units. They are
trying to be philosophical about it–"That’s the most I was willing to
do, so I’m OK with it… imagine the people who waited for hours!" my
brother said.

So this is a "Black Friday" Five (aka Buy Nothing Day) in honor of the busiest shopping day of the year:

1. Would you ever/have you ever stood in line for something–tickets, good deals on electronics, Tickle Me Elmo?

Not so much with the standing in line. At least I can’t remember doing it.  I can totally imagine me doing so, however.  Except, of course, if it starts early in the a.m.  No way, hosay!

2. Do you enjoy shopping as a recreational activity?  Why yes, I do, thank you for asking.  I used to have a sticker up in my room (back when I put stickers up as "art", that said: "Look Honey, sometimes I buy things I don’t need.  It keeps America working!"  – And while I am way more deliberate about what I buy, I am still me – thank goodness for that vow of poverty.  Otherwise, oh, boy, I’d be in so much trouble.  I’d have some "splaining" to do. 

3. Your favorite place to browse without necessarily buying anything.  The bookstore, of course.  No, wait, the yarn store, of course.  No, wait, the garden department of any home store…

4. Gift cards: handy gifts for the loved one who has everything, or cold impersonal symbol of all that is wrong in our culture?  Totally handy gifts.  Some, really, are just not great at articulating what they desire; additionally, some of us love the thrill of the hunt and a gift card allows us to hunt, track, grab and go.

5. Discuss the spiritual and theological issues inherent in people coming to blows over a Playstation 3.  Um, what is a play station?  I think this is one of those things where you need teenagers to explain the term….  sadly, (uh, huh,) I haven’t got any teen agers yet.  However, I can say, coming to blows over any shopped item is over the line.  Coming to blows over anything, I think, is over the line.



Today my community and her family and friends celebrated the Mass of Resurrection for my friend and sister, Rita.  It was a lovely mass and nothing like the mass I would want for myself.  She was more traditional than I, and more formal.  Yet the celebration was so beautiful and the words that her good friends and family spoke about her and how they experienced the Gospel through her were so powerful and honest that I was drawn in and wrung out by it all.  I started weeping at the opening comments by our Prioress General who, in our custom, read Sister Rita’s handwritten vows before placing them in her hands to be buried with her.  And I wept throughout the entire celebration. 

I hadn’t brought tissue (though since I cry at commercials, you’d think I’d have learned by now!).  I’m growing, it seems, in my ability to weep without getting choked up or sobbing out loud.  But, by the end of the liturgy, I felt wrecked.  And it was good to feel wrecked.  I really loved Rita.  And I will deeply miss her.  She is the first sister in my community with whom I have lived who has died.  I am  also going through a hard time right now in caring for my ailing mother and preparing almost daily for her passing.  My Mom isn’t anywhere near Rita’s age; she’s not anywhere near Rita’s spiritual depth and growth; she’s not even very near to death; but she’s my mom and I love her even more deeply. 

Today and these daily reminders of death brought to mind a poem I heard Garrison Keillor read on the Writer’s Almanac Podcast.  Things, the poem says, shouldn’t be so hard.

 "Things Shouldn’t Be So Hard" by Kay Ryan from The Niagara River.
© Grove Press. (buy now)

Things Shouldn’t Be So Hard

A life should leave
deep tracks:
ruts where she
went out and back
to get the mail
or move the hose
around the yard;
where she used to
stand before the sink,
a worn-out place;
beneath her hand
the china knobs
rubbed down to
white pastilles;
the switch she
used to feel for
in the dark
almost erased.
Her things should
keep her marks.
The passage
of a life should show;
it should abrade.
And when life stops,
a certain space—
however small—
should be left scarred
by the grand and
damaging parade.
Things shouldn’t
be so hard.

Hey, Susan Rose says that the revgalblogpalDelurk Reverend Mommy
told her that it is Thanksgiving Delurking Week!

There are so very many
things in our lives that we can be thankful for. I personally, am
thankful for such a wonderful group people represented by the RevGals
and BlogPals and our community here online. … We are having a
Thanksgiving Delurking week! … Place this image on your blog and
announce Delurking Week, starting today and running until the 26th.
When you visit a blog, you can either just say "Thank you for blogging"
or … whatever verbage the Spirit moves you to leave.

As Susan says, "let the delurking begin!"

Last Thursday I received word that Sister Rita died.  Sr. Rita and I lived in the same community (convent) for the past seven years.  We were friends and sisters.  When I moved out of the convent to come live and minister with my mother, Sr. Rita was in discernment about her own living situation too.  Shortly thereafter she moved to Lourdes, our retirement/assisted living community.  Rita had a wicked sense of humor, a delightful wit, a keen intellect and a generous spirit.  She loved beauty wherever she saw it and was a true "lady."  Also she was a 1 on the enneagram.  A perfectionist and an idealist. 

Once she commented to me that she would like to talk to me about a comment I had made at dinner one evening.  Because I almost always assume that when someone wants to talk to me about something I’ve said it means that I’ve said something wrong or inappropriate, I told her that sure, I’d be happy to have that conversation and proceeded to avoid it like the plague.  Not her, so much, but the conversation.  About two weeks went by until one day I came home and she was stranded in the elevator of our convent.  She’d been in there for a couple of minutes, had called the emergency folks to get her out and I told her I’d sit outside the elevator until they came and got her out.  As I was sitting on the outside and she on the inside, a large metal door between us, she dryly commented, "Is this a good time for the conversation, Christine?"  Oh, my!   We chuckled about that for weeks. 

We did eventually talk about the comment – it had to do with me saying that when I made my profession of obedience, I meant obedience to the whole community.  She wondered about that as in her understanding our vow of obedience was to the prioress (and her successors).  Since I understand the root of obedience to be in listening… to God, to one another, to God speaking through one another, I said that it was the whole community who elected the prioress general, so it’s the whole community to whom I owe obedience.  We had several discussions along these lines and I always enjoyed her perspective and I think she enjoyed mine.  We were two different generations, separated by two other generations.  We didn’t always agree on the semantics, but we always agreed to love one another. 

I’m going to miss her.   May God grant that we meet again on the other side. 

Thanks for the link, Susan! (She’s more thankful than I!)

That’s a high c, right?  I think I’m really a b grade thankful person right now.  I’m really really really thankful about many things; I’m deeply conflicted about some others.


You Are 78% Thankful

You are a very thankful person – for both the big and little things in life.
Your optimism is powerful. Getting through hard times is fairly easy for you.
November 2006