Since she admired magnolia flowers, I thought I would find one in reach to take and give her for the drive on the next leg of her trip. On our walk that day, we found none. “Have they finished flowering?” she asked?
I didn’t know.
Today, on my walk, the same one we had taken a week ago, I saw two magnolia flowers that I could reach. But my friend is no longer visiting, and I did not take one for myself.
We sometimes miss our Lords of Life through bad timing. I suppose that we can miss our entire lives by bad timing.
In a Dream.
Seated across from me at a large breakfast party was a former colleague. She said, “You’ll be glad to know that (a name a didn’t know) finally retired after 58 years of teaching!”
“58. Years?” I said. “Why?”
“He doesn’t know,” she said.
I awoke, laughing.
A Sojourn in Eastern NC
Billboard: Your Wife Is Hot. Better Get the Air Conditioner Fixed. (I would not use this company, but there are obviously those who find this puerile, sexist advertising funny.)
A Scarecrow: I was startled each time I saw the scarecrow in the neighbor’s yard from my second floor bedroom window. Does it work for crows as well?
At a Restaurant: We overheard three middle-aged women at the adjoining table:
“George Clooney? He’s too young,” said the first.
“I don’t like him,” said the second.
“And I don’t like Brad Pitt,” said the first.
“I don’t even know who you’re talking about,” said the third.
My friend and I exchanged big smiles.
On a walk: The day was baking hot, and I smiled to realize that the hot air was pine-scented from the many pine trees growing nearby and from the raked pine straw piled in the street.
“I know the people who live there,” said a friend, giving me a driving tour of McMansions in a fashionable neighborhood, “and they hired a woman who cleaned their house for ten or twelve years. And then she, the maid, got sick, hard to stop work, went to the hospital, had to have surgery and a long rest at home, and not once did they call her or send her a card, or visit her–nothing! And when she called them to tell them she was ready to go back to work, they told her she had been replaced and wouldn’t be needed. And I think that’s ugly. They way the treated her was just ugly!”
Notes on Reading. Nonfiction. Mark E. Thibodeaux, Armchair Mystic: Easing Into Contemplative Prayer. Franciscan Media, 2001.
This is a well-thought-out consideration and explanation of the practice of prayer and its effects on our lives.
Thibodeaux explains by examples four stage of prayer, which he calls talking at God, talking to God, listening to God, and being with God. For each stage, he presents advantages and possible pitfalls of each, with suggestions on how to make transitions to deeper levels.
He uses specific examples from his life to help readers understand the ideas. He emphasizes the need for discipline and solitude to structure and practice a prayer life. He stresses the need for discernment of the effects of prayer, offers suggestions for dealing with distractions during meditation and for dealing with times when the prayer discipline seems futile.
He ends the book with chapters which stress the idea that prayer results in changes of the self, changes that lead to service to others.