When I started this post about being on the road to new life it seemed as though I’m entering something new,. Something allowed me to see that this is refreshed life. That the things that happen are all part of life, that trying to separate these things out and put this experience in this box, and that in that box, and taking this out to use here and that out to use there are all part and parcel of this life experience. Specifically over the last few years I’ve learned that ignoring moments of grief, trying to tell grief it belongs only here in this part of life, grief simply demands attention. When I’m experiencing joy it is an all consuming type of experience that permeates everything. I need to give grief, and joy the same attention. There are moments when I miss my dad, my mother-in-love, and my gramma, and others who have left this earthy existence.
Since my Sweetie began applying for this work he’s doing, and we started the process of moving here to Texas the experience, while frustrating and difficult at moments, has been peaceful. I’d like to say this is weird, it’s not though. Our life together has had moves, and death, and job losses, and people moving in and out of our life. While things are not proceeding as we’d hoped, they are moving and hopefully in a forward direction. I am asking for your prayerful support for the closing on our house. All I can say, all I will say is that there’s been a delay (to some degree of course) that’s been met with patience and understanding, and that the more patience one of us is becoming impatient (that would be me.)
Usually right around Easter I reflect on my return to the Catholic Faith, and on-going conversion experience. I did have some time to reflect, however I spent much of Lent, and Holy Week packing for a move to Texas, and still wasn’t quite ready. I tried not to stop to read everything before determining whether it stays or goes, however when I found the letter I wrote to the RCIA director as some point in the process I needed to read it. The only comment I remember from the director is that I’m intense. My Confirmation Sponsor and now husband probably agreed with him. Oddly enough I have a photo from when I was a kid that confirms that this intensity is life long. What I find fascinating though is that some of what is contained in that letter is true now, I’m still intense, I’m still learning how to trust God, and to be more of who he made me.
Below is Sunday’s Gospel reading on the road to Emmaus. It is one of those readings that gets me right in my coeur for it was in the breaking of the Bread that my eyes were opened and I understood. It is this very seeing that brought me home, Home.
That very day, the first day of the week,
two of Jesus’ disciples were going
to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus,
and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred.
And it happened that while they were conversing and debating,
Jesus himself drew near and walked with them,
but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.
He asked them,
“What are you discussing as you walk along?”
They stopped, looking downcast.
One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply,
“Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem
who does not know of the things
that have taken place there in these days?”
And he replied to them, “What sort of things?”
They said to him,
“The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene,
who was a prophet mighty in deed and word
before God and all the people,
how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over
to a sentence of death and crucified him.
But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel;
and besides all this,
it is now the third day since this took place.
Some women from our group, however, have astounded us:
they were at the tomb early in the morning
and did not find his body;
they came back and reported
that they had indeed seen a vision of angels
who announced that he was alive.
Then some of those with us went to the tomb
and found things just as the women had described,
but him they did not see.”
And he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are!
How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke!
Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things
and enter into his glory?”
Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets,
he interpreted to them what referred to him
in all the Scriptures.
As they approached the village to which they were going,
he gave the impression that he was going on farther.
But they urged him, “Stay with us,
for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.”
So he went in to stay with them.
And it happened that, while he was with them at table,
he took bread, said the blessing,
broke it, and gave it to them.
With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him,
but he vanished from their sight.
Then they said to each other,
“Were not our hearts burning within us
while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?”
So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem
where they found gathered together
the eleven and those with them who were saying,
“The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!”
Then the two recounted
what had taken place on the way
and how he was made known to them in the breaking of bread.
USCCB Luke 24: 13 – 35
There is thought that since Cleopas is the disciple mentioned here that he was walking and discussing recent events with his wife. From the conversations my guy and I have had through the years I can see this being a rather intense conversation. They’re going home, disappointed that the Messiah has died, that things didn’t go quite how they expected. Somehow I see her saying, “Cleopas we should go back and be with the other disciples” and he’s saying, “we’re going home, why did we waste all this time getting to know Him and then this?!”
Then Jesus is walking with them, talking with them, teaching one more time, explaining, discussing everything that just happened. He breaks bread with them, and then, in that moment, they get it. All of it. They get that this Messiah has come to save the people. That He is Risen. That his life is completely, fully, miraculously transformed. They then, in recognizing Him in the breaking of the Bread, head back to Jerusalem, and tell their story, tell the story, share their experience with Jesus.
All of these last weeks not being able to go to Church and receive Jesus in the Eucharist has been challenging in many ways. While in a larger sense I’m hopeful as I see people reaching out, and doing for one another, I also know the ache of loneliness and isolation, and that the difficulty of the physical separation goes beyond what some can bear. We as human beings are meant for community, for relationships, for loving one another. In some ways we’re doing this well and I hope that we continue after to seek out those who are in greatest need and love them deeply.
I know for me it’s created a deeper desire to nurture my relationship with God. Right now I’m not entirely certain what that looks like going forward. Journaling, reading, prayer, patience with my Sweetie, patience with me. All of that and yet, I don’t quite know.
Last night as we watched something on his computer I kept thinking that, kept a running conversation with God saying something along the line of I don’t even know what faith is, I feel like I’ve been doing it all wrong. I don’t know that this is true. Actually I know this isn’t true. I am actively refusing to buy the lie that I’m doing this wrong, I’m not good enough, and that God doesn’t love me.
I know too that something in my quilting life is shifting. I don’t want to just go along for the ride, though that’s kinda fun sometimes. I think, no I know, I want to actively participate in faith, in quilting, in life itself. As people of faith we’re not simply along for the ride. We get to choose. Prayer is actively participating, reading scripture is actively participating, doing is a love response to God in gratitude for life. Saying to God I am not able to do this right now and I need your help, I’m sad now, I’m hurt or angry or frustrated or all of the above. I can’t quilt any more, I don’t know what the quilts are supposed to look like who they’re for, who am I quilting for, what do they need, how do I do vulnerable when vulnerable aches. How do I faith when it feels like I’ve lost the plot? These are all legit prayers. It’s not that God shows up, its more that we open our eyes and look, really look, we begin to see.
So where is all of this refreshment leading? I don’t know? What will the next quilt look like? I don’t know. What parish Church? That may have worked itself out as there are quilters at one of the parishes. What home? Who knows, there’s a little bit of something going on there. My Sweetie and I are walking this together, like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, who recognized Jesus in the breaking of the Bread.