Grace in Pink Blossoms

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This year after a tremendous amount of rainfall, the Texas landscape has managed to remain green all the way into the month of July. And not just green, either. Pink and yellow and fiery orange. Around every corner I spot crepe myrtles absolutely brimming with blossoms.

I call to mind the winds and rains, torrential flooding. Wet, black soil full of nutrients and kisses of sunshine, meetings with earthworms in the dark. The tree accepted all that it was given and burst forth into exuberant, abundant blossoms as if to proclaim the glory of God. It produces its flowers in a single specialized color and style. Even if it could elude its own nature and squeeze out flowers of a different color by sheer force of will and gargantuan effort, nothing would be more beautiful than those which it was created to effortlessly produce.

I keep trying to think of my life in terms of crepe myrtle. What’s my pink blossom? When I receive all as if straight from the hand of the Father, how to I proclaim his glory and my joy? What should be my focus?

In true melancholic fashion, I have been considering this question for over a month and I don’t have a solid answer. I am possibly overthinking the question, also in true melancholic fashion.

”Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” – St. Catherine of Siena

Domestic Camino

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen I was little and someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always said, “an explorer like Indiana Jones.” I am still captivated by the idea of the journey. For the most part my dreams of travel have been tempered by lack of time and money. But still, I yearn for the walk.

So far I have spent my Lent reading Spiritual Lessons Along the Camino as my Lenten devotional. The book includes 40 spiritual lessons complete with Scripture that the author learned from her pilgrimage walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain. I hope I can walk the Camino de Santiago some day.

Yesterday with my imagination aflame, I opened the drawer of my jewelry box seeking my baptismal shell pendant only to find it nestled in the crook of my Appalachian Trail wishbone. I hesitated, and then strung them together onto the same chain. I’ve always been one for symbolic jewelry. I bought the wishbone right before I took off on my 200 mile Appalachian trek and received the shell from my cousin on the night I was baptized. The shell is also the symbol of the Camino.

An international, month-and-a-half long pilgrimage is a difficult goal to possess when you are also the mother of a 4-month-old and a two-year-old, and your dream can not be anything more than something far off and unfeasible and barely glimmering on the distant horizon. I think that for now it will have to do to just live my life of base domesticity in the spirit of a pilgrim rather than setting off down an actual trail. I want to remember that my entire life should be a pilgrimage leading me closer to God.

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What should being a domestic pilgrim look like?

1. Eliminate some of the noise. A pilgrim would spend the day walking in silence, open to the inspiration of God. To a certain extent I think it’s possible to do this every day. This Lent I have given up listening to the radio in the car. It’s hard to do. I used to go on drives just to listen to podcasts, but the silence had definitely not been empty.

2. Walk in conversation and expectation. Pray earnestly and expect God to communicate with me. Live in a spirit of “seeking”. Something I struggle with. Number one helps with this one! .

3. Be humble. Be small. Accept everything as coming from the hand of God. Give up thinking that I “deserve” anything better. Become more of a minimalist.

4. Local Pilgrimage. Embark on some local (driving distance) types of pilgrimages. I live near San Antonio, easy distance from some old Franciscan missions, San Fernando Cathedral, the National Shrine of the Little Flower, Oblate Grotto. I could attend a Latin Mass for the first time. I could visit the Mission of Divine Mercy. I could commit to going to Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament on a regular basis. Really, there are so many possibilities.

Thoughts? What am I missing?