#Holy Leisure

Heaven and Mirth

Have you ever had a moment when you start to laugh and are suddenly out of control? Can’t catch your breath? Tears spilling down your cheeks? Being the person that I am, I’m more than familiar with that feeling and on occasion have even been the cause of others losing “comedic control.” It is really a wonderful physical sensation! Somehow the tension just drains from your body and by the time you do get yourself together again you almost feel exhausted. At least I do. What a great gift from God is laughter! James Martin, SJ, wrote a very entertaining (and educational) book called “Between Heaven and Mirth.” Using Scripture, the lives of the saints and his own personal experiences, he shows us  “…why joy is the inevitable result of faith, because a healthy spirituality and a healthy sense of humor go hand-in-hand with God’s great plan for humankind.” Great summer spiritual reading of a different kind! Available on Amazon.

by JAM

Holy Light

A new morning light slowly brightens our bedroom as I gaze to my left, past my sleepy spouse, to our secret summer garden. Explosions of daffodil yellow, sky blue, apricot, rose, and conifer illuminate a large abstract painting given to us by our artist friend, Hedy Buzan. Last summer as I was strolling with my guitar through rows of sculptures, ceramics, textiles, crafts, and paintings at a local art festival, I spotted this gorgeous piece by my friend. Later, I took a little break from “working” and sought her out, to tell her how much I loved her new creation. With her typical directness, she asked, “When’s your anniversary?” I slightly stammered, “Um…tomorrow.” “Good. Take this home to Kerry. I’ll give you a receipt.” Every time I enjoy this beautiful painting I am reminded of her loving and generous spirit. Our Creator, the Divine Artist, has gifted us with unfathomable beauty. And the Spirit has graced us with the desire and talents to contribute (in our small way) to the masterpiece.

by Nathaniel

Our Superstar

Going to the theater is like taking a vacation for me. Last Saturday I went to see the rock opera “Jesus Christ Superstar,” music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Tim Rice. I first saw it thirty-eight years ago. I found myself equally in love with the music but my, oh my, has my theology changed! Back in the day, the depiction of Jesus as human and praying to God, as an exhausted son, separated from the Father, was plausible to me. Today I can’t imagine my Lord ever separated from His Father or His earthly mission. In the Garden of Gethsemane, when He asked, “Father, if it be your will, let this cup pass from me,” He made a statement all of us can identify with. But when He said, “Your will be done Father, not mine.” He showed us the way to salvation. Please enjoy Sarah Brightman singing Mary Magdalene’s famous song from Jesus Christ Superstar, “I Don’t Know How To Love Him.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-ChyH9RHfY

by Gracie

Eyes To See

As a spiritual director, many times I ask directees, “Where do you see God in this story or situation?” It is a time to reflect just where God may be showing up, where the Holy One may have left a handprint behind. There are many ways in our daily lives where God shows up, makes his way known, gets our attention. Our youngest daughter is living with a family in Chile this summer, teaching them English, and I have missed her so much. She knows that I love taking pictures of hearts anywhere I find them. She sent me this picture yesterday taken from her lunch plate and I felt her love, God’s love, 6000 miles away in the guise of a heart-shaped potato. It reminded me that God’s love (and others) shows up in the most unexpected places if we have eyes to see.

by Cathy

Social Politics

My son Ben likes history and politics. As he has matured into his autism, he has also matured into talking about politics in a more socially acceptable way. Ben is now moving toward making friendships and what is acceptable in meeting new people and especially meeting women.  So now, we enter the “social politics” zone.  We continually talk to him in terms of scripted conversation, the do’s and don’ts and who his audience is.  It is very difficult to dissect conversation in a factual way, that it, in a back and forth, you say this, she says that then you say this, dialogue. The room for misinterpreting and awkwardness is there but through his honesty and frankness, it is quite refreshing at times to hear him have conversations. God is like this too, speaking truth to the real, the honest part of ourselves, if we choose to really listen and take part in the conversation.  I am reminded of my own truth as I learn a new way to teach my son the ‘social politics’ of everyday talking we take for granted.

by Liz

 

Play Ball

When I first met my husband, he was playing minor league baseball for the New York Yankees. His job both intimidated and intrigued me. He played a game for a living! His livelihood depended on his ability to overcome stress and focus strictly on the present. Every day, he suited up in his pinstriped uniform, ran out onto a pristinely manicured field and enjoyed God’s gifts of creation through baseball. When his dreams of playing in the major leagues ended, he decided to share his love for the game as a coach. He now mentors young men ranging from age 9 to 18, teaching them all he has learned. He joins them on the field each day, grateful that his work is actually about playing.  I will always be thankful for the game of baseball, not just because it provides our financial means to live, but also because it has shaped my husband into a man who knows how to play in life, and he inspires that in others.

by CMM

Back Seat Games

My grandfather moved from Queens to New Hampshire in 1955, when I was just six. This was long before “super highways” and the only way to get to him was by driving for eight hours on what were mostly two-lane roads. My sister and I would sit in the back seat and play guessing games when we weren’t battling over our personal space. As a city girl, what I remember most from these trips was the beauty of the countryside. The fall visit treated us to an incredible range of autumnal colors and one winter we drove through Massachusetts just after a storm which left the forests coated in ice. The sun reflecting through the limbs made the trees look like they were dipped in silver. These gifts from God’s “palette” were like nothing I’d ever seen before and some sixty years later. I still remember that feeling of wonder and awe at what God created for us to enjoy.

by JAM

Blue Willow

My love of blue and white china started in childhood when I read the book “Blue Willow,” by Doris Gates. The story is about Janie Larkin, a little girl during the Dust Bowl Era who possesses nothing except her grandmother’s blue willow plate, representing Julie’s yearning for a home. Somehow even then, I resonated with that yearning, which I have come to understand as the universal longing for God. The cobalt blue also spoke to me of Mary’s veil, the imaginary place I would hide when I was afraid. Many years later, while browsing through an antique store, I saw a whole set of blue willow dishes displayed in what seemed like a celestial light. I couldn’t stop gazing at them. Despite having very little extra cash, I purchased one plate and displayed it in my home, a secret icon of the heart. One by one, I collected and was given many more pieces. Today, serving dinner for twenty people is no problem! Even the chipped and cracked are used and the broken are saved for possible recycling. All connect to a precious sacred history.

by DC