For some time now, you have heard me hint of this elusive podcast that I’m launching. I’ve kept suggesting that my next newsletter would include a link to the first episode. But weeks… okay, months… have gone by with neither hide nor hair of said episode.
I began writing this newsletter at 2:13 a.m., on a red eye flight from Calgary to Atlanta. Even though it was the middle of the night, my internal clock was so messed up it hardly seemed to matter anymore and I was filled with enthusiasm for the week I had just spent on Vancouver Island. I had lots to say.
The day of my great revelation began – quite literally – in HELL.
It began when I awoke from a night of restless, sweaty doses of sleep to find myself stuffed, with three other college exchange students, in the backseat of a rusting taxi… still.
It began with the loud squawking of chickens and a vendor pounding on the dusty window, sliding plastic watches from China through the crack at the top of the pane.
Many of you know that last year at this time I was cocooning in that blissful little corner of the world known as the Collegeville Institute, located on the campus of St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota. Even though the trees were ablaze in every shade of orange and yellow and red, I did the best I could to keep my seat planted to the chair and finally get to work on a project called “Redeeming Power.”
Two years ago this month a package from Canada arrived in the mail from my longtime cgs catechist sister, Mariann Dunsmore. Mariann had been diagnosed with cancer a year earlier and she knew that her time here on earth was coming toward an end. As an amazing artist and icon writer, she had many, many projects started that she knew would be left undone unless she recruited a gaggle of us to finish them. Mariann specifically entrusted me with a four foot long woven canvas with
“There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens.
A time to give birth, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant.
A time to weep and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance.” - Ecclesiastes 3:1-2, 4
At multiple points in my life now, I’ve crossed the border into another country. Most of the time this has gone smoothly. I’ve stood before the immigrations officer, been asked a few questions, and then got a stamp in my passport. Sometimes they haven’t even given me the stamp. Just waved me through.
It’s been almost a year ago now that I got an alert on my phone: “This is an automatic reminder. We are still missing your preaching for theWord for 03 Sept 2022, which is in about 3 days in New Zealand.” Any of you out there who also preach for this international Dominican website have probably gotten one of these messages at some point in time. Alas, I am probably someone who has gotten them more than others. I can tend to run close to deadlines. But this message left me befuddled. Had I signed up to preach for September 3rd? Clearly, I had.
Next week we’ll mark the feast of St. Lawrence (August 10). This summer, more than most, I feel l’ve been echoing his most famous quote from the fire pit: “You can turn me over now. I’m done on that side.” Geez, it has been a hot couple of weeks.
Ten years ago this summer I arrived in Flushing, MI for the first time. I was driving down Interstate 69 when all of the sudden my GPS told me to turn left down a narrow country road.