Thursday, April 30, 2009

So, we all know what a control freak I am. This was told to me by my therapist last year and laughed at by my friends b/c they have known this all along and I had no clue (thanks, Mary Boyle!)

As is nothing new here, I'm always the last to learn or realize something about myself. This morning, was the reminder that I am a control freak.

As all of you know (unless you are hidden under a rock, in a cave, in the remote jungle of fill in some obscure name here) I adore Father Antony. Not just adore, but love. Genuinely, love him. And, he has even referred to me on occasion as the president of his fan club (of which I wear the title most proudly!). Well, Father Antony is leaving. This has not sat well with me for the last 15 months. At one point, I mentioned something to Jeanne, and she said to not think about it now. Good call Jeanne! However, I've learned this morning, that that does not work for me. It is not who I am. While I stuff things away I do not want to think about, inevitably, they come to the surface and I have to deal with it. Such is the case with my beloved Father Antony.

I could sit here and sing his praises to you, but if you have talked with him, you know how awesome he is and what a great loss it will be to St. Jude's and not just me. And, to sing his praises, I would need eternity, and I have to get ready for work soon.

What I'd like to share with you is dream last night. I have been for all intensive purposes a coward these last few months. I stopped going to confession (I did go before Easter with Fr. Tim! Not to worry) for a few months. I love going once a month to Fr. Antony, it keeps me in check, dontcha know. Yesterday, I went to talk to Mary Boyle and spend a few minutes with her. In the course of our conversation, we started talking about Fr. Antony. Of course, how much I love him was evident. Then, when I left her office, I noticed he was in his. I didn't stop to say hello b/c I was a little embarrassed. "What if he heard all the things I said to Mary about him, even though they were all good" I thought to myself. Now, why I found singing the praises of someone I love to another person I love embarrassing, I have no clue. But, this is me. Add to the fact, that I have unconsciously been avoiding him,like a coward, you get my dream last night....

George calls me and tells me that Father Antony has passed away. While that was horrid in and of itself, it got much,much worse for me, and then, better. I cannot catch my breath from crying. Then, I head to the viewing. I am trying to cry quietly b/c I know everyone else loved Father as well. Sue Hawthorne sees me and extends her hand out to me and I take it. I walk into the viewing and then find a corner, sit as small as I can possibly make myself and began to cry to the point I was hyperventilating. I could not breathe. I could not catch my breath. I blamed myself for not saying anything to him yesterday. I felt it was my fault he had died. Then, in an act of love that is so Father Antony, he sat up. The guy was dead, and he sat up! I don't know if all of you who were in my dream saw this, or if it was just for me, but he sat up and talked with me and it was the most beautiful conversation. I then woke up, my face soaked with tears. Still crying.

So, this morning, I had a good cry. I allowed my heart for the first time to mourn the leaving of one of the people I love most in this world. I had a really good cry in the shower. I told God that I was not happy with Him today. While I love Him always, I'm not exactly happy with Him. I echoed the conversation I had with Him 15 months ago when I found out Father Antony was leaving. I said to Him "you took away mom and my emotional support and now you're taking away Father Antony and my spiritual support!". He just listens. I love Father Antony and I want him to be happy. I know he misses his family. And, how could I deprive the his next parish of such a wonderful priest? Then, while in the shower, as I was crying, I wondered if he knows exactly how much I love him. And then, the voice of my Julie popped in my head. She paid me the highest compliment one day. She said "It is impossible to be friends Gina and not know how much she loves you." If that is the case, then I can rest assured that Father Antony and each of you know how very much, and very deeply I love you.

So, I am a control freak. But, I am a control freak who deals with things by crying. And, by holding it in, it only ends up coming out eventually.

Until next time,
Write a note to Father Antony and email it to as she is making a scrapbook for him.


Monday, April 27, 2009

Do Not Be Amazed.

Yes, I know it's been two weeks since I've blogged. Yes, I just got back from Monserrat and it was wonderful. Yes, I have a ton of stuff to share (and to say!!! lol) with you,but that will come later. I need to share something else with you this morning.

On the retreat, we would take a passage out of the bible and sit with it on our own. What moved us? What resonated with us (this is known as Ignatius study). Many things resonated with me this weekend, different passages that I'll share with you later. However, at this moment, I want to share one in particular with you.

Mark 16: 4-8

When they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back; it was very large. On entering the tomb they saw a yong man sitting on the right side, clothed in a white robe, and they were utterly amazed. He said to them, Do not be amazed! You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Behold, the place where they laid him. But go and tell his disciples ad Peter, "He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you." They then went out and fled from the tomb, seized with trembling and bewilderment. They said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

So you have these women going to go tend to Jesus' body. They're wondering how they're going to move this big huge rock. I mean, scripture even says "it was very large". Then, they see the angel. This is what gets me. The angel says "Do not be amazed." Not and exclamation point DO NOT BE AMAZED! like he's the great and powerful oz or something. It's said calmly b/c the angel knows these women will be frightened. Do not be amazed. This could be taken a couple of not be amazed, I am an angel here to talk to you. Do not be amazed, the stone was rolled back, or do not be amazed He is not here. I'm thinking it's a culmination of the three. But mostly, I think it's don't be amazed, he is going before he TOLD you. It's like when you tell your kids something. They hear you, but they don't actually believe you. Then when it happens, like you said it would, they are amazed. Here, the angel is saying not to be amazed. We heard, we believed, but we didn't exactly understand what Jesus meant. So, now we see the tomb is empty, there's an angel sitting there, and we are amazed.

You know, God consistently, constantly amazes me. All the time. I've even said this to Julie (shout out to Julie!!! I had such an awesome time with you!!!). I am always in awe of God. He does so much for us we don't even imagine or realize that we have no choice but to be in awe. And, truth be told, I don't think I ever want to get to the point where He doesn't amaze or awe me anymore. That His works become common place "yup, just another miracle today. Yes, yes, I saw the sunset...seen one, you've seen 'em all". That would be missing out on one of the many joys of life.

I'll tell you what does amaze me. And to this day, George cannot figure it out. You. Each of you, my friends. I am amazed that each of you are friends with me. It's like all of you are Jesus (and you are to me) being friends with the tax collector. Ask Carol. She'll tell you. It took a very long time for me to accept that she loves me unconditionally. That she would call me. That it wasn't a one way friendship. That she truly loves and cares about my well being. That we can goof around together. That she knows I am an acquired taste, and love me anyway. I have felt the same way about each of you. It takes me a good two years with each of you, some longer. It still amazes me that Julie, one of the greatest spiritual people I know wants to know "what she's done to deserve such a great friend like me". That boggles my mind. Each of you, amaze me with your love, your friendship and your acceptance. This amazes George. He cannot figure out why I feel this way. I'll tell you what I tell him. My past. I had no friends. It's not an excuse, but rather a fact. I just didn't. And, I can thank God that I didn't. Because the friendships I have now. The ones with all of you, are true and real and exceptionally special. And, I hold each of you close inside my heart.

So, the angel says Do not be amazed. No offense to angels or that one in particular, but I'll keep my amazement in God, His works, and all of you!

Until next time,
What amazes you?


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!


My Lenten Observations:

* Sadly, there are ways to circumvent your lenten obligations.

* I attempted to say the Rosary everyday. Made it through 3/4 of lent.

* Wanted to be more prayerful. Eh. Some.

* Walked with Jesus a lot. OKAY! FINE! HE CARRIED ME A BUNCH.

* Learned just how deep my faith and trust in God truly is.

* Became closer (if that was even possible) to Julie and Tina.

* Was reminded that I am only human and not to be too hard on myself (thanks, Fr. Tim!).

* That I have been distancing myself from Fr. Antony. We all know how much I adore him. He is a huge source of support for me. He's leaving soon. And, if I distance myself then it won't hurt so bad when he leaves. Stoopid. I know.

* That my kids totally rock.

* My emotional limits when my husband is unemployed.

* That I still need my therapist.

* That God still does something to amaze me everyday.

* That my dad is not half bad.

* That I still miss Mom. Every second of every day.

* That I made a very good friend at OG and will be friends with her forever.

* That my husband is not hercules even though I think he is.

* That I am blessed beyond all measure. I am drinking from my saucer b/c my cup has overflowed!

Until Next Time,


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Holy Thursday

So, I went to Mass tonight. I was surrounded by *my* family.

Let me back up. I started today remembering my Sharon (Dudik) (I think of her often :) Three years ago, I was attending Holy Thursday Mass and she was in my eyesight. We both were crying from the Mass, but also b/c she had just told me that she was leaving me to go back to my beloved Pittsburgh. So, Holy Thursday is forever synonymous with Jesus and Sharon! lol

Then, Tina (Myers) and I had decided a couple weeks ago that we were gonna go together. Mike is out of town, and George was working. So, I go to Mass, Jaime ushers, Sarah is with me, so are Tina & her kids. Maria opted to stay home. Mass has yet to start and my friend Sarah Ryan from lifesavers sits with us! Then, I look over and see my Julie. Then, I look across the church and I see my Tina (Scheckel) and in front of her, my Patti (Jones). And, then, there was my Ernestine who came over to say hello to me and then giving me the blood of Jesus was my Martha (Jones) who I have not seen in FOREVER!

Now, I go up to receive the blood of Jesus, and I could barely choke out the 'amen'. I am so overcome with emotion! Poor Martha! lol Here's the thing...

Jesus, got up on that cross. CLIMBED up on that cross. Laid up on that cross for ME! And, for each of you! And, here's the thing. I look at the sin scale like this, Judas, Peter, then me. If I'm breathing, I'm sinning. Sometimes, I even actively choose to sin! I see the road before me and I choose that one! And, yet, Jesus got up on that cross and died for me, and for you. That is love.

Father Tim and his amazing homily said tonight that when we close our eyes for the last time, our last thought will be how we lived our lives. I can tell you now, my last thought will be of all of you. My family and how much joy each of you (Mary Branson!) have brought to my life on a daily, sometimes hourly basis!

Happy Easter!
Until next time,

I love you!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Happy Easter Week!


The big news I guess is that today was my last day at Olive Garden! I just couldn't do 12-14 hour days. Like Det. Murtaug says "I'm getting to old for this shtuff"! lol (gotta love Lethal Weapon movies!)

It was bittersweet, anticlimactic. Some people were sad, some could have cared less. My fav mgr Pammie said the other day that I am welcome back anytime with open arms! That made me feel loved :)

Today is Palm Sunday. I cried throughout most of the Mass. For years, during this Mass, I would never say "crucify him!" I just couldn't. Then, through the Wednesday bible study and Tina (Scheckel) I learned that I had to participate and so the last few years, I do. So, just reading the Gospel today was amazing. Then something hit me today while Father Tim was finishing up the Gospel. Do you know what Jesus' last thought was? No, that's what He *said* (why have you forsaken me?) Do you know what Jesus' last thought was before He died? It was YOU!

Until next time,
Happy Holy Week!