Sunday, April 28, 2013

Screen Free Week

After successfully launching the blog on the six month anniversary of my husband's death (with help from our oldest daughter and son-in-law--well, he's not the oldest son-in-law but he is married to our oldest daughter, to be perfectly clear), I came upon a notice in our parish bulletin that this is screen free week.  When it was TV-free week, it was a no-brainer for me, since I stopped watching TV when we had only two daughters, but screen free also means no computer, iPad, and maybe iPhone.  And what about the screen door giving me a panorama of a glorious spring day where three little grandsons and one toddling granddaughter were playing ball and swinging on a swingset very much like the one I had as a child, helping to water the penstemons and hydrangea, narrowly missing me with a variety of balls and swings, until the irruption into our midst of a large flying insect with red wings.  My second daughter and I were busy calling to the children to come look at this new bug (I have been inspired by my reading of Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv, and bought a magnifying glass and pair of tweezers specifically geared toward children's use in the outdoors), when this son-in-law, who is almost always calm and unruffled, suddenly announced in a loudspeaker voice, that we all needed to move indoors because what we were about to inspect was a tarantula wasp (alternately known as a tarantula hawk) because its prey is tarantulas, and it is known to have one of the most painful stings in the world, as well as being one of the ten largest insects in the universe (and here I thought Australia had the lock on those things, or maybe Florida).  And I must confess we used my daughter's notepad with a screen to look up this information.,
 If my husband had been alive, he might have known all this, since he was a veritable walking dictionary and encyclopedia and Catholic Almanac all rolled into one"love note but I have a new and even greater respect for my son-in-law in protecting us from an investigation that might have resulted in excruciatingly painful results.
All this is by way of saying that in order to observe Screen Free Week (and I wonder who decided it?) I will attempt to refrain from posting further on the blog until it is over, since I was intending to  spend the last hour organizing my desk and just putting a quick notice up on the blog lest my readers (who at this point are mostly or exclusively my children) think I have given up one day into my adventure.
The only other foray into Screen World today was in my search for more information on the tarantula wasp when I discovered an email from my fourth daughter sharing her three year old daughter's faith journey since her Papa died.  Their family was in line for Confession, and there was going to be a funeral that evening.  The casket was already there, and little Maria whispered to the lady next to her in line, "My Papa had a funeral, too, but at the end of the world he's going to rise from the dead."  This belief may have prompted her to compose her own song for evening prayers:  "I love you, God, you're such a great guy."
And so He is.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Edith Stein and Women's Professions


For over twenty years, my husband and I spent an hour every Wednesday evening in the Blessed Sacrament chapel in our parish.  When he was diagnosed with cancer, friends began to join us, and since he died, one couple has joined me every week so I won't have to pray alone.  This week, as I read a meditation from Anne Costa's Refresh Me, Lord, I reflected upon the words of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (known in the world as Edith Stein).  They seemed particularly apropos as I pray to find a new path after working with my husband in World Wide Marriage Encounter for over thirty years, and other areas of ministry to marriages and families.  "...feminine nature in its purity can embrace all things, and the image of God's Mother at the wedding of Cana is a perfect example of this: how discreetly she prevents the embarrassment of others; how she discerns where there is a need; how she intervenes without being observed.  Such a woman is pertinent at all times like a good genius."

For some reason, the phrase "the merry widow" kept coming to mind, when I was most grief stricken and despairing after losing my beloved husband, and  I kept assuring God that I was not merry at all and couldn't really imagine every being so again (and "merry" was not really an adjective that most people would use to describe me before I became a widow).  But after I read the words of Edith Stein, and prayed to her for counsel and enlightenment, I realized that I am called to be a "Mary" widow and model myself on her genius, striving to become more discreet, discerning, and helpful without being a managing busybody who dispenses advice without really listening.

And in pondering all these things, I found myself, if not feeling merry, at least with an unbidden smile as I recalled that it is only because I am a Texan that I can hear God's voice in these words that I know as homonyms.  For my husband from the East Coast, "merry," "Mary," and "marry" each had a separate pronunciation.  I suppose that means God not only speaks to us in our own language, but even uses our local accent to get his message across.