Thursday, January 21, 2010

Friends and storytelling...

January says new beginnings to me. It is not just on January 1st that we can make resolutions for the new year. One resolution I have brewing is to rekindle some relationships that have become somewhat cool, not for lack of affection, but, most probably, because of physical distance and the day-to-day bus-y-ness that keeps us often more oriented toward things than people. Just before Christmas, I re-heard the motto, "Fail to plan, plan to fail." This is true for making a business run above board and true for families too. Families need plans. Mom is often the planner, as it is her duty and her joy to extend her family outside of the "four walls" of hearth and home.

One of my college mates, Monica, was such a good storyteller. She was the 13th of 13 children and she had a wealth of "material" from which to draw. I think she loved my being from the South and we spent so many hours swapping stories. I suspect that I am not the only one of my friends from college, and high school too, that regrets a bit the fact that friendships become distant over time when people move away and "move on" to various responsibilities and engagements.

I have been blessed to meet so many new friends since we have moved to Cumming. Thinking of my new friends makes me think of my old ones too. In gratitude and thanksgiving to God for his beautiful Creation, I wonder what we'd do without the joy and compassion of friendship. Our little family is blessed too with the joy that comes with friendship among family ties -- sharing good times and bad with cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents who give of themselves.

I include this comment on storytelling in hopes of rekindling the simple art of connecting with our friends and family through the tales of our lives. I am reminded of my dear, sweet Monica and the famous "Duncan hyperbole," something we'd throw out amidst huge grins, as we relished pumping up those tales of family adventure with a little poetic license.

Several years ago, my dear friend Maeve called me a "born-again Catholic" and we laughed and smiled for a while. So, I have to stop a minute to think about the most important friendship that we have been given. The person of Christ, the Son of Man, is our Divine Friend and He, in my experience, wants our "time, talent and treasure" (This we hear often enough in our parishes, but it is no mere phrase.). When I feel myself leaning toward being a bit sour and frustrated at all the committments and duties that seem to swarm around me like loud bees, I, by God's grace, stop and realize that I am not spending time with the one Friend who will give me compassion in a constant and loving way.

As I age, I feel my weakness most acutely at times. I am speaking here of spiritual weakness, my "anti-virtue" (This is a little joke among my Regnum Christi, mother's prayer group!). I have always loved to go out -- out to dinner, out to parties, out to tour distant places or make a short field trip to an interesting site with lots of friends along. These days, I feel the Holy Spirit drawing me in to a life that is not my own. It is a life better than what I might come up with on my own. As the demands of my life become more serious, I hope I do not become glum. The only hope for my little soul is Mother Church. I have said this many times in this diary.

I ran away from God for a long time, and, as a sinner, I continue to do so; but, with the Church, I simply cannot run that far. She is so holy and good. She draws me into her loving arms, puts me on her lap and cradles my world-weary soul until I fall asleep, feeling the warm Blood in her chest. She gives me what I cannot make up on my own. This reality is both humbling and intensely beautiful.

A couple of days ago, during some quiet moments, I had a little daydream/recollection about my roller skating days in Bowling Green, Kentucky. I was thinking of how cautious, yet determined, I was as a young girl. The first time I went roller skating, I slowly crept over the rink and grabbed the walls and went many turns around sticking to those walls, while others flew past me. I loved to roller skate and went nearly every Tuesday for years with our local,4H Club. I fell many times and could never master skating backwards -- really did not like not being able to see what was in front of me. In my imagination, I also saw myself falling, sometimes just a small fall with one knee down, then up again, quickly. Other times, someone flew past me and grazed my shoulder, steady now, and up and going again. There were also a couple of wipe outs and much pain. It all ended with my seeing myself in that strong glide of the accomplished skater, faster, faster, around and around the big rink, weaving in and out of the other skaters, sometimes near the wall, other times so very close to the center.

Well, so ends a small glimpse into a story that is still unfolding for me.

No comments: