Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Celebrating the Old, the New, the Eternal

The clock was bonging 12 times in my family room; the ball was dropping in Times Square to a loud celebrating crowd, and in the adoration chapel a small group of people were gathered in silence.
It was snowing as I drove to the chapel for my usual Tuesday midnight adoration hour.  I was happy the coordinators of the chapel did not close it tonight because of the weather; on similar stormy nights I might have received a call telling me to stay at home.  As it was, I listened to Christmas carols once again as the car moved silently on the snow-covered roads.  There was much to think on as I traveled, 2013 and 2014, and the setting outside and in seemed appropriate for my musings.
Within the chapel I found a handful of people gathered as the hour neared midnight.  A few minutes before a young couple entered and knelt together next to me; I thought it was snow at first, but as the minutes passed I realized she had small flakes of confetti on her coat.  Had they interrupted one party to attend a more important one?  They stayed only 10 minutes, but when celebrating with One who is outside of time, it is an eternity, you know.  The adorers who spend time in the hour before mine usually leave at the stroke of midnight, but tonight they remained for 10 minutes more. 
Time passed: old year, new year, eternity.
The year 2013 had brought a big change in my life.  Mom went home to God, joining dad, sis and bro, leaving me alone.  Mom’s house in Wisconsin closed last week, and the check arrived via FedEx yesterday.  One more thing finished; one more memory.  Time marched on.  I recalled lots of smaller events of 2013; looking back, I could see them all as blessings in one form or another, even those hard days.  And there were those days of sheer delight also, many of them; and yes, I did eventually have that quiet night in front of the fireplace, the first in many years.  It almost felt holy.
Among the many books I gave away at Christmas were those to the Bible study group, and last Friday one of the men told me how he was using the short Caryll Houselander meditations each night with his kids, each taking turns reading them and discussing what they meant.  It was a blessing to his house, he said as he thanked me again --- and his words were certainly one to me, too.
I don’t have any great plans for 2014, although I have been checking around for a personal trainer to help get this old body back in form again.  Whatever God brings my way, I want to be in shape to tackle it.  Perhaps that’s how I will spent these first minutes, this first day of 2014: thinking about what 2014 might bring, and asking for clarity of the mission: “Lord, what would You have me do?”
Each minute of each day is a blessing to be celebrated.  God has chosen me --- me! --- for a special purpose, even as he has chosen you.  What is it?  I don’t know, but I’ll meet you here at the end of 2014, and we can compare notes.  Regardless the task given us, I’m sure we will be blessed in our efforts to stay the course He has laid before us.
Happy New Year!


  1. I just started reading your blog this week after seeing your posting on A Woman's Place offering Cam and her family a place to stay. I've been following the adventures of Cammie and Paul and the kids for about 6 months now, and I love them! I admire Paul and Cam immensely, though I only know them through her blog. I linked to your blog because of the title, "Do Not Be Anxious."
    I want to express my sympathy at the loss of your mother, and I am sorry you are the last of your immediate family. My interest in your blog is that I am currently taking care of my elderly mother (she'll be 97 on Jan. 15, God willing!) in her home. As I read some of your past postings, I am trying to understand how your care taking unfolded for you, and what you lived, but more importantly, how your faith is influencing your life and your life choices. Also, the title of your blog, "Do Not Be Anxious" resonates with me, because I am often anxious about many, many things, and I am often led to the phrase, "Do not let your heart be troubled."
    I plan on spending some time in the coming months reading your past postings, because I believe you have already walked some of the roads I am heading down. And already one of your posts has helped me. That is the one about your mother's last days. Sadly, some of what you have said is applicable to my own mom lately (sleeping more, not being hungry). Perhaps Our Lord is preparing me. Ever since the day of her stroke I have prayed against the day of her death, but you know, Our Lord chooses the hour and the day, not us.
    Anyway, I hope you will have a joyful New Year's Day, and your new year will be filled with great blessings. I also hope to be a regular visitor here.
    I have to use the Anonymous profile because I don't have any of those other things. God bless. ~ Fran

  2. Welcome, Fran. If you plan on reading older posts, get a comfortable chair. I believe I've done over 750 of them, all starting after my caring for mom and retirement from Ford. You can read how my caring started suddenly, with sis then dad dying within a month of each other. I never expected to care for my parents in their old age; sis said she wanted to. But all that changed.

    Among things I do now is coordinate a caregiver's support group, and its monthly meeting. I found that helped me -- and others --- very much, perhaps because of the unique and loving people who attend. Many have told us what a blessing that group was; I'm sure I've got some postings on the adventures there also. As to what else you might find useful, well I'll let God help you decide. If you would ever like a more personal contact, you can access my email on my profile page, and I would always be willing to answer questions about caring for a loved one, questions about their care, and about yours.

    May God bless you and your mom in this new year

  3. Happy New Year, Tom! What a perfect New Years Eve…Holiness before Jesus and a quiet, holy, moment in your domestic church. Your Mama must have been smiling! Sadly, we did not have a New Year vigil or Adoration this year…It has been the highlight of my New Year's Eve for years now and I was so sad not to have that time with Our Lord. Our priest does not appear to be a big fan of this devotion. Will you be so kind as to pray for our parish? He also recently suspended Adoration because he found the Blessed Sacrament unattended the day after Christmas. I agree that was a terrible mistake on someone's part. I have volunteered to take sign ups as he does not want the previous lady involved any longer:( Father has also set a tall order of wanting 4 people in each time slot for cushion. I will be taking sign ups this weekend and praying we can have it restored by next Thursday. Knowing you are a devoted Adorer…I was hoping you could lift us up in prayer. Thank you so kindly!

  4. Prayers for you, your family, and your church family --- no problem, starting tonight.

    Adoration in my parish has resulted in large numbers of vocations, men and women, large families (many of over 13 kids) and large numbers of very faithful youngsters. Seeing the Eucharist, having religious ed classes stressing what they can SEE is there, makes for knowing and loyal Catholics, and good citizens.

    Re adoration logistics, I think a few things help make it work in my parish, which is considered a charismatic parish (many people have the gift of tongues) and so it is not limited by parish boundaries; people come from 50 miles away (and more) to attend mass and their adoration times. At the adoration chapel is a sign-in book which lists the two people scheduled for each hour and their phone numbers (in case they don't show), faced by a blank page for visitors to sign in. When they sign up they are given a small "here's how it works" sheet, which advises them of the various missals and meditation books available (and are to remain in the chapel) along with the suggestion "to arrive 10 minutes early." Above the sign-in book are two notes, one is the coordinator's name and number and the admonition to "never leave the chapel empty. If you must leave call (name and phone number) and someone will be there shortly." The coordinator and his wife live 5 minutes away. When people sign up (and each year) a listing of substitutes names, numbers, and available hours/days is also handed out.

    A final point, relating to the large area covered by my parish: If other churches in the area do not have scheduled adoration, you may wish to offer them the availability to sign up for hours, especially since you have a target of 4 for each hour. This might get you signups and a large substitute listing.

    Good luck, Tiff. Know that God is on your side --- literally! I'll be praying for you.

    1. Oops! The second note above the sign-in book is a blank sheet headed with the words: "Substitutes Wanted", where people can list days and hours they are seeking subs, so they can list them weeks ahead, and a place for a name and number of someone who commits to fill that spot.

    2. Those are great suggestions…We have never had a sign-in book so I may just have to start one! We actually have Adoration in the main church since we don't have a chapel. Thank you so much…Especially for the prayers!