It was sometime in the fourth grade that my ten-year-old nose was coerced into cohabitating with a pair of spectacles. At least that’s the year they started showing up in school pictures, little pink cat eyes that made me look perpetually shell-shocked. I hated wearing them, and finally in high school vanity prevailed over common sense. The glasses were banished to a dresser drawer even though I was extremely near-sighted.
Not surprisingly, the beauty quotient was negatively impacted by an inability to make meaningful eye contact with cute guys. (Or anyone, for that matter.) I never realized that the opposite sex was misinterpreting major myopia as a lack of interest. Fortunately in college I stopped living in denial of perpetual F’s on eye exams and started wearing glasses again. (Which remarkably, was followed by dates. Go figure.)
Later, eye surgery meant the freedom to go prescription-free for about eight years; it was incredible to wake up in the morning able to read the alarm clock! Ironically, around that time my eyes started to change again. If you’re over forty you know what I mean. And that eventually took me back to square one and glasses 24/7. Continue reading
Last Friday afternoon I was tearing around the house like a bat out of hell, tossing things in a suitcase helter-skelter and keeping one eye on the clock. I had an appointment with God in western Tennessee. In a moment of weakness, I’d signed up for a guided silent retreat at a convent somewhere on the way to Memphis. All I knew is that it was two and a half hours from Franklin and it didn’t take second grade math to figure out that I was leaving too late to arrive on time. Sigh! Not the best way to begin my weekend of retreat from manic modernity to silent listening.
Welcome to my world. Too much to do – good things, most of them – and simply not enough time to get them done. Was I nuts to waste two perfectly good days doingnothing? It made no sense (or maybe all the sense in the world) to intentionally carve out forty-eight hours – three days really – of a precious weekend to go away and just be still. That is, to shut up and listen to God. Continue reading
It is December 31, 2010, and the world is hovering between the old and the new. Our New Year’s Eve plans were cancelled at the last minute when the hostess was hit with a nasty case of the flu. So here we are at home waiting for the guitar to drop on Lower Broadway, and reminiscing about the highs and lows of the past three hundred and sixty five days. I won’t bore you with the details of the upheaval and trauma that our family experienced last year. You probably had your own, maybe more so.
Over time, bad memories soften and fade. But these past twelve months will probably live on as one of the best/worst years of my life. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair. Charles Dickens wrote those words in 1860 but he could have been describing my life in 2010. Unlike Great Expectations, however, it was the spring of despair that turned into the winter of hope. For that, I’m very grateful – not that the year is finally over, but more that it came at all, and even more thankful that when it came, there were friends offering a hand to pull me up, a shoulder to lean on, a listening ear, or a thoughtful word. Continue reading