A DISCONCERTING REAPPEARANCE

Once upon a time a young man who had been reported killed in action came home from a prisoner of war camp. His family and his buddies and even his girlfriend had mourned him as dead and then more or less got over their grief.

His sudden reappearance was disconcerting, to say the least. They had all loved him, but they had in effect written him out of their lives. His girlfriend was engaged to marry someone else. Moreover, he didn’t seem like the boy who had gone off to war. He was thin and haggard and haunted.

However, he was now mature, self-possessed, and, astonishingly, happy. He hadn’t smiled much as a kid and rarely joked. Now he was witty and ebullient all the time. A quiet kid had become an outgoing adult man. He didn’t fit in the patterns of relationships he had left behind. Quite the contrary, his happiness and maturity were unsettling. He congratulated his former girlfriend on her coming marriage and shook hands cordially with the fiancé. There’s something wrong with him, everyone said. His family went to the priest. There sure is, the priest said – he has risen from the dead and now acts like a saint.

Source: Andrew M. Greeley, April 20, 2003
www.agreeley.com

CONSIDER THIS

  • “Anyone who comes to me but refuses to let go of father, mother, spouse, children, brothers, sisters—yes, even one’s own self!—can’t be my disciple.” – Luke 14:26
  • “What requires courage is being willing to disappoint and upset all those friends and family members who want us to stay the way we are, because they want to stay the way they are. It’s being prepared to redefine success and failure, and to become a fool if need be. At heart it’s being willing to receive information from the darkness within, so there can be less of us that is buried, and more of us resurrected.”  -David Weale
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HOUSING HOME

Mother and Rosie – her four-year old daughter – were still living in a motel as part of an unexpected and unplanned move. They were now, as it were, in limbo and in-between houses. Mother, feeling sad and bad about staying in a motel for such a long time, told Rosie, “I’m so sorry we don’t have a home.”

Rosie, with a twinkle in her eye, and without missing a beat said, “mama, we do have a home, but we haven’t yet found a house to put it in.”

Source: Unknown. Retold as I remember it

CONSIDER THIS

“Home’s where you go when you run out of homes.” |  John le Carré, The Honourable Schoolboy (Penguin Canada, 2006)

I LOVE YOU SO MUCH

At the end of a busy day, a man and his wife were sitting at home on the veranda in the quiet of twilight, broken only by the sounds of the gentle wind and the swash of the waves. They were enjoying a glass of wine together.

As the sun slowly sank below the mountains, she broke the soothing silence saying, “I love you so much I don’t know I could ever live without you.”

The husband, a tad surprised, asks, “Is that you or the wine talking?”

She replies, “It’s me … talking to the wine.”

And the two burst out laughing!

Source: Recycled and retold by Philip Chircop sj

CONSIDER THIS

Learning to laugh a little more just may save your life, not to mention your marriage. To paraphrase Henry Ward Beecher, “A marriage without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs – jolted by every pebble in the road.”

Still not convinced? Listen to these other voices:

  • Laughter is an “instant vacation”. | Bob Hope
  • You can’t stay mad at somebody who makes you laugh.” |  Jay Leno
  • We cannot really love anybody with whom we never laugh. | Agnes Repplier

WE DO CANCER

Richard was a widower; his wife had suffered a long and painful death from cancer.  Then he met Celia; they came to love each other and each other’s children dearly.

Less than a year into their courtship, Celia discovered a lump in her breast.  She had gone to the doctor alone and was alone when she received the devastating news: the lump was malignant.

Once the reality set it in, her first thought was for Richard and his children.  They had been profoundly wounded by cancer only a few years before.  They were still healing from it.  How could she bring this terrible thing into their lives again?

She called Richard immediately and, without telling him why, simply broke off their relationship.  For several weeks she refused his phone calls and returned his letters.  But Richard would not give up and begged her to see him.

Finally, Celia relented and arranged to meet him to say goodbye.  When they met, she could see the deep strain and hurt on his face.  Richard gently asked Celia why she had broken up with him.  Finally, on the verge of tears, she told Richard the truth: that she had found a lump in her breast, that it was malignant, that she had undergone surgery a few weeks before and would begin chemotherapy the following week.

“You and the children have lived through this once already,” she told him, “I won’t put you through it again.”

He looked at her, his jaw dropping.  “You have cancer?” he asked.  Dumbly, she nodded, the tears beginning to run down her cheeks.

“Oh, Celia,” he said – and began to laugh with relief.  “We can do cancer …  we know how to do cancer.  I thought that you didn’t love me.”

Oh, but she did.  And they got through it together, happily married.

Source: Rachel Naomi Remen
My Grandfather’s Blessings
(Riverhead Books, 2001) pages 203-204]

CONSIDER THIS

The Gospel of compassion and reconciliation is “fulfilled” every time we act selflessly. Whether we can “do cancer,” whether we know how to comfort and listen and console, whether we can make a soup kitchen or a tutoring program work … whatever gifts and graces we possess can work great and wondrous things when done in the Spirit of the God who came to set us free.

CAN I BUY AN HOUR OF YOUR TIME

How Much Money Do You Make, Dad?

A man came home from work late again, tired and irritated, to find his five-year-old son waiting for him at the door.

“Daddy, may I ask you a question ?”

“Yeah, sure, what is it ?” replied the man.

“Daddy, how much money do you make an hour?”

“That’s none of your business! What makes you ask such a thing?” the man said angrily.

“I just want to know.  Please tell me, how much do you make an hour?” pleaded the little boy.

“If you must know, I make $20.00 an hour.”

“Oh,” the little boy replied, head bowed. Looking up, he said, “Daddy, may I borrow ten dollars, please?”

The father was furious. “If the only reason you wanted to know how much money I make is just so you can borrow some to buy a silly toy or some other nonsense, then you march yourself straight to your room and go to bed.   Think about why you’re being so selfish.  I work long, hard hours every day and don’t have time for such childish games.”

The little boy quietly went to his room and shut the door. The man sat down and started to get even madder about the little boy’s questioning.  How dare he ask such questions only to get some money?

After an hour or so, the man had calmed down, and started to think he may have been a little hard on his son.  May be there was something he really needed to buy with that ten dollars and he really didn’t ask for money very often. The man went to the door of the little boy’s room and opened the door.  “Are you asleep son?” he asked.

“No, daddy, I’m awake,” replied the boy.

“I’ve been thinking, maybe I was too hard on you earlier,” said the man.  “It’s been long day and I took my aggravation out on you. Here’s that ten dollars you asked for.”

The little boy sat straight up, beaming. “Oh, thank you daddy!” he said. Then, reaching under his pillow, he pulled out some more crumpled-up bills.

The man, seeing that the boy already had money, started to get angry again. The little boy slowly counted out his money, then looked up at the man.

“Why did you want more money if you already had some?” the father grumbled.

“Because I didn’t have enough, but now I do,” the little boy replied. “Daddy, I have twenty dollars now.  Can I buy an hour of your time?”

Source | Ernest Kurtz, Katherine Ketcham , Experiencing Spirituality:
Finding Meaning Through Storytelling (Tarcher 2014) page 98

CONSIDER THIS

To prove his love for her, he swam the deepest river, crossed the widest desert and climbed the highest mountain. She divorced him. He was never home. – Rose Sands

 

CAN I BUY ONE HOUR OF YOUR TIME

A man came home from work late, tired and irritated, to find his 5-year old son waiting for him at the door.

Son: ‘Daddy, may I ask you a question?’

Dad: ‘Yeah sure, what it is?’ replied the man.

Son: ‘Daddy, how much do you make an hour?’

Dad: ‘That’s none of your business. Why do you ask such a thing?’ the man said angrily.

Son: ‘I just want to know. Please tell me, how much do you make an hour?’

Dad: ‘If you must know, I make $50 an hour.’

Son: ‘Oh,’ the little boy replied, with his head down.

Son: ‘May I please borrow $25?’

The father was furious, ‘If the only reason you asked that is so you can borrow some money to buy a silly toy or some other nonsense, then you march yourself straight to your room and go to bed. Think about why you are being so selfish. I don’t work hard everyday for such childish frivolities.’

The little boy quietly went to his room and shut the door.

The man sat down and started to get even angrier about the little boy’s questions. How dare he ask such questions only to get some money?

After about an hour or so, the man had calmed down and started to think:

Maybe there was something he really needed to buy with that $25.00 and he really didn’t ask for money very often The man went to the door of the little boy’s room and opened the door.

‘Are you asleep, son?’ He asked.

‘No daddy, I’m awake,’ replied the boy.

‘I’ve been thinking, maybe I was too hard on you earlier’ said the man. ‘It’s been a long day and I took out my aggravation on you. Here’s the $25 you asked for.’

The little boy sat straight up, smiling. ‘Oh, thank you daddy!’ he yelled. Then, reaching under his pillow he pulled out some crumpled up bills.

The man saw that the boy already had money and started to get angry again.

The little boy slowly counted out his money, and then looked up at his father.

‘Why do you want more money if you already have some?’ the father grumbled.

‘Because I didn’t have enough, but now I do,’ the little boy replied.

‘Daddy, I have $50 now. Can I buy an hour of your time? Please come home early tomorrow. I would like to have dinner with you.’

Source | Unknown

PONDER AND CONSIDER

“To be in your children’s memories tomorrow, you have to be in their lives today.” | Barbara Johnson

In the Gospel of John we read that “there is no greater love than this, to give your life to the people you love.” (John 15:13). As I see it, life is time, and time is life. If you want this verse to touch you differently, exchange  the word “life” for “time” and read the verse again:  “There is not greater love than this, to give your time to the people you love.”

How are you using the precious gift of time to nurture healthy relationships?

SHOW ME THE KINDOM

A Christian who went to study Zen in Japan met a Zen master who asked her what was moving in her spiritual life.

“I dwell a lot recently on the idea of the Kindom of God,” she replied.

Instantly the Zen master said, Show me the Kindom of God!”

Source | Unknown

PONDER AND CONSIDER

  • You get nowhere by telling a Zen master about your ideas.
  • As it happens, the  woman in our story went on to eventually become a Zen master, and she spent much of her time and energy in prison ministry – setting captives inwardly free.
  • She is now through her daily deeds showing us the Kingom of God.
  • And where do you stand? Are you perhaps still stuck in ideas or unstuck in some form of social engagement?

NOTE

Please note that for me at this time in my evolution the ‘g’ in ‘kingdom’ is silent. Not pronounced. It’s really ‘kindom!’ ! The real purpose of God, I believe, is to build Kindom more than Kingdom. Kingdom is about hierarchies. Kindom is about all of us opening our eyes to see how everything and everyone is in fact a kin, a brother, a sister, a sibling. It is about building life-giving, relational connections: locally, globally and internationally … between different religions, faiths and denominations … between friends, strangers and enemies … between ourselves and those neighbours we never speak too … with all those who are different from us. It is also about forging some form of creative connection  with our four legged, winged and finned creatures and the environment.