agnestirrito

"Whatever you think you can do, or believe you can do, begin it, because action has magic, grace, and power in it." Goethe


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Sunday’s Song: Suffice it to Say…Palm Sunday in Taos

I am at one of those places where I have so much to say, but I cannot say it all today. The specifics have to arrange themselves in the shape they want to be, but I am honoring the commitment I made to blog each Sunday of Lent. So, here I am on sketchy WiFi, typing on my phone, my dear friend Care across from me in a lodge room at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House.

I read over my journal entry from yesterday morning. Start today’s entry. Wonder how on earth a day can hold so much. Today held so much. It is one of those times you think How could all of this happen in one day? Abundance. Total abundance.

I am spending this Holy Week in Taos. It is a marker of time that keeps ticking…keeps saying yeah this is the week you were supposed to be in this place at this time.

If I told you everything so far, you might not believe me. Or you might think I’m a bit crazy. Or you might be glad. Choose glad.

The people in my path have been from every end of the pendulum. A wide arc. We are not all kindreds here…believers and unbelievers and all in between abound…but I have decided sometimes we need the disparity to recognize how much good there is. Or how far we might have to go. How much we still have to do. How much one’s presence matters in this world for so many reasons.

Today I saw parishioners process around a town square, people waving palm branches, singing, marking a moment. I saw a policeman far far down the square holding a palm branch. Waving it. And then a child, an armful of branches at the edge of the crowd bringing us lucky bystanders palms. He was in the frame of my lens and a second later his sweet voice Here. Just that.

Here. As in take it, Woman. Or as in the message be here, present right now. Or as in I see you. Or as in you need this.

Later, I see a family walking. The man (son/brother/father?) had his back pocket filled with palms. He was probably the designated carrier for the family. Maybe they were all out for lunch like we were, enjoying the New Mexico sunshine on a crisp bright day. Maybe they were filled with hope. Something about that pocketful of palms. Something that said see this.

I am seeing a lot these days. Knowing every image is leading me to a place I cannot quite see but know it’s worth walking toward…but remembering to worship the moment I am in. The deep moment of place and time…and suffice it to say I am grateful.

I am watching. Listening.

Here.

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Sunday’s Song: A Sentence and a Step

Week 5 of Lent. Easter is not far away, and my Lenten promises have pretty much gone by the wayside. But… a sweet surprise came along and helped me see that when we strive to follow a better path, things do indeed work out, and sometimes we don’t have to follow through on this plan or that goal…we just have to be the real me or you and walk on.

I met a new friend this week, one who knows me from what she saw me post on social media. We were at a mutual friend’s party and were introduced there. You may not remember this but you defended your religion awhile back. She went on to say what I’d written and the one part that stood out for her: You ended with Peace be with you and I thought wow. Yes. That.

Turns out this new friend has a Catholic upbringing. Thinks about coming back. Attends Mass when she’s visiting her mom.

She is also a cancer warrior, and has just spent several months recovering from treatments.

She’s seen a lot, been through a lot. Walked some dark roads like others have. Is still working things out. Thinking things through.

But she stood there and talked to me about one little sentence I posted months ago…maybe even a year or more ago. And she remembered that. Not because of the theology. Because of the grace. The kindness. The “no matter what you think, I hope you find peace on your way” which is how I strive to live.

Look, you cannot change people. You cannot force anyone to do this or be that, but you can wish them well. And mean it.

And while I am not the best Catholic in a lot of ways, that day she saw me as one who brought her a step closer to coming back to church. So, I am grateful to know. I am grateful to see a God who works through every person in every way…simple people like me and simple things like comments on a public post.

Grateful because I ask God routinely to help me lead others to Him…and to look for Him in them.

And this week, He said yes to all of that. And that meeting, that reminder, beats any list of things I could hope to do. So, keep on living your best day to day, not just during Lent, but any day. And God will use you if you ask Him to…and likely even if you don’t.


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Sunday’s Song: Springtimes and Sunsets and Startovers

Fourth Sunday of Lent.

Yeah, that Lenten art book I bought with such good intentions? Unread.

The Scripture study I started a couple of Saturdays ago? Haven’t made it back.

Thinking a lot about seasons and cycles and how some things never change.

Decided to start reading through some old journals to help with a project I am working on.

Realized there in black and white that my themes stay constant.

Same ole songs, day in and out.

Was almost discouraged by that. The same things I hope to get better at or stop doing or start doing are there from months, even years ago. Sigh.

Decided to sit and sew for a little while. Let the silence still my mind.

Allowed the mindful repetition of threads turning into rows of pattern remind me that row after row, line after line, a story still takes shape.

Sometimes there are starts and stops and sidesteps. Sometimes there are repetitions.

Maybe there is a break in pattern and something interesting is sewn in. A contrast. Different color. Unique stitch.

Sometimes a mistake creeps in.

But like spring cycles back with its same ole flowers and crickets and fireflies, we still welcome it. We don’t expect something new from it…not really. We just want spring to be spring.

And those sunsets that mark the end of each day…sometimes they seem closer, brighter, dearer. Maybe it is not the sun, maybe it is the viewer.

So. Take stock of your life from time to time, but don’t look back too long.

See what there still is to do…so much!

And just begin again. And again. Until you realize all the same old words have shaped themselves into the story you want them to be.

Start again…


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Sunday’s Song: Smiles and Sentimentality

This week brings me to another marking of time. March 8 will make four years since Sam left this world. Five years since knowing we were in a very bad place. Terrible, terrible times.

I look back sometimes and wonder how we made it. I would not wish what we experienced on anyone.

But if you just keep moving…

Today, our daughter Skyped with me from 5,000 miles away. She’s been ice skating on a frozen lake. She tells me of her adventures, the friends whose names I did not know five years ago. We laugh, we visit, and I am aware of the arrival of a new day. Happiness. Joy. Peace. Living.

I sit with our son at Mass. I visit his family  tonight. Laugh at the constant motion, constant buzz of his house, filled with family and laughter. Good food, good conversations. Laugh at the antics of two little girls we did not realize would be  coming to us.  Happiness. Joy. Peace. Living.

Never ever could I have predicted the days we lived five years ago. Never ever could I have predicted the happy circumstances my family lives today.

Smiles from living in the moment we are in. Sentimentality from remembering a good man who would be smiling at all of us.

Wherever you are,  whatever sadness might stun you, overwhelm you, paralyze you, breathe through it. One day, it will get better.

Maybe not in four years, or five. Maybe later. Maybe sooner. Just keep at it.

Walk —when you cannot take one more step, take just one more. Sooner or later, you will walk into sunlight. The ice will glisten like diamonds on a frozen lake and you’ll marvel at all the colors you see.

Wait—when you cannot wait one more second, a child might arrive. Or two. And they will bring laughter from a well that until then was unopened.

I have watched my children’s smiles return. I have seen real joy in their eyes.

This is a gift from walking and waiting.

So, smile when you can and remember what you must, but know that a lot of good is right down the road. Live to see it.


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Sunday’s Song:Week 2 Lent: Something

Second Sunday of Lent.

How are your plans working out? Did you decide you might do something new this season? Find a way to make Lent more meaningful? Add that extra prayer-time in your day? Volunteer to do some charitable work?

Sometimes our plans do not work out quite the way we anticipate, but in the “wanting to” we can find ways to mark this season of waiting.

At Ash Wednesday Mass, a little boy came into the church pulling on his mom’s hand, wailing and repeating I don’t wanna go to church. Several of us who saw him exchanged knowing looks. Smiles. He was wearing a shirt with the word EPIC in bold type, and I thought that word suited his reaction. I also thought

Look, Kid. You are not alone. It is not always easy being here, even when we know things you haven’t even had a chance to learn yet.

But here was a mom trying. And maybe that kid will remember– years down the road — someone made an effort to get to church. And he might drag someone in, too.

I had not planned to go to the Stations of the Cross this past Friday. No one pulled me in kicking and screaming though. I got there through a different avenue. My son was volunteering that night at the church (helping with a Lenten meal) and invited me to come eat.

I decided to go…and as I was leaving the dinner, my oldest granddaughter ran to me and begged me to take her to my house. Well, I’m not going home yet. I’m going to church.

I was not expecting those words to come from my mouth, hadn’t been to Stations of the Cross in years. Years.

I go, too. I go with you. Please.

It was a sweet moment, one that I know will not likely last. There will come a time that this ritual (and even grandma) won’t seem like a lot of fun. But last Friday night, I held my first grandchild and whispered to her as Father and the servers walked from station to station. She sang as we sang, not the words in the leaflet, but her own song.

We were not that holy of a picture. She, after a few minutes, was busily rearranging the hymnals. I had barely managed clean clothes after a day of babysitting my youngest grandchild. But there we were.

And that was something.

Something because we could look up to Jesus and say, Hey Man. We are here. We love you.

And after the short service, we got to say Hey again. We have already developed a ritual of lighting candles after Mass. We stop at the crucifix on the main altar. We nod. Ok. We wave. Hey Jesus. I love you.

She repeats.

Hey, Infant Jesus. Hey, St. Therese. Hey, Mother Mary.

We say our “God bless us all” prayer. Sofia holds the match and lights the candle.

And I say an extra prayer of thanks because this Lenten moment was not on my radar. It was unplanned, unscripted, un-everything.

It, so far, is my biggest Something of Lent.

Let Him lead you where you need to be. Be ready for something new to transform you.

He has something for you. You don’t have to do anything except be ready for it.


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Sunday’s Song: Sadness/ Starting Lent, 2018

Lent this year is already so different than last year. In the back of my mind, I thought I might return to this blog and record some little thoughts, a few reflections…but then Parkland happened.

My mind keeps returning to the thought of the students and teachers at that high school in Florida. The stories they won’t get to tell. The deep scars their loved ones will carry forever. How some of us get to live and tell lots of things. And why that is I do not know.

To know these lives were taken on Ash Wednesday reinforces my belief that there is a level of evil in this world that some refuse to see. We are in spiritual warfare.

I think about the victims and survivors and I wonder what they thought about at the beginning of February 14, 2018. Valentine’s Day. Maybe someone was going to get surprise flowers. A handmade card. Some chocolate. Maybe a dinner was planned, or perhaps an Ash Wednesday service was on the agenda. Maybe someone had started making some plans to have a holier Lent. You know, give up a favorite food. Try to stop cursing so much. Be nice to somebody that irritates you. Pray more.

Then, in a few mind numbing violent and horrific seconds, every plan disintegrated.

My little Lenten lists and plans pale in comparison to the walk of the Parkland survivors. I do not have words of comfort or wisdom for you, dear readers.

I do not want to forget. I do not want to be complacent. I do not want to be politically correct. I do not want children being killed by children. I do not want gun owners to tell me about their rights. I do not want non- gun owners to tell me we have to ban all guns. I do not want to hear Republican vs Democrat.

I want people to look up from their phones. I want people to speak to one another in civil tones. I want people to make eye contact. I want people to receive mental health care when they need it. Quality care. I want gun-buyers to have background checks. I want gun-owners to be responsible and teach their children how to use firearms safely.

I want people to admit we have a problem.

I want people who have differing opinions to respect one another. I want people who are silent to speak. I want teachers to be safe in their classrooms. And children. I want people to stop thinking it’s normal to see police on school campuses or to want that. I want people who died to not be dead. I want too much.


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Friday’s Five: December’s Gifts

…tiny gummed stars … they say old ways, old days, old sweet touches to tags and envelopes…

…sequins…I have not sewn a sequin onto anything in years, but I’m feeling that may change in the coming year. Felt and threads and little beads and sparkling sequins on something special…

…a mom and daughter were in a flea market today and they had chosen a beautiful yo-yo quilt. It was obvious they loved hand sewn things, too…little circles of fabric gathered and stitched together…a gift to be passed down through the years…

…background music…we have our own designated playlists this month…what carols and contemporary songs are “must listen-tos” for you?…

…pine and cedar and red berries and Christmas cactus and red bows on wreaths and lights on everything…

I am losing track of days…days that come and go so quickly…does any month go faster than this one? December.