Tuesday, July 23, 2013

It's all relational

Greetings from Texas, and the warm, sunny (dehydrated) districts of Austin, where my sister lives. (This time last year we were here with Mom.) The past week hasn't been as rough on me as I had expected. My sisters in New Orleans had already gone through a lot of Mom's things, delivering clothing to Goodwill (and to an aunt, and a neighbor), and picking out things they especially wanted.  I suppose seeing Mom's house and belongings already in distribution was easier than coming home and seeing things intact, as if she were still there. This road trip to Texas was, in part, a delivery service, hauling some of Mom's things that my sister here had her heart set on from among Mom's framed prints and jewelry (not much in that department; Mom's tastes were very simple), as well as a few selections from Mom's vast collection of scarves and purses. (Now I know why I like bags so much...)

Right now I am here with two of my sisters (and the dear old Golden Retriever who is now baying at the back door); one more sister will be arriving Thursday with her daughter. (That leaves the youngest sister, but as we visited her overnight on our way here, she is part of the total experience, too.)  I'm not sure what the next few days will involve, but I do suspect that shopping might be a big part of it. (If competitive shopping were an Olympic event, my sisters would all be gold medalists.) As for me, there are a few things I needed for the upcoming trip to Italy (for that month long meeting, not for a pleasure trip!), but I was able to find most of them among the things Mom left. (Thanks, Mom!)

Without Mom, the family relationships now stand on their own. Today's Gospel was about family relationships, too. Jesus was in a house, surrounded by his disciples (probably a motley enough crew). Mary and some of his "brothers" (the Church has always understood this term in its broad sense as "relatives") came over, asking for Jesus, and somehow the message was passed along until it reached the Master. He answered with a question. "Who are my mother? Who are my brothers?"  When Jesus asks a question, he is about to deliver a powerful teaching. So it was: he stretched out his hand, the open palm sweeping the room. "Here are my mother and my brothers: everyone who does the will of my Heavenly Father is brother and sister and mother to me."

Today I noticed (for the first time) that Jesus did not say that the one who does God's will is his brother OR sister OR mother, depending on the person's sex and general attitude toward the Lord. He said that such a one is all three: brother and sister and mother, as if there were no one term that could express the close relationship that is brought about; as if such a one were "everything" to Jesus--everything but his Eternal Origin. Is this also a hint of the Trinitarian communion we are invited into? To have our relationship with Jesus as our whole identity, the way the Persons of the Divine Trinity "are" their relationships within the Divine communion? And that the Father's blessed will is the Origin of it all?

I think I'll spend the remainder of this vacation time pondering that. (With my feet in my sister's backyard pool.)


Anonymous said...


This is Simon. I don't know where to write this so i'm doing it here. I just wanted to say sorry and that i'm not a good person because i still have terrible thoughts and i'm still bitter about life.

That's all, you can just read this and not post it.

Take care.

Sr Anne Flanagan said...

O.K, Simon. Sorry that you are in such a slump. I wish I could take the "bitter" out and leave you with only the "better"

Anonymous said...

Thanks Sister,

I've been emailing someone Catholic. She knows Jennifer Fulwiler quite well i think and has remained emailing me even though i've said bad things to her too.

I don't know what to do if these thoughts continue. I can dismiss them easily but if they can't leave me for good i might not be able take anymore.

Thanks again,


Sr Anne Flanagan said...

Sorry I haven't been able to keep up in a timely manner; our schedule is pretty packed and I have to slip in moments online in between...
That said, Simon, please get professional help with those troubling thoughts. I don't know what the possibilities are in your area, but find a doctor or therapist immediately. You need to bring this to a living breathing person in person and not online. Online tends to keep it in your head, banging around and making even more of a racket. Speaking in person puts it "outside" of you even in expressing whatever it is--and in a professional setting you can say just what it is, as clear as day, no matter how scary or creepy or horrible. There is something healing already in that ex-pression, already a kind of ex-orcism
Comment when you have read this and I will delete it. Your comments come first to my email so I will not have to post it, but for your sake I would rather remove this when you have acknowledged it (and assured me that you are taking ACTION!!!!!)

Anonymous said...

I've seen doctors before and none helped.

See? that is all you can say.seek help but not form you or any other so-called christian.

You think i'd carry them out too? You are as bad as the rest. Id' never do what i did again,get that through your skull

When mum goes so will i and i'll be glad to be free from this shithole planet. The only reason i'm here is because i'm a coward and she said she'd die too if i went. I will wait till she goes.

you just think i'm another online nutter so you can sweep me aside.


Anonymous said...

So, what now then? Doctors dont help so i have one option left.

Anonymous said...

Just so as you know, or in case possibly make a big deal out of it. I won't be bothering you anymore.

You've washed your hands
and now you can go back to normal and carry on with your blog. I restricted my comments only to certain posts so as not to disrupt too much you ambience of your posts. There wasn't a certain post or "relevant" area to talk to you so you'll have to forgive me for commenting here and other places. Besides, it wasn't as if i plagued you with my presence on a daily basis... Hopefully, Jesus will too, forgive me,once i muster up the courage to finally....