Thursday, April 29, 2010

Jacob's Ladder

I'm not sure if my time with Saint Bonaventure has been going amazingly well. The second class was canceled as a variety of reasons led to only one other capable of coming to the church, so instead I chatted with her and her husband at her house.
The first chapter had me hoping for a flow chart and I am not one to hope for such things. But so many things being divided into so many parts, and being doubled and then and then... my mind was swimming to see how everything was connected. And when I sat down with my friends at Holy Trinity... it made for a struggle.
But things linger. Like when he I read this out loud...
9. Since, then, we must mount Jacob's ladder before descending it, let us
place the first rung of the ascension in the depths, putting the whole
sensible world before us as a mirror, by which ladder we shall mount up to
God, the Supreme Creator, that we may be true Hebrews crossing from Egypt
to the land promised to our fathers; let us be Christians crossing with
Christ from this world over to the Father [John, 13, 1]; let us also be
lovers of wisdom, which calls to us and says, "Come over to me, all ye that
desire me, and be filled with my fruits" [Ecclesiasticus, 24, 26]. For by
the greatness of the beauty and of the creature, the Creator of them may be
seen [Wisdom, 13, 5].

At home I loved this paragraph's passionate call to have our soul, the image of God that resides within us, go out and seek God. However, "Jacob's Ladder" didn't resonate in my soul. It rang strangely in more than one friend as I read the paragraph, but another friend loved it. I opened my ears to her voice and then my imagination to the possibilities. Can you see yourself on that ladder climbing to God?
and then back to your life, family, friends, enemies, jobs, houses, neighborhoods...
Bonaventure hoped to inspire folk to take the first step. I can see myself climbing. My mind can recognize many who are climbing along with me. We ascend to God only to descend the ladder with what we are filled with as we climb.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Axis... dancers

not long ago, Mosaic Woman and I went to a dance concert. Since then I have been waiting for words to come into my presence to make a blog post. I am tired of waiting... here is part of one of the dances we saw.

... do you have words?

Friday, April 23, 2010

my teaching blog comes back

Why it slipped away in August and why it failed to truly return in November is not for here or there, but I think I know why.

The NSTC in Philly is given some credit for bringing it back in April. I changed the blog's name by adding two words and since then I have posted about...

sizing up the microscopic and the end of an era

a bizarre spring

wikispaces in the classroom

our hero, David Attenborough

and my gratitude for an amazing assistant


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

my fortune... is to have the friends to tell my story

In less than a year, I have told you about...

Lyme Disease
a Car Wreck
a House Fire
a Sprained Ankle
Lay-offs and more lay-offs
an Uncle's death
a rather nasty case of food poisoning
a student taking out his anger on a flower garden

My fortune on Saturday read... "remember to share good fortune as well as bad with your friends."

I am so glad you have also listened to me tell you about...

8 days at Wernersville
friends who gather on Monday nights
a woman who makes mosaics
and let us not forget Thelonius Monk or the Apocryphal women who almost made it into the Bible.

feeling blessed this evening.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

after Ignatius, Bonaventure

I found it odd to be sitting in an easy chair watching a fire the day after the fire in my neighborhood. But I did as I rested my ankle.
We had just finished touring the Hildreth Meiere exhibit at St. Bonaventure University, and as Mosaic Woman made some purchases, I got intrigued by this guy...
St. Francis, a granite sculpture
by Beniamino Benvenuto Bufano.
But as we toured the University enjoying the architecture, my mind became curious about St. Bonaventure. I knew nothing about the man. So as I sat in front of the fire, I wondered if those, who lost so much in the fire, would ever enjoy watching flames; and I decided that I would bring St. Bonaventure to Monday nights at Holy Trinity in Lansdale.
So I have been reading about his life, and I just finished reading the prologue to The Soul's Journey Into God . and I may be moving in a good direction. we will see.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Our time with Ignatius came to an end

The crowd was a bit thin on Monday night when we finished off the contemplation that ends the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius. I promised those who missed that I would pass on the final two points, which follows a pondering of how much God shares with us and pondering this statement, "Give me your love and your grace, for this is sufficient for me."

1. in my own words... imagine creation coming into its constant being by the continuous labor of God. All the plants and animals exist because of God's effort to create it. then reflect upon yourself.

2. "consider all blessings and gifts as descending from above. Thus, my limited power comes from the supreme power above, and so, too, justice, goodness, mercy..., all descend from above as the rays of light descend from the sun, and as the waters flow from their fountains"

imagine that!


Sunday, April 4, 2010

wrapping up our time with Ignatius

A friend asked about the examen and it grew into several Monday evenings at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, where I did my best to present the spirituality of Ignatius.
As for me, what I have emerged with is a deeper meaning of the Examen. The last two times we gathered, I presented some thoughts from the final chapter of Finding God in All Things by William A. Barry, SJ. In that chapter Barry speaks of "The Contemplation to Attain the Love of God" or "The Contemplation for Learning to Love Like God."
In one of two points Ignatius makes before the contemplation he speaks of mutual sharing. God provides creation for us to be aware of, and in return we examen our day and tell God what caught our eye and how it touched our heart or stomach.
I had set a Lenten goal to do an examen everyday. I have not done one (at least in my usual style) since the fire. If you have read this blog the past week, then you know I have felt waves of sadness. My stoicism is only so strong these days... one could say because of doing the examen off and on fro several years.
Finding God in all things... Saturday I went to the school because I wanted to check on the seedlings and pick up National Geographics for a friend, who needs some for her classroom. I came home with Easter flowers from a fire house just down the street from the school.
As I parked by my house, I saw a door wide open across the street but no cars. I walked over to see what was happening and stood in that doorway for about 10 minutes. I came home reeking of smoke and hoping that over time healing will happen to the man I spoke with and his family, and that they will hopefully live there again. I know healing can happen. I also know it can take a long time.
Tomorrow night we will spend our third Monday evening on that final chapter.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

fire and glass and more Lyle

inspired by this blog post, I left this comment...
wildest dreams ... to heal and become whole. and it may just be beautiful if not horrific in origin ... thinking about fire, houses, lives, smoke, volunteers, neighborhoods, and glass. may not be a sermon, but just may be a blog post that percolated yesterday.

I found it ironic, that five hours after the fire trucks left my street, I was standing in my favorite museum. A museum which would be nothing, if not for fire.

I hand the camera to Mosaic Woman and say, "I am going over there, take some photos..."

and so I hope and pray and watch as the not so damaged houses get cleaned, and I walk across the street to listen to my neighbors tell their story, when they emerge with the light of day from where they scatter to at night. and as I moved through my life, another song covered by Lyle Lovett comes out of the place, where it had been resting inside my brain...

If I needed you would you come to me
Would you come to me, for to ease my pain
If you needed me I would come to you
I would swim the sea, for to ease your pain.

Well, the night's forlorn and the morning's born
And the morning's born with the lights of love
And you'll miss sunrise if you close your eyes
And that would break my heart in two.

If I needed you would you come to me
Would you come to me, for to ease my pain
If you needed me I would come to you
I would swim the sea, for to ease your pain.

Baby's with me now since I showed her
How to lay her lily hand in mine
Who could, I'll agree she's a sight
To see a treasure for the poor to find.

If I needed you would you come to me
Would you come to me, for to ease my pain
If you needed me I would come to you
I would swim the sea, for to ease your pain


Thursday, April 1, 2010

thoughts on animal communication... of crows and men

Every so often, I hear a student calling out like a crow. I leave my classroom. Frederick Buechner tells his story in his books. He believes it leads to healing. I agree.
Back when I was a bit of a punk, I watched birds. One thing it has told me about myself is that I am a visual learner. Maybe I have an auditory memory issue, but I just have had a terrible time associating calls with birds. There are exceptions.
There is a call which crows make when they encounter a hawk. Other crows come and together they do the best to make the hawks life miserable. as I explained to one of my zoology students...
OK, if a friend of yours was being threatened and they sent out a text message to the masses that led to you and others to come flocking. You would be behaving like a crow. This afternoon, when you go into homeroom, if your teacher makes a loud caw caw caw noise, and I come over to see how I can help. You will deserve an A in this class.
every so often, I am called by my student to visit the classroom. I think it may amuse him to have such power over me. However, I know it is not an emergency. The tone is not of distress. Our brain is wired to associate pitches with meanings. That is how we communicate with others and with dogs. A whine is clearly not a growl.
What I heard the other night as a family screamed in horror is a tone that haunts me. What I heard yesterday heals me.
The man, who once helped me to fix a flat tire, and his wife had come to check on their house. It turns out the couple with little girls are still their neighbors, but now in the hotel rooms supplied by the Red Cross.