Tuesday, July 31, 2007

I have part-timers!

I have part-timers! No, I do not have Alzheimer because most of the time my brain functions as it should. Then there are those times when I walk into a room and have no idea what I am there for. Today someone ask for my cell phone number, this is a number I have repeated no less than a million times, for the life of me I could not remember the last 2 numbers. I have never been good with names so as long I as do not forget my husbands or the kid’s names I figure I am ahead of the game. I lose my keys and glasses on regular bases. For the most part that does not bother me, except for the times that Tom tells me they are on top of my head. So, I have decided I do not have Alzheimer, I have part-timers. It is like when a tape hits a blank spot then starts up again. It is just a momentary blank spot in my tape. My greatest fear is that I will wake up one morning and my entire tape will be blank.
I am not trying to make light of a serious disease. Quite the contrary – Tom had two uncles die from this awful debilitating disease. They suffered for many years as did the family. Tom and I have also visited several people over the pasted years for church that had Alzheimer’s. It is so hard to watch a once brilliant person struggle to figure out how to put on their shoes and socks. Thankfully there comes a point when the suffer no longer remembers that he does not remember. While this is comforting for them it is so very difficult for their family.
So, you see I have seen this diease up close and personal and I am truly worried. If this horrible diease should be my cross someday I can only pray that I can fade quietly into that dark night without my family having to suffer. One lady that Tom and I use to visit never failed to say when we left “now don’t forget next week I will not know who you are”. True to her word, the next week we had to spent 5 minutes explaining who we were. She could not remember what church she attended, but she never forgot a word of the prayers we prayed with and for her. One man we visited in a nursing home insisted that the Pope had lunch with him every day. Niki, a lady we visited for many years, had a lucid moment and told me that she knew she was a pain in the ass but that God would bless me someday for coming to see her. I agreed with her and told her to tell me again, and she did. Niki lived with her daughter and one day she called and said that she just could not deal with it any longer. Niki was convinced that someone had stolen her bedroom, not the whole house just her bedroom. I went over and spent some time with Niki. I agreed with her that indeed her bedroom had been stolen but I had it on good authority that they would bring it back before time for her to go to bed. She was content with my solution. My heart broke for a daughter that could not accept, at that moment, that her once intelligent and strong Mother no longer existed.
A lady at church who's Mother ended her worldly journey this week after not being among for several years. Her daughter never missed a Sunday bring her Mom to mass. Again I saw someone that did not recognize the daughter sitting beside her but did not miss a word in the prayers that we prayed.
I am left with this question: if someday that veil of darkness covers my mind will my faith have been strong enough that I will remember the prayers?

Lord, please give a special portion of Your grace to all the families that are touched by this horrible disease.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Wondering mind

There was a lot of talk about prayer this week at Mass. Any time there are talks about prayer it sets my mind to wondering. Well, most anything will cause my mind to wonder; sometimes it wonders so far I have no idea where it is. It always makes me feel guilty when the priest talks about prayer (hey, I am Catholic and we all have miles on our frequent flyer's card from guilt trips). I have been on retreat after retreat on different types of prayer. I attended a silent retreat on prayer and almost drove the nun that was the retreat master crazy. I have no idea what I was thinking when I signed up for a silent retreat other than the fact that Tom attended one and love it. I think I made it about 2 hours before I started texting Marian. At the end of the weekend the nun asked each of us what we would take away from the retreat, I replied “That I will never attend another silent retreat”. I drove 4.5 hours twice to attend centering prayer retreats. At one retreat we spent a lot of time in meditation, we had yoga classes, we drew pictures of our “inner child”, and mine looked like a stick figure with a skirt on. I have had my chakras cleansed and my pressure points determined by a pendulum. I have drummed to the inner beat of my heart song. I sat in front of a singing bowl and let myself float with the high pitched drown. I attended a Native American retreat and sat in a sweat lodge. I bought meditation tapes by the dozens. I tried aroma therapy. I have burned so many incenses that the fire department showed up. I bought Catholic and Christian prayer books. I had chaplets and beautiful rosaries. All of this was done in my attempt to learn how to talk to God, in other words pray.
I wanted to be able to sit down and do something that would immediately put me in contact with God. I was looking for a way to access God quickly so that I could get the answers to MY problems. I wanted His full attention and I wanted it NOW! There had to be a way to accomplish this if only I find the right “something” to do, or the right “thing” to listen to. I am sorry to say I never found the Holy Grail for quick access to God through prayer.
I may have been the only Mother in history told not to breast feed because the doctor was afraid I would never sit still long enough for the baby to finish. You have heard of a type A personality well I have a A++ personality – I just don’t have time to waste sitting still. Hey, I only got some many minutes to live and I don’t want to waste any of them!
Centering prayer put me to sleep. Meditation caused my mind to wander. The singing bowl makes my dog howl. Aroma therapy made me hungry. Burning incense takes Tom off the deep end and it would be a full time job for someone to keep my chakras clear. So I had to find something that worked for me.
I have finally learned that one does not need a special place or a thing to pray. I have learned that immediate access to God is as easy as saying “Here I am Lord”. I pray when I drive, I pray when I sit on the front porch and watch the sun set, I pray when I walk around the yard looking at all the beautiful things God has put on earth for me to enjoy. I pray when I watch the news for people I don’t even know. I pray when I pass a wreck on the express way. I pray when I see a homeless person that I cannot stop to help. I pray at Mass. I still have my prayer room, wonderful meditation tapes that I listen to from time to time and beautiful rosaries. These “things” still serve a purpose from time to time. But most of the time all I need is an open heart and a willing spirit.
By the way A COUPLE of other thing I learned along the way – sometimes it is best just to listen to what He has to say and remember God does not wear the same watch that we do – so answers are subject to His time not ours.