Wednesday, January 30, 2008


The parking lot of Trinita is an unpaved, sloping patch of ground between the Main House and the highway. We've had snow on the ground for days now, but the parking lot has been clean and safe. This morning it started raining and the weather was practically balmy. So I was pretty amazed when some Moms came in for the meeting and told me the parking lot was iced over. Confused, and perhaps even a little skeptical, I went out to see.

Yes. It was iced over. How?? Why?? I do not want to list all the things that have come up in my life in just a few short days that have blindsided me, but the parking lot being iced over in above-freezing weather is a great metaphor for all those things. Something that is a serious problem that I Need To Take Care Of Right Now. That kind of problem. (We had a little car accident, in fact. A little one.)

I actually wanted to cry. Not because of that, but because of everything, the ice being just, uh, the icing on the... cake. But I didn't cry. Because, in the words of one of my seven-year-old friends, I am one of the bosses of Trinita. And the only boss in town at the moment. I think bosses are not supposed to cry in public. This is a day that did get better. I made a friend. But then it got worse. And then it got a little better. And then it got worse again. If the past three days were a volleyball game between Happy Me and Sad Me, Sad Me would be ahead one point at this moment. But it's been a close match and the game ain't over.

Think I am gonna bake a pie. Not tonight, although I considered it. Tomorrow. And maybe I am gonna buy me another pink shirt.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


When I worked at our mission of St. Patrick School in Phenix City, Alabama, Christmas time was pretty hectic. I remember lots of special activities, and I was really glad I was only an aide and not a teacher. But being an aide was hard enough. We borrowed a videocamera from someone's dad, and I was assigned to record everything for a few days. Don't picture one of them cute little hand-sized things everybody has now. This was back in the day. The thing weighed a ton, was the size of a breadbox, and my shoulder ached for days.

When I worked at our mission of Catholic Social Services in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, Christmas time was pretty hectic. We had lists, long lists of families we had served during the year who needed gifts for their kids. Because one big donor backed out at the very last minute, we had to do some emergency overtime to cover a few dozen families. I have a very clear memory of winding through the decimated aisles of some department store, stupid with fatigue since it was nearly midnight, looking for women's gloves or something lame like that. Lists and lists.

When I was on the Formation team, I spent a few Christmases at our novitiate in Temascalapa, Mexico. Our sisters were immersed in planning, coordinating, and executing various Christmas activities in the eight or so chapels surrounding the main town, and I helped out a little. Somehow it became my job to prepare a Christmas meal for about 25 Missionary Servants, men and women who gathered to finally relax after a marathon of liturgies and activities.

So the Christmas season here has to rate as perhaps the least stressful December I have had yet. We did a lot of baking and then we got to deliver baskets all over the northwest corner of the state. It was great fun.

Now it's January of a new year. There will be much new this year. In a few days, I am driving Olivia to her new ministry at our Motherhouse in Philadelphia. Then, we all have to adjust to our shifted responsibilities. And we'll be adjusting again whenever a new sister is assigned here.

We'll cope somehow. Perhaps I will develop a new part of myself as I adjust to all these changes. In my vow formula, I included the words from Paul's prayer at the end of chapter 3 of Ephesians. That part about letting your hidden self grow strong, that has always sounded like something I should strive for. I think this year maybe I will really break out and start wearing pink. Yeah, that's it. That will say change like nothing else. I never wear pink. But I got a pink sweater for Christmas, and I bought myself a pink shirt with my Christmas money. And I wear it, too. Yup, this is going to be a very different year for me. The signs are all there.