Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Heroic suffering

Over the weekend the cold descended with a muffled thump, and I spent a lot of time in front of the fire finishing Story of a Soul, by St. Therese of Lisieux. Now, there's something wrong with this picture: there I was, all tucked up on my cosy couch, the fire roaring in the fireplace, a cup of chamomile tea next to me, and the head of my oldest dog resting on my lap.

Now, Therese suffered gladly for Jesus. Therese begged Jesus for more suffering, so that she could endure it to His glory. Therese endured a really horrific two-day death agony from tuberculosis, without complaint. So, as a corollary, Therese should perhaps be read:

--in the cold garage, in the dark, by flashlight
--at the bus stop, in the wind and rain
--on a dark and lonely road, waiting for the tow-truck
--at a campsite in the lonely woods, when your food has run out, the
campfire is dying, and some undoubtedly large, hungry beast is howling
close by

But probably not in a comfortable living room with a cup of tea, a fire, and woman's best friend snoozing nearby. What's wrong with this picture is that it has HYPOCRITE stamped all over it.

Here's my problem. Suffering doesn't appeal to me. It isn't something I look for, in order to bear it heroically for the Lord. When I pray, "Deliver us from evil," I am not kidding! Two-day death agony? Please, no (whine). Dose me up on morphine or something.

I think most people feel the same way. There is enough suffering in the average life, without going in search of more. To my way of thinking, there's a thin line between wanting to suffer for the Lord and having some active mental pathology. Not that I'm saying anything was wrong with Therese! There's just something going on with her that I don't get.

Then again, she's a saint, and I'm not. So there you go.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Winter at last!

Seems like the firewood I have piled on my porch won't go to waste after all, now that real winter has come at last. The mercury is likely to stay low for awhile, so tonight I plan to have a roaring fire. Snow or no snow, I like it cold.

Even with the mild weather we've been having, it does seem like a kind of "dead" time of year. With Martin Luther King Day over, we now have no more time off till Memorial Day. It's a stretch till then! And everyone is sick. I ride public transit at my peril.

I guess January and February are the time to hunker down. And I'm good at hunkering!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

A new year

And so a new year begins.

We are just back from a three-day visit to my mother-in-law and sister-in-law, in rural central New York State. This is one of my favorite places on earth, and it always does me good being there. There's an expansiveness there that the suburbs simply lack. The hills were (for the first time in winter that I can recall) totally brown and bare of snow. In fact, we saw no snow in the Poconos either, which must be giving ski-slope operators fits. But the distant hills with their copses of bare, black trees looked like wrinkled brown velvet, and I could not get enough of looking at them.

Speaking of looking at things, I took a good look at myself in the bathroom mirror on New Year's Day. I had washed my hair but left it to dry by itself, and it had sorted itself into long, loose waves. Right then and there, it occurred to me that I very much resemble a middle-aged cocker spaniel with glasses. I suppose it could be worse! I guess I could make a resolution to attempt to change into some other kind of middle-aged dog (golden retriever? Bloodhound?), but I guess cocker spaniel will have to do!