— 1 —
I took the day off from work in order to (hopefully) finish almost completely the work I started just outside the patio door that I’m sitting by as I type. After three weeks of 95-100+ degree weather we’ve had a reprieve beginning a few days ago. It’s a pleasant 56 degrees as I write. The sun is breaking through the trees and the birds are getting louder. Unfortunately a neighbor’s power saw and nail gun are getting louder, too, as he’s doing some project or another like me.
I’m convinced that everyone should take at least one day off per month at a minimum if they can. In my previous employment, a job laden with deadlines and pressure, after five years I was about to snap and found myself in our department head’s office discussing my possible resignation as I’d had enough. He is the one who gave me the counsel to take one day off each month to do…whatever. And whatever it was I chose to do with my time should not involve checking e-mails, voicemail, or even the internet or using my phone. It may be the best advice he ever gave me.
Buster, our 20 month old beagle, is usually asleep on weekday mornings, but he heard me walking around upstairs and began to whine until I could no longer ignore it. My morning prayers and reading finished, I made myself another cup of coffee and let him outside where he leaped onto the stack of bricks and began his ritual of scanning the yard for wayward rabbits and squirrels.
Three weeks ago friends of ours whose son plays high school baseball with ours lost their home to a huge fire that took everything. Thankfully no one was hurt or injured in the blaze. Our baseball family immediately went into action via e-mail and organized whatever relief we could through donations, etc. We have had to once again go into that mode as the week brought the news that one of our baseball team moms was diagnosed on Sunday with stage four lung cancer and began chemotherapy Wednesday. This has been quite a shock to all. Sally and Jim’s oldest daughter is a freshman who just started college and their son is a junior in high school. As they gain their bearings the one thing they’ve requested over all others is prayer. Today is homecoming at our Catholic high school and I’ve been told by my son and others that following the football game the student body of over 1200 will lead a rosary for Sally in the endzone.
So that’s my day ahead.
— 2 —
So a few thoughts on “downtime” before I put on my old shoes, work gloves and grab a shovel.
From today’s reading in Divine Intimacy – “#306: The Gift of Counsel”:
There is no doubt that the Holy Spirit, by means of the gift of counsel, wishes to be our counselor in the way of sanctity. Why, then, are we so seldom aware of His divine reminders? First of all, because we are distracted; our soul is deafened by the voices of creatures, and filled with the noises of the world. Holy Scripture compares the voice of the Holy Spirit to the “whistling of a gentle air” (1 Kings 19:12). Therefore, we must be silent, silent exteriorly, but, even more so, interiorly, if we wish to be able to perceive this voice to tenuous and sweet. Only in silence can He be heard who manifests Himself “in divine silence”. (St. John of the Cross, Spiritual Maxims 1, 26)
— 3 —
Today the Church celebrates the feast day of another John, St. John Chrysostom, who reminds us in today’s Office of Readings from The Liturgy of the Hours that while we do need to be still and listen for that “still, small voice” of divine counsel, man was not made to be alone. We may also find God in a community of friends.
Do you not hear the Lord saying: Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in their midst? Will he be absent, then, when so many people united in love are gathered together? I have his promise; I am surely not going to rely on my own strength! I have what he has written; that is my staff, my security, my peaceful harbor. Let the world be in upheaval. I hold to his promise and read his message; that is my protecting wall and garrison. What message? Know that I am with you always, until the end of the world!
[ snip ]
Yet where I am, there you are too, and where you are, I am. For we are a single body, and the body cannot be separated from the head nor the head from the body. Distance separates us, but love unites us, and death itself cannot divide us. For though my body die, my soul will live and be mindful of my people.
You are my fellow citizens, my fathers, my brothers, my sons, my limbs, my body. You are my light, sweeter to me than the visible light. For what can the rays of the sun bestow on me that is comparable to your love? The sun’s light is useful in my earthly life, but your love is fashioning a crown for me in the life to come.
I’ll carry these thoughts with me tonight as I join hundreds of friends and their children after the football game tonight in prayer for our friend.
— 4 —
As you can see Buster is standing just outside the screen and has been calling to me to come join him so I need to finish this up. He’s also baying at our neighbor who is using his weed trimmer along the fence line. I suppose I’d better get out there. I’ll wrap this up with a little humor:
A middle-aged couple had finally learned how to send and receive texts on their cell phones. The wife, being a romantic at heart, decided one day that she’d send her husband a text while she was out of the house having coffee with a friend. She texted:
If you are sleeping, send me your dreams.
If you are laughing, send me your smile.
If you are eating, send me a bite.
If you are drinking, send me a sip.
If you are crying, send me your tears.
I love you.
The husband, being a no-nonsense sort of guy, texted back:
I’m on the toilet. Please advise.
— 5 —
Today, or soon, find some time to unplug and avoid situations like the one above.
Find some time to be still.