#Randi

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

Party With Friends

This last week I attended a seventieth birthday party with fifteen high school girlfriends, We all turned seventy this year. What a joy it was!! We had breast cancer survivors, women who were still married to their high school sweethearts, and women with broken hearts. All manner and measure of life’s twists and turns had been experienced, yet we delighted in each other, being together, and being giggly girls again. You know that old joke, ‘What’s the difference between heaven and hell?’  The difference being, in hell, people starve at the banquet table because they are given extra long spoons, too long to feed themselves (hands not allowed!). In heaven, they reach across the table and feed each other with the long spoons. We fed each other at our birthday celebration. We fed our souls with acceptance, mercy, compassion, and joy. That is just the way the Lord feeds us when we can’t feed ourselves. He reaches out, accepting us just the way we are, with mercy and compassion. It is His joy to do so!

by Gracie

Daring Greatly

Sometimes just staying home and reading a good book feels like a vacation. I have been reading Brené Brown’s book, “Daring Greatly” and pondering that deeply wounded place inside each of us, which she calls shame, and its antidote, which she calls “living wholeheartedly through vulnerability.” I couldn’t help but reflect on how our Christian heritage empowers us to “dare greatly.” We are invited to bring change into our lives through prayer, the Eucharist, and the legacy of Christ’s life; to make amends for wounding others, asking for forgiveness, which takes courage in the midst of fear, and giving forgiveness to those who hurt us deeply by letting go of our resentments and anger. Being vulnerable to Christ and allowing His strength, courage, mercy, compassion, and wisdom to reach into our hearts and guide every step of our earthly journey takes wholeheartedness. The outcome brings freedom, joy, contentment, and assurance that, no matter how rocky the road becomes, we walk with the grace of God, His light shining before us, in us and through us!

by Gracie

Taking a Leap

While vacationing one summer on a lake in Idaho, my eight-year-old daughter wanted to “fly” on the infamous local rope swing. As we traversed the rocky hillside up to the launching spot, we noticed two young adults arguing.  Upon arrival, the young woman clearly afraid, angrily waved us forward and defiantly stepped back. My daughter grabbed the rope. I coached her through the safety routine, my heart pounding. What was I doing turning my daughter loose on such a dangerous adventure? If she lost heart, or let go of the rope too soon, she would go crashing onto the jagged rocks below. She backed up, took a running leap into the air, and wholeheartedly swung out over the rocks. Suspended a moment in the air, she let go, and sailed through the air making a gleeful splash landing in the water. That day, my daughter showed me how to jump off the cliff with faith, trust, and believing that goodness, and joy awaited. Since then, the times I have, metaphorically, jumped off the cliff into the arms of the Lord, I have done so, wholeheartedly!

by Gracie

Place of Hope

Last Sunday I went to mass with my daughter and her dear friend from high school. Both girls are new college graduates. My daughter is going to do volunteer work for a year before embarking on graduate school. Her friend, in contrast, is going straight to grad school in the fall. It was deeply inspiring to be in my “quiet place” with the Lord and at the same time sharing that space of hope for a meaningful and joyful future that the girls hold in their hearts. I go to a deeper place remembering the personal crisis my daughter’s friend experienced last fall that almost took her life. Looking at the prayerful hope in her eyes, I am reminded: “The Lord’s lovingkindness indeed never ceases. For His compassion never fails. They are new every morning; Great is His faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23. There is so much hopefulness in the Eucharist. I was filled with gratitude to be sharing that very special moment with each of these nascent young women. “Thankfulness finds its full measure in generosity of presence, both through participation and witness.” David Whyte

by Gracie

God Moments

Lying outside on the chaise lounge, warming as the soft sea breeze wafts by, I am bombarded by the sound of a jack hammer pounding next door. Where summer offers a more leisurely pace for some it also appears to be a time to get things fixed up for others. My peaceful reverie is destroyed. All at once the hammering stops and the soft call of a dove whispers in the air. I can feel my body relaxing. My God moments, my holy leisure times are like that too, respites in the middle of an active life style. In my God Moments I am filled with gratitude for the beautiful, the ugly, the inspiring, the not-so-glamorous, and even the very painful. I receive a glimpse of heaven in the beautiful and inspiring moments and a reminder that the Lord’s healing presence is ever present in those ugly, painful, and not so glamorous moments. I rest in the assurance that the presence of the Holy transforms all things to good for those who love the Lord. (Romans 8:28)

by Gracie

Experiencing the Sublime

This week has been about singing Gustav Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony with Pacific Symphony. The work is a tour-de-force engaging two hundred fifty musicians, including singers and orchestral players. The music sublime, the last movement in which the chorus sings, depicts the heavens opening up as a soul ascends. The music swells in a crashing crescendo of power and joy. Now that may not sound like “holy leisure” to you and there is certainly nothing serene about it! However, as a performer, the exhilaration from singing at the top of your lungs on sustained notes, creating achingly beautiful chords over the orchestra as it explodes in the fireworks of the finale, does create a place of deep reverence in the soul. It begs the question, what if every soul is embraced into heaven on a fanfare of welcoming power and joy and celebration? I am humbled by the thought. Please enjoy the last four minutes of Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony with conductor Leonard Bernstein.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rECVyN5D60I

by Gracie

Touchstone Moments

For twenty years I spent summers in Idaho on a lake. My favorite thing to do was to sit on the porch in the rocking chair with my coffee, feel the soft breeze, watch the rippling lake water and observe the Canadian geese with their goslings. I felt serene, connected to nature and as such at peace. I do not visit Idaho as much today and have missed that tranquil feeling of at-one-ment with that nature of God that I can not fathom but belong to when I am still and contemplative inside. I felt at once intimate and vast. Recently, I bought a painting that, when I look at it, brings back to me that same feeling of belonging to something grander, more universal than my own small sphere of being. It’s kind of like when you hear a song from your past, the feelings from that long forgotten era come flooding back, evoking memories. My painting is a “touch stone” for me to enjoy the serenity in the spaciousness of God.

by Gracie