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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Holy Week 2019, Monday: Will You Walk “This Week” with Me?

(Me, before an evening class. Hope, Arkansas.)

At the beginning of this day, I had an idea. Then Notre Dame came falling down in flames, and really…well, fill in the blank…because if you’re alive on this planet, you surely know this structure is iconic. A terrible day to mark down in history, truly. And somehow, it seems to be worse that this happened as we begin Holy Week in the Christian world.

But, as I went about my day and continued to ponder what I want to do that is meaningful this week, my first idea still stands.

Let’s walk together. This Holy Week. Will you join me? Walk anywhere, post a picture if you’re so moved, or just join in anonymously. That’s good, too. 🙏🏼

Walk with me, knowing we know nothing. We know nothing about what is around the bend. We walk. We write a line about it. We live and learn. We listen.

We all saw that play out in flashing fire today.

But before I knew what I know now, what was beyond my immediate control, I walked.

I started early, and was greeted by not one, but four cardinals on the rocky road near my house. This sighting truly lifted my heart, and at that moment, I did not know that half a world away, Notre Dame was engulfed in flames.

I returned to the house, saw the news, and of course my heart fell.

“…but the gates of hell shall not prevail against it…” kept ringing in my ears, and the voices of the Parisian people lifted in unison as their cathedral burned…their joining as one voice moved me to remember that the human spirit cannot be touched. We can always fly. Always.

Just like those morning birds…

Then, as I was leaving for work, my older dog was barking nonstop, warning me of an unexpected visitor. Huge snake. The symbolism is not lost on me.

Everywhere, some kind of turmoil. Daily.

So, lots was on my mind as I arrived at my next stop. More symbolism: Hope is where I work on Mondays. And tonight, I walked there, too.

I walked a short paved path that I always think I will, but never do. But today was different. I walked and prayed for Parisians, for firefighters, for travelers. For those who hoped to visit a beautiful place of worship, and for those who won’t get to see that dream come true…not in the way they hoped.

And I realized yet again, we are all here for only a minute, then we are gone. Nothing is sure except our spirits.

So, I’m walking into this week with no preconceived ideas. Just walking and listening to what might need to be said. Will you join me?

Let’s see where we might walk tomorrow…

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Palm Sunday 4/14/2019

A simple palm.

It’s not an object I think about much, but when this day rolls around each year, I have vivid and specific memories:

the man walking away in New Mexico last year, his back pocket filled with them…

the time several years ago my daughter quietly fashioned crosses out of them in the back pew of a church, to the delight of several people around her…

the reverent way my mom made sure every crucifix in the house was adorned with them…

…and today, my two granddaughters waving them at me as they greeted me at Mass. I was thinking I might hear en guard at any moment, but the novelty wore off quickly.

Small moments that last in the mind’s eye.

The realization that the small moments carry the sweetest stories.

There were successive small sweet moments at Mass today:

A slow hymn played and Emma began whimpering. She feels the music. She and her sister always have. This truth gives me insight into the kind of people they will grow to be…caring, aware, attuned.

Sofia spotted her beloved “Aunt Betty” on the way to communion and stopped to let her know. To greet her, smile at her, visibly be thrilled to see her. Then, tears when we were back in our seats…that last few minutes until she could see her again feeling like an eternity.

To love, to feel love like that. That.

Emma, age 2 1/2, leading me by the hand to light a candle. Waving to Jesus on the way, holding the long match and patiently (as possible…she’s 2) waiting for the flicker to become a flame. Sofia, 3 1/2, arrives just in time to assist.

Lots to think about on this day. It’s a day of anniversaries as well. My own life re-started thanks to skilled doctors and blood donors 28 years ago. I’ve witnessed an extra lifetime of small moments that I said thank you for again today. And… because life is this two sided coin… a life taken 7 years ago: my best friend lost to me and so many who loved her because a drunk made a terrible choice to get behind the wheel of a car and drive.

So, a Palm Sunday candle is flickering in a century old church tonight with prayers of thanksgiving for a life spared and prayers of not knowing what words to say when a life is taken, so a tiny flame takes the place of the words.

I don’t have to have the words. Like two little girls remind me, my feelings are enough.

Sometimes, like the people in the Gospel narrative today, we are witnesses. Seeing all the things. Storing them in our hearts. Knowing that we each have a role to play on and off the page.

We enter Holy Week today…a week that I hope to continue some Lenten promises, spend some extra time in silence, and reflect on a lot of things. And hopefully, learn from the small moments and little children that the smallest acts of love and presence still matter the most.


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Friday’s Five –April 12, 2019

It wasn’t all good, dear readers. I don’t want to leave the impression here that everything is hunky-dory every day. 😜

Because you know…life. 😳

HOWEVER, I can generally find at a bare minimum five good things from the previous few days to share here. And, I did! Here they are:

people to encourage and pray for; someone needs your prayers;

red clover swaying on roadsides—I really must stop and get a picture ASAP;

drive-thru with a special sale price for what I actually planned to eat;

a hairdresser who knows without description what to do–even though said hairdresser sees hundreds of people—she still remembers;

Little hands placing little seeds in little cups and little voices saying I so ess-ited! Me too, loves. Me, too.

However your week went, it is likely there were bumpy places. Maybe they were really bad. I’m sorry if they were. Maybe they were just medium bad. Or slightly. But in every day and every circumstance, there is room for a genuine good.

Maybe it’s a hand clasped in yours. Maybe it’s a smile or nod when you really needed it. Maybe it’s a patch of clover on a roadside, or how the moon waits for you to look at it. Keep looking.

🌟


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Friday’s Five 4/5/2019

So much more than five good things this week…because we know we will find the good things when we look. And look, we must.

Birthdays 🎉 I celebrated well and felt much love and goodness from people who mean a great deal to me. Cards, texts, videos, messages. And a special toast with my son. 🍻

Children 👶🏼 I’ve seen my grandchildren this week, laughed with them, listened to them…the latest coined word is “flappers” (AKA flip flops) and I missed you. Oh my…that little sentence…

Clover ❤️ It is blooming garnet on the roadsides and brings my parents to mind. My father the farmer, and my mother the caretaker of photographing the beauty so we would always remember.

Mail 💌 I was a fortunate recipient of a lot of good messages this week. Is there anything nicer than getting real mail? It ranks way up there for me.

Candles 🕯 My daughter lit a candle for me in a church in Greece on my birthday. I lit one the same day in a park in a little town named Hope. My heart lifted with each strike of light.

So much more good, and I am acutely aware that the realization of seeing goodness is not common to all. So, I am grateful I see it.

I hope you do, too.


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Saturday’s Snapshot: Stop for a Sunset

Sometimes the simplest things give us the most joy.

From time to time, an old friend and I simply text one another a sunset pic. It is a tradition that evolved, like friendships do. That same friend celebrated with me tonight. We shared nachos and didn’t think too much about calories. We just enjoyed the delicious food.

Enjoying the moments we are given is important every day, but especially so in Lent.

It may be a time of fasting from some things, but I hope we never fast from seeing the joy in little things.


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Friday’s Five 3/29/19: Good Stuff

We are heading into my birthday week, and so I end this week with five good things from my last year…because as a treasured friend reminded me today Just think what all you have experienced on this trip around the sun. She’s right.

1. Friends like the one above, who remind me of the abundance of life.

2. A trip with my daughter to see places that five years ago, I never dreamed I’d see: Rome, Paris, Austria, Prague.

3. A fun photo and joyful in person message from my son that grand-baby three is on the way.

4. The part time jobs I have now that seem tailor made for my talents and abilities…dream jobs and supportive bosses.

5. Art and writing accomplishments–this year saw some new showings and an award 🥈, some new teaching and workshop opportunities, some new things to want to learn.

Abundance, for sure. It is good to take stock. Sometimes it is easy to get bogged down in the routine and sameness of life. Looking back is instructive.

May many more “good stuff” moments be around the corner.

For all of us. ✅✅✅✅✅


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Friday’s Five—Lent 3/15/2019

The chaos of trying is still evident in my day-to-day. Seems as if order intends to be my friend for awhile. So be it. Notice I am calling her my friend. That is a mind shift. A good one.

Things take how long they take.

Today, I’m reverting back to my time tested way of reflecting over the week. Searching for the good things. I have never had to think very long at all. And, I leave out a lot. Just FYI.

5 from the previous week:

Laughter

Understanding

Patience

Love

Beauty

—-

I know I usually give specifics. Tonight, I challenge you to think of each word as a place. Picture yourself as a participant in that place. If you can’t, you might have a new goal for the future. If you can, well…yay. 🌟