Thursday, January 30, 2014

Margaret Blackie's Rooted in Love ~ Blogging Book Tour

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to meet with a spiritual director?  What sorts of thoughts and ideas might you share?  What might you expect in the form of guidance about your life of prayer?

Have you ever wondered what people are talking about when they enthusiastically mention the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius?  Those folks who tell you that "the Exercises changed my life" ~ we can be somewhat tedious, can't we? What's the big draw?

Or have you, perhaps, longed to have a conversation about your spiritual life with a friend or companion, but had no idea where to start?  What counts as "spiritual?"  Will your friend laugh at you?  You know that you would fumble for the words with which to describe your experience of God, or prayer ~ or your lack of experience.  How does one begin?

Margaret Blackie's book, Rooted in Love, answers these questions in a relaxed, friendly manner.  To read her book is to settle into a deep and wide-ranging spiritual conversation with a companion who is simultaneously a "friend from down the block" and an experienced spiritual guide.

Mags is a long-time spiritual director in the tradition of St. Ignatius of Loyola, so her book is peppered with Ignatian concepts of prayer, presented in a down-to-earth way.  And she concludes each chapter with a short set of exercises so that her readers might experiment with the concepts, language, and practices she introduces.  Much as she might if she were your "real life" director, Mags sends you off at the end of each reading with questions and ideas to ponder and review in your own periods of silence with God.

Mags is also a woman who has engaged many of life's puzzles with a discerning mind and heart: questions of career and call, issues of relationship, and challenges of the inner life.  She is not afraid to describe her own dilemmas, just as she might to a friend or spiritual director, and thus she models the kind of conversation many spiritual seekers long for. 

When Mags, who blogs here, invited me to review her book, she also offered to answer a few questions.  I immediately asked for her views on the following:

One of the first questions often asked by people seeking spiritual direction is "How can I establish some sort of rhythm or consistency in my prayer life?  I mean well, but I constantly procrastinate and delay."  How do you help people who hope to embark upon a deeper life of prayer get started?
I have three comments. I think most people procrastinate in prayer either because they are afraid of something or they are avoiding something. The first addresses the fear or avoidance - don't try and be anything other than you are; honesty in prayer is the most important thing. If you are afraid of something in particular bring it to God; likewise, if you are avoiding something, ask for the desire to deal with it.
The second piece of advice is more practical. If you have decided you want to pray for twenty minutes at a day, and you don't have twenty minutes - then do what you can. Praying for 5 or 10 minutes is better than not praying just because you can't spend the time you ideally wanted to.
Finally, if neither of the first two issues is a problem, it may be that the way that you are trying to pray isn't working for you. Try something else.
As you point out in your book, you encountered Ignatian spirituality at a young age.  In the spiritual direction program in which I trained, there is an increasing number of young students -- men and women in their twenties and thirties.  How do you think Ignatian spirituality speaks to young people in particular?
The Spiritual Exercises were designed for a person making a significant life choice (considering joining the Ignatius and his companions). The material on discernment and making decisions is so incredibly helpful to younger people. In your twenties and thirties you are in the midst of choosing career, life companion and what kind of life you are to lead. You also tend to be slightly less encumbered with responsibilities and obligations and therefore you have greater freedom. To have such tools when you are in the midst of making these choices is invaluable. Learning how to be discerning early sets you up better for whatever will come your way in life.  
And finally, Mags, who is both a chemist and a spiritual director, gave an unexpected answer to my third question ~ but one which may encourage all who struggle with more than one vocation or call in life.  My question was: In Ignatian spirituality, we often speak of "finding God in all things."  In what "thing" have you found it most difficult to locate God, and how was that challenge resolved (if it was)?
Probably in chemistry! I wish I had a different answer to that! I can intellectually see God in chemistry, but there are times when I find it hard to encounter God through the daily minutiae of building an academic career. There is a lot of evidence which supports the choice I have made to balance chemistry and spirituality. Nonetheless, I think I continue to walk the path I do out of an act of faith, rather than felt confirmation. I guess when I stop and pay attention I recognise that I do feel called to this life, but at the same time it can sometimes feel like an awkward fit.
Enjoy the book and the blog tour!

(Margaret Blackie asked me to review her book, which I had already purchased.  I have received no compensation for this post.  If you'd like to read another review, take a look at Fran Szpylczyn's at There Will Be Bread.)

(And . . .  I've started a new blog!  So you'll also find this piece cross-posted there! Eventually.)

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Hair Washing Memories

(My boys on a similar trip a few years later.)
Many summers ago, my father, my two sons, who were about fifteen, and I spent a week canoeing in the backcountry of Ontario's Algonquin Park.  One acquires a layer of uncomfortable grunge on such expeditions, and so I planned to clean off in the water about midway through the trip.
(A portion of Algonquin.  I think that on this trip about which I am writing we were up in the square jutting north off the map.)
We camped on a small peninsula jutting into one of the hundreds of lakes marking Algonquin and, as the sun began to set, I eased a canoe into the water and paddled to a nearby stretch of rock for some privacy.  I lathered myself up as completely as I could while remaining dry, and then slipped into the frigid water.  My goal was to rinse hair and body as thoroughly and speedily as possible so that I could clamber back onto the rock and dry off before I was frozen into a pillar of ice, never to look back.
Afterward, there would have been fleece clothing and a campfire, packs hoisted into the trees to discourage bears, and a night curled up in a tent.  A routine evening, its memory merged with others.  But I do recall clearly the beauty of that cold bath in a remote lake as the sky lit up with streaks of evening sunlight.
That interlude was what I thought about this morning as I engaged in the arduous task of wheeling my scooter to the kitchen sink, washing my hair, wheeling to the tiny half bath to sponge bathe the rest of me, and wheeling to the living room to dress. 
I have nothing to complain about on this icy day of yet more snowfall; I am warm and safe inside.   But I decided that I much preferred to daydream about Algonquin while I bathed than to focus on the effort it takes to accomplish the same thing this month!

Friday, January 24, 2014

The Unheralded Champions (Friday Five)

In today's Friday Five, Deb writes as follows:
With the Olympic Games in Sochi just around the corner, I started thinking about all the athletes who attend the Games and never win a medal. The hours of practicing, sacrifice and dedication don’t get noticed by the media. Yet, for the love of their sport, they persevere.
Then I began to reminisce about the “Olympians” in the Church. Perhaps you can think of faithful ones who never get up to preach, sing or read, but faithfully come, week after week, to serve. It seems to me they deserve a medal of sorts.
So, for this week’s Friday Five, share stories or memories of those “medalists” of the Church who have encouraged you in their faithfulness.

1 ~I attended a convent boarding school for grades seven through nine, a school in which the aged and bent Sister Mary Anthony was a ubiquitous presence.  She cleaned and scrubbed and polished, hallways and bookcases and windows, endlessly ~ and probably still does, into all of eternity.  In a school filled with 125 girls tramping in and out all day, her lone task was never finished, and she occasionally barked at us when our boots trailed mud or snow down one of her gleaming hallways. 
I was over at the convent just after Christmas ~ it's only twenty minutes from my family home ~ and paused at her grave for a moment.  I doubt that many of us girls gave much thought to her labors at a time when we were trying to spread our wings, but I would guess that every one of us remembers her now with some degree of awe.
2 ~ Although I experienced an excess of church in my six years in two boarding schools, I knew nothing about the more usual forms of church community when my husband and I joined a large Methodist congregation as we approached our thirties.  Eventually I was invited to join what I guess today might be termed the social justice committee, headed by an elderly gentleman named Lee.  His wife, Bev, taught an adult Sunday school class which we sometimes attended.  Lee and Bev were a retired couple, quiet but always gracious and generous, and thirty years later they come immediately to mind when I think of our early years in that church, years in which I was often curiously attentive to the ways in which people lived out lives of faith.
3 ~ In the church which I just left as pastor, there are a number of ladies who do some of everything, but one in particular stands out.  Carol doesn't sing in the choir or serve as a liturgist, but when a meal is needed post-funeral or for any other event, one call to her and it's as good as done.  She can be a bit of a curmudgeon (which I say in the most loving way), so I was surprised at first, but eventually learned that she would be the first to speak up when there was a bit of debate over whether to fund some sort of mission need.  "Well, of course we should do that," she'd say.  "It's not as if we don't have the money."
4 ~ In the same church, there's a group of men, aged 25-75 (at least!) who are similarly reliable servants.  They're the group I used to tease, because they would announce that a trustees' meeting would be taking place on a given evening and, if I stopped by, I would invariably find them in overalls and boots, sitting around and telling stories.  But they also, when no one was looking, accomplished nearly every single maintenance, construction, and repair task in that building.  Farmers know how to do everything, and they do it, without fanfare but often with a great deal of humor.
5 ~ And, because it came up this week:  I have a good friend, a Catholic woman, who as far as I know holds no leadership position in her church.  She's a spiritual director (she was in my class), ands professionally she's a nurse.  As we sat with a small group in the funeral home two days ago talking over what we might do for our newly bereaved mutual friend, I told everyone that I used to receive little envelopes and packages from Marcia, occasionally and out of the blue, each containing a few little odds and ends: a refrigerator magnet, a tiny  Pema Chodron book, a card with a quote or a prayer.   "It was just knowing that someone was thinking of you," remarked another woman.  Indeed.
So . . . gold medals for all who demonstrate the presence of Christ to others.  Although I'm sure that all them would prefer a can of soup donated to a hunger center over a gold medal for themselves. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Funeral Mass

Here's one of the things I really like about Catholic churches: you can almost always find a portrayal of a heartbroken mother.  This one is a section of a spectacular crucifixion window.
Here's what I remember about this day in my own life:  after the service, and the food, and all the people, the thought:
OK, we did that, and it was truly awful, but it's over.  He'll come back now, right? 


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Funeral Home Calling Hours

In a little while a friend is picking me up so that we can go to the calling hours for our other friend's son.  Here is what I remember from 5.5 years ago:
My surviving son said that the place looked like, ummmm, I believe that what he said was  "a Vegas brothel."  I trust that that remark emerged out of imagination rather than experience.  I believe that it had to do with the overdone décor, particularly the drapes and upholstery.
The event seemed very stilted at first.  People began to sit quietly in the chairs ringing the rooms.  I went over to a group of Josh's college friends and urged them to move about freely and talk among themselves.  "One would think that you were in a funeral home.  Oh.  I guess you are."  Yes, I actually said that.
One consequence of the above was that, as the afternoon and evening wore on, the crowd became a large crush of people.  We abandoned all sense of a receiving line and wandered about greeting our guests.
I was surprised by who showed up.  A lot of it I could not remember afterward, and I had to look at the guestbooks to see who had been there.  But there are moments that remain clear to me.  A lawyer colleague whom I had not seen in a decade, but who had lost a college-age daughter years earlier.  Parents and children from the Jewish school in which I had taught ~ a brave move on their part on many levels.  My cousin who flew in from Chicago and had only an hour to spare before his flight back.  Two nuns who had made the four hour drive from southern Ohio and had to make their return trip that night.  That's why I'm going today, because I remember those moments.
And something I learned.  I had been most opposed to the urn being "displayed" at the funeral home and at the service the next day.  The funeral home director kept talking about "closure," which I consider a BS kind of word.  But there it was.  And at one point I glanced in that direction, and saw Josh's ex-girlfriend, fiancee' really, standing alone in front of the table.  She quietly blew a kiss in the direction of the urn and mouthed the word, "Good-bye."  So.  I thought.  Maybe it is of some use. 


Monday, January 20, 2014

Concrete Help After a Death in the Family

If you ever wonder how to help, beyond sending flowers and contributions and saying, "Let me know if there's anything I can do," . . .

This is from an email I just sent to a large group of friends and colleagues:

"PS: If you are wanting to supply something, here are some great things to take over to the house, from my sad personal experience:
a cooler packed with ice and soft drinks (that was a JS inspiration, but J is in FL),
paper goods for a full house -- paper towels, toilet paper, napkins, paper plates, etc.,
juice boxes and animal cracker kinds of things -- there are little grandchildren around,
breakfast quiches or other breakfast food easy to heat up, coffee and juice,
certificates for take-out from local family restaurants."
The above are all items that would be of great help to people far too crazed with grief to remember that they need toilet paper, and who now have  a dozen casseroles in the frig, but nothing for breakfast.


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Another . . .

 . . .  loss of a young man to suicide among one of my circles of friends.
How long, O Lord?


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Broken Ankle Day 14 ~ 14 Things

1.  Broken ankle recovery is MUCH more difficult that mastectomy recovery.  I went back to my blog posts to check and yes, I was out ~ slowly and with the requirement of much sleep afterward ~ two weeks after my mastectomy, and preaching a week after that.  Yes, there is a lot of depression and sadness that accompanies the loss of a breast, and the problems inherent in the lingering presence of general anesthesia out of your system are the same in both cases, but after breast surgery you can WALK.
2. I need the entire queen-sized bed in the guestroom for me, my cast, the foam cushion on which I sometimes raise my leg, my tossing and turning, my books and phone and ipad, and my cat.
3.  I crawl upstairs on my knees and come down on my rear.  Once a day for each.
4.  I wash my hair in the kitchen sink, leg resting on a chair, and take sponge baths by sitting on the toilet in the tiny downstairs half-bath.  I do both things as seldom as possible.
5.  Get-well cards and notes are the high point of my day.
6.  I was surprisingly angered by a blog post on the spirituality of accepting one's powerlessness in the face of a friend's need.  POWERLESSNESS?  Excuse me?  If you have two working hands and feet, you are not powerless.  There is stinking laundry all over the house, people run out of toilet paper and food staples, rugs need vacuuming, and litter boxes need cleaned. 
7.  I have been reading blogs about broken ankle recovery.  Yesterday a friend, a secretary at the university, told me that she broke her ankle two years ago and said, "I know you were just like me when the doctor said how long it would take.  I said, 'Oh, no ~ you don't know me!' "  "Yep," I said, "that was me."  "A year," she said.  "A year for everything to feel back to normal."  Holy SHIT.  It's true. 
8. I am so grateful to . . . the head of the religion department, my lectionary study group, the people working on my newest project, and our clerk of session, all of whom are coming to my house for meetings in the next week.  This does require the purchase of a new vacuum cleaner, however, as ours died yesterday, of course.
9.  I look longingly at television commercials in which people are walking though airports and frolicking wherever it is they frolic.  Unlike Mrs. Patmore, I AM a frolicker. 
10.  I am grateful to the friend who is going to take this week's sermon and preach it for me.  We are pretending that I am Paul, writing to one of the first century churches.  Alas, those were in the Mediterranean, and mine is in Cleveland.
11.  I am binge-watching The Sopranos (wearing), reading The Beekeeper's Apprentice (fantastic), watched On Golden Pond (lovely) this afternoon.
12.  I have fallen twice in the house.  I don't usually go around falling down, but this business of getting around with one leg and a walker or a scooter requires somewhat more coordination than I possess.  I am terrified of breaking something else.  I am terrified of the steps in and out of my own house.

13.  This has happened when I was pregnant (twice), when Josh died, when I had breast cancer, and now:  I wish I had a mom.  Wouldn't it be the most amazing thing, to call up your mom and say, "This totally sucks!"  Wouldn't it be the most amazing thing, to have had a mom to share your life?  I don't think about it too often, but sometimes I do.  This is one of those times.  Also, don't moms do things like bring soup?  Irony of ironies, my daughter is sick this week and I can't take soup to her.
14.  Tomorrow I venture to the surgeon's for a second post-op visit.  Staples come out (ouch!) and maybe I will get a walking boot on which I will not be permitted to walk.  But at least the damn cast will come off.

I will try hard not to write 30 things on the 30th day!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Reverence: Healing

The cat squirms in my lap for a few moments and then leaps, an elegant arc of orange and white fluff, four feet into the air and through the doorway into the next room.
The vet had told us that she would lie quietly, recovering for a couple of days, and not to permit her to run around.  Ah, but the cat is six months old, and I am sixty years.  There are some differences.
Yesterday, utterly discouraged, I huddled under my blanket in my space, the corner of our living room where my recliner and table scattered with meds and electronics are located.  I laughed briefly when I read another woman's account of her recovery from ankle surgery; she describes an identical geography.  But I wanted  to cry when I looked at the dates on her descriptions and realize how long a recovery this will be. 
Each trip to the bathroom, eighteen steps  through the same sunroom into which the cat flew with such ease, and eighteen steps back, hopping with my entire weight borne by my walker, hands aching, is an undertaking akin to hiking the Great Wall.   I have had to relinquish my teaching job, and to give up my long-anticipated retreat time.  Will my pastorate go as well?    There's so much to worry about, work-wise and money-wise.   
And yet, healing is taking place.  In some mysterious and miraculous way, the severed edges of bone are binding themselves back together, recreating blood flow and rebuilding marrow and spongy and hard bone.  Just as astonishingly, my body is accepting the presence of metal parts as the new normal. 

If all goes well, the result will be an ankle that will support walks on the beach some months from now.
Miscellaneous movements ripple through even this disrupted and limited life.  I hear from a lady twenty years my senior, a new widow, and I am able to write to her with the authority of experience about her days of freshly felt grief, the exhaustion and the disorientation.  I don't mention that the spirit often takes considerably longer to heal than the body. 
I ponder Ignatius, he of the 1521 cannonball injury, which resulted in months of bed-ridden recovery and the understanding of religious psychology that led to the Spiritual Exercises.   What would he think, I wonder, of my binge-watching of The Sopranos, which I have not seen before?  An extended meditation on spiritual desolation if ever there were one. 
And last night, or this morning, around 3:00 a.m., I turned to read a piece written by the Australian Jesuit poet Peter Steele S.J, to which my friend Michelle has linked.  When I first saw her post, I had saved it for later, thinking to pray with the poem as a form of lectio divina, but when I went to the link at 3:00 a.m.,  I discovered that, unbeknownst to me, Peter Steele died of cancer in the summer of 2012.
I am devastated. It was a stack of Peter Steele's poems that spiritual director emeritus had emailed to me in the first months after Josh died; the two men had developed a friendship while both were at Georgetown that year.  It was Peter Steele's poems that I sat reading, tears in my eyes, late one night in the computer lab at seminary, surrounded by other students pursuing their Greek or Hebrew, oblivious to anything beyond the linguistic challenges staring back at them from their screens. 
I never even met the man, and I'm sure he never knew of my existence, but I sat here, and sit here still, grieving the loss of someone who gave life to words in a way that touched me when it seemed that nothing could.
This poem to which Michelle linked, is an elegy of sorts, a litany of good-byes to places and sights the dying poet knows will not be his again.  And yet it is also a celebration, of the beauty of this life as recorded in one man's recollections.
It would seem that in his case, as in that of Ignatius, the body finally gave out, but the healed spirit continues to soar, with the lithe elegance of a small cat.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Representing . . .

1. At least 2 more weeks off work.
2. Probably no teaching this semester.
3. No retreat in February.
4. $$$$$$$
5. Sigh.
 On the plus side, the surgeon is pleased with the healing and lack of any complications so far.
Workin' that word "reverence."

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

My Word: Reverence

New Year's words are proliferating across the internet.  Various bloggers suggest that one choose a word, or offer to do the choosing - a word to serve as a guide, a focus, a call back to priorities, for the year ahead. 

I'm joining the swell of movement and offering my congregation "star words"  (thanks to Marci Glass) on Sunday ~ I think. The stars were cut out and the "Star Gazing" (think: magi) sermon planned when I tumbled down the steps last week.  The new sermon, "Stars in the Desert" (think: magi, John the Baptist, Jesus' baptism, and the desert fathers and mothers, so often asked for "a word" by those who sought their wisdom), is well under way. I guess if I am delayed another week (which tonight seems highly likely) I can work stars into "Come and See."

Last year my word, chosen by me, was Serenity.  I ended up with a stained glass window hanging of my word, and a relatively calm couple of months of discernment as I switched churches and walked through a doorway into a new realm of unexpected challenges.

This year, I sought a word that would help me to look outward, to listen, observe and respond more gently ~ albeit also more firmly.  The word I chose was Reverence.   An Ignatian word.

Spiritual Director Emeritus frequently speaks about "attention,  reverence, and devotion" as hallmarks of Ignatian spirituality. I've blogged about them at least once.  I discarded the first and last fairly easily as I considered words for this particular year.  I'm a short ways down the road on attention, and I did not want a word that I might interpret to demand more in the way of work, effort, discipline, intervention.  I'm kind of ok there as well.

But reverence?  An attitude, an approach, a willingness to calmly honor who or what presents itself to you. 

That could use some work, and might enrich my movement through this world as well.  A year of this, as the spiritual director who first did it for me describes it:

"Reverence is giving acceptance to, cherishing the differences of, holding in awe the uniqueness of another reality. So, before you judge or assess or respond, give yourself time to esteem and to accept what is there in the other."

My word: Reverence.  First object of reverence: a body and life considerably slowed due to a broken ankle.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

When Things Happen

The Director of my Clinical Pastoral Education program (known as CPE ~ that training ground for pastors in which we encounter Real People in Crisis, usually in medical settings, for the purpose not so much of learning to care for them as for learning to know and care for ourselves) ( possibly a dubious enterprise, but that's another post) was fond of raising the issue of the relationship between physical and spiritual ailments, and between life crises and health.
I'm not sure what to make of the various theories about body-spirit connections. In some matters, the relationship seems obvious. In others, not so much.  I'm sure the examples are well known to you.
That said, as I ponder the book which Michelle sent to me (previous post), I find myself wondering, with ample time this week to wonder, about my own rather dramatic juxtapositions of late.  What's this journey been revealing?  What do I carry?
I started seminary nearly seven years ago, brimming with energy and optimism, and a year later my son died of suicide. 
I was called to a church after a year's wait and, in catching up on health care so that I could give my undivided attention to our official beginning together, was diagnosed with breast cancer.
I was called to a new church two years later and, with a congregation taking a new and positive deep breath of hope for the future, slipped down my front steps onto a fractured ankle.
I carry a half-filled urn of ashes (we've been some places), a long and ugly scar, and now a plate and some pins.
I'm not depressed at all.  Don't read despair into these words; it's not there.  And it's not as if I could make any big changes in my life; these days I can barely hop to the bathroom.
But I am VERY curious.  Mystified.  I have young seminary classmates, and some not so young, who in the three/four years since we were in school have acquired spouses, children, first homes, major trips, and even more confidence in God than they brought with them to school.  And, ok, to be honest, my own life was pretty spectacular at 35.   And I could write a gratitude post for the last few years a mile long.
But seriously, why do all these things keep happening?  And what's with the timing?!

Journeys of Simplicity ~ Book Contemplation


My friend Michelle sent me this beautiful little book which arrived yesterday afternoon, a delightful compendium of short bios and, on the facing pages, quotes from a range of writers and others about the "things they carried" on their journeys.  Some of them I am familiar with, some not at all.  It reminds me of Tim O'Brien's Vietnam book and essay of the same name, The Things They Carried, which I once used as the jumping off point for a blog post on the things we carry in grief  ~ things being less tangible than not.

You might see the humor in Thoreau's (he of Walden Pond simplicity ~ of sorts) list for a 12-day canoe trip into the Maine woods: 166 pounds of stuff, "enough to nearly swamp the canoe when they launched it."

My favorites so far:

For Basho's Great Walk, Basho being a 17th century Buddhist wanderer and poet, a short list of items, ending with

"discomfort and vexation
all the way"

and also

a list of the contents of Father Zossima's cell (from The Brothers Karamazov),

Bilbo's list of what he takes as he sets out for a walk, including what he forgets,

and the "Baggage for the Arctic Tern's 22,000 Mile Migration."  The facing page is empty.

Quite a wonderful little book.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

New Year Interrupted

After a bleh few days between Christmas and New Year's Day, I woke up on January 2 full of energy.  By 7:30, I was ready to go, with clutter picked up, laundry in, cat in carrier, and car moved out front for trip to the vet ~ and I slipped and tumbled down our six or so concrete steps, landing in a bizarre position in the snow.  The cat and I sat there for awhile, she meowing and me dazed and wondering what and how to do next.  I managed to creep to the car and get us in, thinking that with the damage all on my left side, I could still go to the vet's. I pulled into the street and quickly realized that the level of pain I was experiencing precluded any such goal. 
Thank God for cell phones!  A couple of hours later a friend had gotten me to an orthopedic surgeon, and Friday I had surgery for my broken ankle.  No weight bearing allowed, for perhaps as long as a month.  A 3:00 a.m. hour of pain this morning so severe that I thought we might have to call an ambulance to take me back to the hospital.  (And yes: I have a nerve block dripping continuously into my leg, plus Vicodin, plus Advil, and when the anesthesiologist calls today, I am going to have to ask her how long I can double the dosages.)
I have no idea yet what I am going to do about church, where I am not this morning, or my college teaching, which theoretically starts a week from tomorrow, or my many months anticipated week-long retreat at Georgetown University, planned for the first week of February.  I have no idea how I am going to wash my hair this week!
But my mind is clearing, so perhaps I'll start writing again.