"Do now, do now, what you will wish to have done when your moment comes to die." [St. Angela Merici]

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Heartbreak of Heaven

By Micky Wolf
Throughout the spring and early summer, much of the central and eastern areas of the United States have been on the receiving end of record-breaking storms. The result? Rivers of mud, piles of busted trees, miles of broken utility wires, and countless homes and families turned upside down amid the destruction.

When I was a child, someone told me rain is the tears angels make when they weep.

And then there's the western part of our country, continuing to bake in wave upon wave of blistering, unrelenting, heat. The result? Acres of burned forest, miles of barren landscape, people struggling to eke a living from the earth that once provided a bounty of fruits and vegetables for the rest of us.

They didn’t tell me what it meant to the angels when the ground became so hot and dry the town square would resemble the desert, minus an oasis.

Some people believe there’s a Divine association between the weather extremes and the present state of our nation. Are we being subjected to flood and fire, as a precursor of beginning of the end of some kind of Cosmic Judgment?

One thing seems to be certain. The time when one could stand by in the shadows, or observe from a distance, uninvolved or unnoticed, is rapidly disappearing.

It might be tempting to believe we can try to run and hide from personally taking responsibility for our choices and actions. Considering how well that worked for Adam and Eve, not sure that’s the answer.

Of course, the present reality to believe that story to have any basis in Divine truth is optional.

Back in the day, one guy had a revelation it might very wise to build a very large boat. Although, given the present reality, believing that story to have any basis in Truth, Divine or otherwise, seems optional as well.

As a youngster, there was something very comforting in believing the angels cried with me when I was hurting or my world had been turned upside down. Being a grownup makes it a little harder to hold to that idea.

On the other hand, I didn’t have to live too long to know heartbreak is for real. And so is Heaven, for that matter. Then again, believing either of those realities as rooted and grounded in the heart of a compassionate, loving, Creator God, is a personal choice as well.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

When Different is the Same

By Micky Wolf
Earlier this spring my beloved spent the better part of a week installing edging along the perimeter of the landscaped areas around our house. After taking detailed measurements, he set off to purchase bricks, along with bags of sand that would provide a level base.

Because the job was somewhat tedious and labor intensive, he worked for four or five hours at a time. Once the front and two sides were finished, only the back needed attention. Given how nice things were coming together, he had plenty of impetus to complete the project.

Once again, off to the store for bricks and sand.  As he unloaded the trunk of the car, it took only a moment—could it be true? Yes. The red is red, but is it the same red? Nope. The photo above illustrates that point beyond a shadow of doubt.

Good news? All of the back would be the same. The other three sides would also be the same.

Bad news? Same won’t be same all the way around.

Turns out each huge pallet of bricks is likely to be a bit different shade. Makes sense. Same rule of matching applies to wallpaper, carpet, and fabrics—which is why the experts tell you to get all you need at one time to avoid variations. That wasn’t an option for us as we don’t have a truck.

We pondered the situation for a few moments, but both agreed: we could haul the other hundreds of pounds back and hope to get several new batches matching the ones he had just brought home. Or, we could go ahead with what we had. It was a no brainer. (Years ago I would have gotten myself into a heaven-forbid-it-isn’t-all-a-perfect-match tizzy. Not anymore.)

Nevertheless, here’s the interesting part—of all the visitors to our home in recent months, not a single person has noticed. Not. A. One. And believe me, a few of them would have no problem pointing it out had they picked up on the differences.

Here’s the bottom line to this little brick story—most of us, starting at an early age, notice some sort of variation or imperfection in one another. And if that’s not enough, sad to say, some of us can also get pretty good at looking in the mirror and picking out our own.

And yet, there’s an unavoidable truth here that we must pay attention to if we call ourselves Christians—not a single person, past, present or future—exists apart from the will of our Creator God to breathe us into being.

The variations in our outward appearance, along with a host of other exterior things we might observe, have little to do with the person we are on the inside, or, maybe more importantly, are in the process of becoming.

When we choose to carry that truth within our hearts, the greater the possibility we will give less time and energy to searching out what we consider to be imperfections—in others or ourselves.

Accepting different as the same is to embrace what makes each of us unique and special from a Divine perspective. And in the process, live out our piece of the greater plan.

Do I tend to look for the variations/imperfections in others? In myself?

How do I feel about embracing my unique self?

Of giving the gift of acceptance to others who appear different?