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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Sestina for Easter Season

I wrote this sestina during Holy Week, about the same time I assigned this form of poetry writing to a class of Comp 2 students.  

Their results and responses inspired me, and their struggles did as well. Someone would come to class and say, This is hard or I really had to think on this. One student told another: Man, don’t wait til the last minute. This thing takes some time.

So, I decided to experience again what I often ask my students to do. The attention to the form was a discipline. The words came though. And, as often happens in life and writing and art, a simple action spurs us on to a new creation. 

Easter Sestina:


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Easter Saturday 4/15/17

Waiting.

Preparing.

Watching.

The day was filled with all of that in many forms. 

Maybe you’ve had a chance to reflect on this Lenten season, this Holy  time of preparation and  waiting. Maybe you’ve realized something about yourself that you didn’t know before. 

Maybe you’ve contemplated ways that you still need to improve.

Maybe you are  happy with your keeping of Lenten promises. Maybe you wish you had done things a bit differently.

Maybe you were given gifts of grace that brought you to tears. Maybe you realized great love.

Regardless, in just a little bit of time, Easter is coming. 

Set all your human-ness aside for that day. Look at the One who loves you unconditionally; who is ready to greet you again and again with Love. 

He has paid every price. He already knows your human-ness. He created you. Nothing is a surprise to Him. 


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Good Friday 4/14/17

I bought a rose bush this morning  to honor the memory of my best friend. A drunk driver took her away from me on this day five years ago. I spoke to her that morning. A few hours later, she was gone. 

I thought I’d die.

That year began a journey of losses and realizations and change. Over and over, death stared me in the face. Then, the very next year my  husband was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive cancer. Again…

I thought I’d die.

Some days I really wanted to. 

I do not have the answers to why people suffer and struggle. And even though some say Jesus already suffered for us all, we know the reality is that we still suffer here. 

This isn’t a post about looking for the good. It’s a post about realizing even though.

Even though there is pain and loss and suffering…

Even though we sometimes live seasons when the world is falling apart around us…

Even though we are not sure how the light will come to us again…

I’m only here to remind us all…

The Light is in you. It is deep within you and will never be extinguished. It is waiting for when the day comes you are able to walk in it again. 

Unconditionally.

Today, I pray for the broken-hearted. For the world at large. For all those who suffer physically, mentally, spiritually.

Back to the rose bush. A dear and mutual friend gave me a rose bush to plant in memory of our friend. She planted one, too. Hers, five years later is blooming in yellow radiance. She sent me a picture of it. I confessed mine didn’t make it, but today I am  trying again. Pink double blooms for a woman named Waydean. 

When I drove up with it to the area I’d decided on, one lone cardinal greeted me as if it say Finally. 

The sun is bright here today. I can feel it. 

God bless you ALL…




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Open your Eyes: A Lenten Journey 4/13/17 (Thursday)

Holy Week.

Today, at masses throughout the world, the Lord’s Supper is celebrated. Do this in remembrance of me.

Pope Francis reminds us today to take joy in the little things.

Throughout the world, believers will mark this day of the beginning of the Triduum: Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter.  

Lent is technically over now. We enter into a new set of days, one that will culminate in the joy of Easter.

I remember my mom always, but specifically on this day. I remember accompanying her to mass on many Holy Thursdays…but some years, I just dropped her off to go alone. I remember those times and how she reacted. 

She kept a sacred silence. 

There was no cajoling, no guilty glances, no preaching. She simply thanked me for taking her and always said she loved me.

I hope if any readers here do not share my faith, you will understand I feel today like my mom probably felt then. I feel privileged to walk in faith and I am honored to be present to you, with you, beside you…regardless of whether you believe or not.

The Eucharist we celebrate today means “thanksgiving”–and I honor this day by being thankful for so much. 

Peace and blessings as we continue our walk to Easter.  May you take joy with you.

 


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Open Your Eyes: A Lenten Journey 4/12/17 (Wednesday)

Holy Week.

Today I marvel at the people I encountered.

Book lovers like me at a local college event. Take all the books you want. Help us out here. My kind of place! I loaded up on books that I’ll have fun repurposing into art journals. I found some good reads in the stacks as well. And it was so beautiful this morning…a perfect temperature and light breeze among the trees as readers like myself took our time browsing.

A knitting friend I’ve known for about three years. We meet weekly at s local  yarn shop to laugh and create and enjoy our retired moments of freedom to do things we like. The shop owners have adjusted their summer hours, but they kept our time open. I’m pretty sure  they did that for us. 🙂 

A teacher friend I’ve known for several years. We are both teaching night classes at the same college, and we generally get to visit for a few minutes before class. She watched my latest grand baby video. I got to see some family pictures of her dad and a special gift he made for her recently. We both recognize the preciousness of shared moments like this: moments we celebrate the happinesses of life with others.

My W night college Comp  class. They were full of energy and conversation tonight. It is fulfilling to see 22 adults from all walks of life interact and laugh and learn together. I always leave smiling.

The pizza maker. Thanks for that pick up window ready-to-go dinner. 

Ordinary encounters with everyday people. Strangers and familiar folks come in and out of our lives every day. 

Beautiful beings. We get to be part of that network of humanity. We get to choose to be beautiful. What a gift. 


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Open Your Eyes: A Lenten Journey 4/11/17 (Tuesday)

Holy Week.

Today, a gift of a goldfinch. The first I have ever seen here. Ever. I count it as a beautiful  Holy Week reward. Beauty of creation. 

So many birds have come lately, and this thought continues to come to mind: 

The things we feed will come.

Isn’t that true of all aspects of life? 

Spend a  moment thinking about what you want. Then feed that thought with action.

This…a few handfuls of birdseed each week. 

A beautiful reward.


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Open Your Eyes: A Lenten Journey 4/10/17 (Monday)

Holy Week.

What do those words mean to you? Will you live differently this week? More mindfully? 

Or, will this week be yet another week in your life that is no different than the one before it? 

I look at this week as kind of a “last call” before the big event of Easter. Time to get the inside and outside ready, so to speak.

My Lenten plans are written in a notebook. I’ll review them tonight. I might wince at how fast the time went, how much I still want to do. I might sigh at repeated themes: how hard it is to follow plans sometimes.

Yesterday, I was supposed to meet my son and his family for early mass. I slept right through the alarms. (Yes, plural.)

I went to a later mass at another church in my town.  I was still late to that one. (See something I need to work on? I know.) 

Anyway, I sat in a back pew and watched a little girl a few seats away making crosses from palms. I was making one, too. It’s kind of a tradition, one that brings to mind my daughter. A special memory.

I listened to the Passion as I braided my cross. I recalled previous Palm Sundays when I felt ashamed to participate in reading the part of the play where the crowd says Crucify him. Crucify him. 

From an early age, I remember feeling truly sad that this would be my line. I listened to the congregation read in unison, but it was a moment of realization for me–I could feel the result of those words in my soul. Some years, I only mouthed the words. Some years, I didn’t speak them at all.

Yesterday was like that. I sat and listened and pictured the scene and realized that each year God reminds me in this tangible way of how much He gave up for me, for us. 

Later in the mass, I stepped into the vestibule and brought in a couple more palms and handed one to the child. She had a pile of crosses, but had run out of palms. At the end of mass, she handed me one of her creations with a hug. Here, ma’am. I made this one for you. 
I left the palms in the car until today. They’ve already changed so much…just in one day, the drying process has started. The green is already faded significantly. These palm frond crosses are a visible reminder of how much we change from day to day. At some point in the coming year, they may become brittle and even break. But next year, there will be fresh green ones again. And the scene will repeat until the day comes when we don’t have to wait anymore for Christ to return.


I’m praying for us all this Holy Week. 


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Open Your Eyes: A Lenten Journey 4/8/17 (Saturday)

Ok. So not the typical Lenten expectation. I stopped for dog food and beer (well, it’s the truth, folks) and ended up with a few additional things…a poppy, fresh mint, the lately  elusive  pomegranate aeriels that I  have been searching for for weeks, finally in stock tonight.

Hmmm. 

Yeah there’s a kalonchoe, too. A few little starter plants out of view. Ok. Bunny Sweet Tarts. Lots of good things.

Quite the weekend cart. During Lent??? 

But guess what? I’m looking at that cart with gratitude. I’m thankful I can enjoy a variety of things and share a few, too.

Sometimes our Lenten sacrifices have nothing to do with giving up treats. The purpose of Lent is to prepare ourselves for the renewal of our baptismal promise on Easter Sunday. Yes to almsgiving, yes to penance, yes to sacrifice, yes to prayer, yes to anything that will bring you closer to knowledge of yourself.

 But, no. No to preconceived ideas about “giving up this or that” and a big NO to guilt and telling someone what they should do or not do and a bigger N-O to thinking that Lent is a competition to see who can last the longest on their goals.

We are getting ready to enter Holy Week. Tomorrow is Palm Sunday. So much to witness to, so much to participate in. 

As we enter the week ahead, may you be blessed in countless ways and realize the joy of abundance. Abundance in whatever your cart might hold and abundance in what is coming…the greatest gift of all. 

Peace. 😘