Monday, September 26, 2011

Hospitality; the relationship between guest and host; generous and friendly treatment, a disposition of equals

8 year old finally gets her birthday party in the park (we had been overcome by events as they say), and when we arrive the first girls - triplets- are there and come running, shouting her name in joyful unison.  She responds by running in their direction, matching their shouts with her own voice calling to them, each by name. 
Arms wide, they collide in a happy chaos of giggles and girlish thrills.
It's such a sweet greeting I snap away some photos and know this is one for my pocket heart.  Husband and I set up the party while they play and blow up balloons.  We are just about finished when the other girls start to come. 
Each time one arrives the whole scene is replayed, just for them.  Loud exclamations of delight, their names fill the air as they are greeted with wild embrace, jumping girls with flying hair giggle and hold on to one another, pulling the newest one along into whatever activity they were doing; making ready room for all. 
The late party-goer, who is also the newest member of their class, is greeted with equal enthusiasm, her name shouted all the more (there are more girls to squeel the delight of her being there) and soon enfolded, given everything she'd missed as they divide up their own treats to welcome her.  Soon I cannot see her in the tangle of ribbons and wrapping paper, heads together as they share in the happiness of the moment, a pile of girls on a blanket spread under a tree at the park. 
I am soaking it in, when across the way we hear another group break out in singing Happy's another party and the girl they are singing to is 86 today.

"You have found it in your heart to welcome me! When I saw your face, it was as the face of God smiling on me. Please accept the gifts I have brought for you. God has been good to me and I have more than enough."  Genesis 33:10

Friday, September 23, 2011

Sacred Heart

"Change is God's way of teaching us new things..."
As I begin my new work at Sacred Heart, so many 'little things' have pointed me afresh to the heart of God ... most obviously (God knows with me I am slow to catch subtlety) that little Ignatian group we started and living the 19th annotation in common, to VBS when I was Mon Frere Chef Pierre and spontaneously used Sacre Coeur to affirm the love of Jesus in the children, to prayers laid upon the outstretched arms of a hollowed out Christ carved from driftwood that has always been to me the Sacred Heart, to the realization as I see photos of how often I touch by habit my own heart or the heart of the one I am embracing...

To leave the place that has become my family these 19 years brought with it a grief ripe with gratitude that I would be so knit into this community that it was hard to say goodbye.  St. Therese taught me in her people to "stop and smell the roses", to rely on the constancy of God's grace, and be thankful.

Where I felt the uprooting tug and tear in leaving where the Lord had long left me to grow strong, I now can sense the eagerness of my own roots sinking into the rich soil of this new planting by God's hand, this garden of grace.  I have been surprised by peace, by a deeper openness to trust in the heart of God, confident in God's abiding presence.  As my phone chimes it's prompt for the examen (1:15pm, works better after lunch for me, before I dig into the afternoon tasks) I find myself only grateful; that God is with me, and in this moment, that I know it.