Tuesday, July 23, 2013


my Dad, folding hands in his sleep, in spite of all the hook ups
"What people don't realize is how much religion costs. They think faith is a big electric blanket, when of course it is the cross. It is much harder to believe than not to believe. If you feel you can't believe, you must at least do this: keep an open mind. Keep it open toward faith, keep wanting it, keep asking for it, and leave the rest to God. ”
~Flannery O’Connor

“Many people would be willing to have afflictions provided that they not be inconvenienced by them."
~Francis de Sales

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When I was young, I was convinced that I would grow up to be a doctor. I also loved any and all doctor shows—and still do. But I think that must be connected to a different spiritual need, a topic for a later date.

Imagining myself as a doctor meant that some day I would be able to heal the suffering I instinctively sensed in the three grieving grandparents living with me. I would be able, finally, to fix the broken dreams of my refuge parents, to collect the pieces of living sorrow all around me and make it whole again. I would be able to help.

It was a childhood illusion—one quickly and categorically dismissed as soon as I began to take science courses my first year of college!

I’ve been remembering these loving yet misguided childhood notions during my many hours spent in hospitals and other medical facilities lately.

Sometimes the only thing one can do to fix the brokenness and heal the suffering is to be present to it—and with—the people we love.

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“When we handle the sick and the needy we touch the suffering body of Christ and this touch will make us heroic, it will make us forget the repugnance and the natural tendencies in us. We need the eyes of deep faith to see Christ in the broken body and dirty clothes under which the most beautiful one among the sons of men hides. We shall need the hands of Christ to touch these bodies wounded by pain and suffering.”
~Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

my girls surround my mom in love