Friday, October 30, 2009


Friday Five From Rev Gals!!

Dramatic or fairly common - what have been/are your lifesavers:

1) Your lifesaving food/beverage.

Food...two things come to mind. One, remembering the absolute Nirvana of pretzels when I was so very sick once and had lost so much liquid (and salt). Two, peanut butter! When all else fails, there´s nothing like it. You can use it in a sauce, you can use it as a dip (baby carrots swiped through is a personal fave), plop it in your hot oatmeal and stir, or... peanut butter and honey sandwiches. Also goes well along side a scoop of ice cream in lieu of chocolate sauce...or in addition to that chocolate sauce. To add one more, I did recently burst into a grin upon finding peppermint Mentos at an abarrotes near here and promptly bought three rolls.

Beverage...Three are on an even par... Cold water, really cold 2% milk, and strong coffee.

2) Your lifesaving article of clothing.

This one hits home...or in my case, far away from home. What I could bring to Chile was limited. The BEST choice I made was to include a thin, soft, snug-comfy, navy blue fleece. It is soft and comforting in its material, folds down to easily stuffable size, and is just enough of another layer to cut morning fog and chill.

3) Your lifesaving movie/book/tv show/music.

Book....three. Leaves of Grass, Mr. God this is Anna, and The Magnificent Spinster. (I´m not including the Bible because that´s a given)

Movie... Fried Green Tomatoes, Dead Poet´s Society, The Grass Harp

4) Your lifesaving friends

They know who they are. Two of the longest standing...One, I have known for 26 years, since eighth grade, and she did save me in high school. We decided a long time ago that we were in this friendship for life and I will always be grateful for that. She knows me deep down, we can talk about anything, and I know we will be there for each other. The other, I have known for 16 years. She makes me laugh from my toes on up, sings with passion, teaches with passion, cooks up a storm, is silly, and kind, and serious, and wonderful.

5) Your lifesaving moment.

What comes to mind for me is a series of conversations I had a number of years ago when I needed to loose the bonds that held me. The people who heard what I had to say responded with directness, love, generosity, trust, and kindness. I was then and still remain humbled by this. Humbled in awe, not smallness.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Olive a good story

I was walking down the hill toward where I catch the bus to go home and passed one of the zillion feral dogs that roam around. He was nosing around on the ground and looked like he was eating.

As I approached, I noticed little things littering the sidewalk that looked an awful lot like olive pits. Sure enough, the dog was eating a pile of olves someone had left--but was spitting the pits!! I saw him loll one out with his tongue!

A pit-spitting feral dog... for some reason, I enjoy the dignity of that. I bet he´d know which fork to use when too.

You never know the stories of those who live on the street.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday Five from Far Away

My First Friday Five From Far Away From Where I Was Before! Which is to say, I was in NYC and am now in Chile.

RevGals say...Let's talk about music. Share with us five pieces of music that draw you closer to the Divine, that elevate your mood or take you to your happy place. They might be sung or instrumental, ancient or modern, sacred or popular...whatever touches you.

1. The song raised by a chorus of mockingbirds doing their thing in morning fog while walking to work in southern Louisiana.

2. Mystery by Paul Winter Oh Mystery, you are alive!

3. Salve Regina... oh, this is like rocking me to sleep...I love the waves of it, the up and down fullness that spreads from it...the sort of sound that makes candle flame lengthen and the night deepen down.

4. Gabriel´s Oboe from the movie The Mission. If I was a kite, this music would be my wind.

5. The song Que No Se Ve by Teresa Parodi, an Argentinian folk singer... The song talks about living what you do not see....and the sustenance offered by what is not seen.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Come, Live in the Light...

Primero en castellano y después en inglés. : )
First in Spanish, and then in English.

De mi diaro de vida
From my journal

21 Octubre 2009

7:05 AM
En el mismo momento que ayer, estoy aquí en mi dormitorio con los sonidos de la casa en la mañana. Bueno, mas que los sonidos, estoy aquí con la vida de la casa como se manifiesta por las mañanas. Me di cuenta, sentando en frente de la ventana con mis pies encima de la mesa, que estoy reconociendo y acostumbràndome a la luz particular de las mañanas en nuestra manera de entrar la casa, sus movimientos y iluminaciones. Ahora, después de unas semanas, parece que ella es una amiga mia, acogiéndome y esperándome con ternura y tranquilidad.

Sé donde quiero sentarme o ponerme de pie con mi desayuno porque conozco la luz. Sé unas de sus preferéncias, sus lugares en donde a ella le gusta jugar con los pajaros y flores, los lugares en que ella pinta sin preocupación o delantal. Ella deja los colores caer donde quieren.

Para mi, decir que conozco la luz es decir que estoy reconociendo la gloria de Dios como se la manifiesta en ese momento, en ese lugar; estoy disfrutándola. Y por eso, estoy tan, tan agradecida al fuente y profundidad del misterio santo que ha hecho todo desde su corazón.

At the same time as yesterday, I am here in my bedroom along with the sounds of the house in the morning, Well, more than sounds, I am here with the life of the house as made known in the mornings. I realized, while sitting in front of the window with my feet up on the table, that I am recognizing and coming to know the particular morning light that comes to our home...her way of entering the house, her movements and illuminations. Now, after several weeks, it seems she is a friend...welcoming me and waiting for me with a peaceful calm and tenderness.

I know where I want to sit or stand with my breakfast because I know the light. I know some of the places that she prefers, some of the places where she likes to play with the flowers and the birds, where she likes to paint without worry or an apron. She lets the colors fall wherever they like.

For me, to say that I know something of the light is to say that I am coming to know the glory of God as made manifest in this moment, in this place. I am enjoying it. I am so very grateful to the fountain and depth of the holy mystery who created it all.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Té y pensamientos

I am in an office of the Pastoral at the moment with a cup of tea. I actually said the Creed this morning while sitting in front of the window that looks out across the street in front of our house. Not that saying the Creed is AT ALL a usual part of my praying, but this morning was the first time I have been able to make it though that much internal English...the first time to say as a whole something I know by heart in English. And better to try something whole and memorized for me...rather than thinking my own thoughts in English, trying to pray in English with my own internal conversation... there are bits and scraps only...then it all either runs into itself in Spanish and English or just plain stops because I can not sort out which one to use. Silence is something to relax into, and I can on occasion, when there is actually a space to be silent! Five people, one bathroom, and one room other than bedrooms, and a highly communitarian style of living that begins at 630 in the morning and goes until 1030 or 11 at night...well, it poses a challenge. Yes, I can stay in my room or go there earlier, but those times in the morning or in the evening are when everyone is there and together...watching ¿Dónde está Elisa?, a ridiculous yet captivating telenovela, or simply having a snack and talking or working on something.

The other thing that I do rather enjoy on a simple, human level, is that every one says good night to one another when they are going to bed and good morning when first seeing one another in the morning. The intention of it, the impulse to greet one another simply because you see one another for the first time after six hours of sleep. Nothing big, just a simple Hola or Buenos. And when you go to bed, it will be six or seven hours until you see one another and here´s hoping you have a good night too.

This reminds me of night prayer at the Benedictine monastery in MA when the abbot prays that all may have a restful night and a peaceful death. At one time, I thought it rather morbid to pray each night for a peaceful death, especially in the same breath as a restful night. But, in a way, it is a sign to me that each new day together is a gift. Should we not see one another again, may it be well for all...and if we do, what a treasure that new day.

As I sit here, writing, watching the students arrive, and enjoying the last sips of tea that could strengthen the weakest of souls, it makes me realize how or why writing is different than the internal comes in and goes out my fingers, if that makes sense. It comes, it goes, there is room for new. When it is just me thinking in head and heart, it gets all swirly. Wild experience.

To each who read CTL, know this brings a smile, a hug, a laugh, and a new spring green leaf from the copihue outside the office.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Two prayers/Dos Oraciones

Here are two prayers I have recently written. The experiences leading to each one have been unique in my life. Enriching, provoking, questioning, refreshing and frustrating in the way that newness can sometimes be. One of the beautiful things is that I think they sound better in Spanish...and for me, that is something incredible. I prefer the images that are brought to mind with the phrasing and the sounds. Wild, mystical, and amazing, that.

Llevo en mi bolsa al álter de Dios todo que me asombra y me confunde, todas las maravillas y todas mis dudas, traigo ausencia y deseo y necesidad- y con ternurna, con reveréncia, las dejo contigo en la seguridad que mañana mi bolsa otra vez estará llena. Aunque no entiendo lo que estás haciendo en mi, tengo la confianza que será fuerte, suave, y bella.

I bring in my satchel to the altar of God all that delights and confuses, all that brings wonder and all that brings doubt. I bring absence and desire and need--and gently, reverently, I leave them with you knowing that tomorrow, my satchel will again be full. I do not understand what you are making in me, but I have confidence that it will be strong, soft, and beautiful.


Cuando cierro mis ojos, veo la oscuridad; si los abro, puedo ver tu corazón. Cuando cierro mis oídos, oigo la soledad; si los abro, puedo oir tus olas, tus rios, y la emoción de la lluvia. Cuando cierro mis manos, puedo protegerme; si las abro, puedo dar y recibir.

Ayúdame estar siempre en la abertura de tu amor.

When I close my eyes, I see the darkness; if I open them, I see your heart. When I close my ears, I hear lonliness; if I open them, I am able to hear your waves, your rivers, and the emotion of the rain. When I close my hands, I can protect myself; if I open them, I am able to give and receive.

Help me to always be in the openness of your love.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Las 10 Convicciones de Damián

Here are the ten convictions of Damián of Molokai as referenced in the earlier post today...

1. I will fight without ceasing and without discouragement because I believe God is always with me, giving me a hand.

2. I will struggle without fear or rest to build up the reign of God here on earth...but I constantly dream of the radical new world God has promised: heaven.

3. I will always propose giving priority to those who are weaker, those who have been abandoned, and those who are marginalized.

4. I want to be the voice of those who have no voice.

5. I will not find the beauty of a person on the exterior, but rather the interior.

6. I will not judge, nor condemn, nor exclude anyone...from this will come my strength to understand and tend to others.

7. Like Jesus, I want to live my life totally without self-interest, because the one who loses their life for another will be saved in the next.

8. To find the strength to love those excluded, I daily turn to Jesus, looking in his heart for the ardent fountain of divine love.

9. What I fear in life is not poverty, nor sickness nor struggle, but rather the absence of faith, love, and hope.

10. Though the work may be hard and draining, though illness may invade my body, I am the happiest person in the world.

Damien and the Not so Itsy Bitsy

I had an interesting experience this morning after washing my face in the bathroom. Think about washing your face... no glasses, right? And then you bring the towel up to your face to dry, right? Picture a black dime...inflated to three dimensions. Put eight legs on this chubby dime... THAT is what was on my towel as I brought it up to my face!! The spiders are populous and healthy in this part of Chile, I am told. But there is only one that can kill you...I suppose telling me that was to be some sort of consolation.

It isn't the spider itself so much that bothers me...more the splat-factor. Although, having one that close to my face is a little too intimate an aquaintence, thank you, and I don´t care how big it is.

The day is bright, clean, and beautiful today. And this morning´s laundry is dry on the line. I do enjoy clothes dried outside and brought in all warm from the sun. The big deal in the area, aside from Chile beating Columbia and thus earning a spot in the World Cup in South Africa, is this morning´s canonization of Damien of Molokai. The Los, as the congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary is known here so as to distinguish from El, which is us, have a big presence in these areas and several parishes are dedicated to Damien.

His story is an interesting one and one of his famous writings is The Ten Convictions. My favorite of the ten is What I fear in life is not poverty, not sickness or conflict, but rather the absence of faith, love, and hope. The rest of them are lovely as well.

My day will end with folding the laundry I washed and hung about eight hours ago. There is something pleasing about that sort of circling. To say nothing of clean pyjamas...

Monday, October 5, 2009

de Reñaca

I write this while sitting in the room of my community's house that serves as everything except kitchen, bathroom, and bedrooms. I can hear dozens of feral dogs barking outside, nothing unusal about that, and smell the instant espresso that many have for their morning wake up. The view from the window on my right includes a neighbor's flag still up from the Fiestas Patrias of 18 September, electric meters, a rose bush in the front yard, lots of dust, and a lemon tree across the street. I have finished with my breakfast, washed the dishes (except my mug of espresso!), straightened my room, and am now catching up on some writing.

I have been to the Sacred Heart School in Reñaca several times already to watch, look, ask, and listen for ways that I might be able to be of help there. As it is a bilingual school, they are quite excited to have someone nearby who is a native speaker and can help the students with their pronunciation. To get to the school via micro, the local public transportation, takes about an hour and a healthy walk. The ride takes you steadily down, closer to the ocean. The house where I live is up in the hills. As you climb up into the hills, the poverty level increases along with the beauty of the view. The saying here is that the most poor have the best view. It is seen as a sort of ironic justice.

Also, I have had a chance to help here in the neighborhood. This past Saturday, a clinic was set up in the parish hall with a doctor, pediatrician, hair dresser, vet, and podiatrist volunteering their time. There was clothing for sale, and breakfast was served to all. Many came and took advantage of the services for their children and themselves, as well as some pets.

I am not at school today, Monday, because it is our weekly day for gathering as a community. People will come home around 12:30, we will have our main meal together, and then someone will have prepared prayer and an activity for us as a community. Responsibility for this rotates--I still have three weeks to figure out what I am doing when it is my turn!