Wednesday, July 10, 2024

You are Never Alone


Our oldest daughter suggested a song I might like (she was right) by Lewis Capaldi titled "Someone You Loved." 

After the title of the song, the standout line is "I was getting kinda used to being someone you loved." It's a unique line that sort of reverses the way we think today, proned as we are to consider how we love others.

At first it struck me, as a married person, because we do get used to being loved by our spouse, and it's a beautiful thing to be grateful for.

But then I started thinking about our relationship with God.  So many of us forget just how much our Father in heaven loves us, and that, too, is something worthy of our tremendous gratitude.

The song takes a turn, of course, when it makes the point that the one doing the loving has walked away, leaving the beloved alone.  As we know, that would never happen with God.

The reality is that God loves us, even if we do not realize, reflect, acknowledge or accept it. His love is what actually carries us through all of the storms of life, and he continues to invite us to be with him when our earthly life is over.

Who are you "getting kinda used to being loved" by? Be sure you let them know today how much you cherish them, and see if you can find a path to thanking God for his love as well.

Janet Cassidy
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Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Is God unconventional sometimes?


I attended the funeral of a cousin that I have not seen in probably over 20 years. It's been so long, in fact, that until her children mentioned it, I didn't know she prayed daily and was committed to the Ten Commandments.

I have no idea if, or where, she went to church, but the female pastor offered a nice service at the funeral home.

I mention all of this because my cousin was, by all accounts, one of those gifted, "crazy," unconventional women, who did things a little outside the box. 

What was remarkable to me, was seeing all of the young people at her funeral--her grandkids, naturally, but also their friends and no doubt some "strays" that she took in, counseled, fed, clothed, and brought to baptism.  Young people who needed a place to go at one time or another were always welcome at her house.

In fact, the entire row in front of me was filled with teenagers.

She really made a difference in their young lives, you could just tell. It seemed she didn't care what their circumstances were, if they needed someone, she was there, even if it took all night. Whenever you hear young people give witness to someone, it is a beautiful thing.

Now, I could pick apart which rules she may have followed, and which she most likely didn't when it comes to church and so forth, but I won't, because the impact her funeral left on me is noteworthy.

While I'm not ready to throw away all that I know and believe when it comes to the Catholic Church, the Eucharist, doctrine and so forth, I am happy to acknowledge that God works in and through people in ways far beyond what most of us have been officially taught, or even understand.

And those of us who live by, perhaps, a set of rules others do not, we need to be very careful in thinking we have all the answers, because we have all the doctrine.

There are some people who are upset with Pope Francis because of how far open he has thrown the doors of the Church, but he seems to intuitively recognize the difference between only following rules and, as Bonhoeffer would say, following Jesus. Not that rules are bad, of course.

If you can manage to do both well, that is great, but if your rule-following leads you to deny the work of Jesus in others who live outside your practices, be very careful, for you may find you are not as much of a disciple as you think.

Did I mention that my cousin never wanted a funeral, but her children insisted? They created a funeral that definitely reflected her spirit. She didn't want pictures of herself, but apparently she loved Marilyn Monroe, so their were pictures of Marilyn set up around the casket.

And because my cousin loved to dance, they invited everyone to come up and dance to one of her favorite songs at the end of the service.  I've never seen anything like it.

There were typical prayers, remembrances and so forth, and her funeral is not something I would ever have, and, in fact, find theologically lacking, but honestly, I think God works in unconventional ways sometimes, and who am I to say anything about it?

Janet Cassidy
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Monday, July 8, 2024

Rolling along


We went to a local grocery store that we don't typically visit. I mention this to point out that we weren't familiar with how things worked.

Now you might be thinking, "It's a grocery store! What do you mean 'how things work'?"

Well, let me tell you.

The first thing is, we were supposed to rent a shopping cart for a quarter.  I was with our oldest daughter and we confidently figured we could handle the couple of items we were going in to pick up, so we nixed the cart idea.

But when we got inside, we were pretty excited about the prices and the appearance of the fruits & veggies, so we started piling things into our arms and talking between us about the rent-a-cart-for-a-quarter concept; a nice lady standing next to us looked at my daughter with compassion (or was it pity?) and offered her a quarter. 

Neither of us wanted to explain that it wasn't so much our poverty, as  our ignorance, that created our situation, so with fruits and veggies overflowing, she graciously declined the offer.

Naturally, my over-confidence in my ability to carry so much resulted in quite the balancing act, predictably resulting in me dumping an entire pint of blueberries all over the floor.

As the blueberries went rolling across the ENTIRE aisle, I stood there exposed to other shoppers' stares. They blankly looked on, rightly knowing there was nothing they could do. When my shock subsided, we got someone from the store for a clean-up.

In the meantime, though, our helpful daughter was in the process of solving her own problem, exiting the scene as she yelled to me, "I'll get a box!"

That's the other thing. You need to have a box to carry your groceries out of the store.  I'll now admit, it helps if you have a cart.

Anyway, we made quite the scene. Thankfully, as often seems to happen when we are together, our laughter far exceeded what should have been a truly awful, embarrassing moment.

And as if the in-store incident wasn't enough, as we reached our car, I  dropped the bananas, splitting them open on the black top next to my car door. I just stood there, mouth agape, unblinking, unbelieving.

Then, getting into the car, we saw a man coming out of the store who offered his cart to someone going in, apparently gifting his pre-paid shopping cart to a stranger.

We looked at each other and jokingly exclaimed, "That's how you do it!  You just wait for someone to come out and offer you their cart!"

Admittedly, our little trip to the store wasn't entirely successful, what with the rolling blueberries and the banana-dropping, but we sure learned a life lesson:

When you have too much piled on you (often of your own making) and things seem to be spilling over everywhere, sometimes you just have to smile in the midst of the chaos, knowing that the next time you will certainly be more prepared.  

Oh, and it might be a good idea to carry some change on you as well!

Janet Cassidy
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