Tuesday, June 30, 2009


So, I went to adoration today. It was good to be there. And, in my state (state of panic, state of ick, state of doldrums, state of insane, take your pick) I needed to be there. In fact, He knew, unbeknownst to me, that I needed to be at church.

I know I wear my heart on my sleeve. I know I am emotional. And, I know I love my friends and family very deeply. There are times, when I try not to wear my heart on my sleeve. I try to pretend that reality doesn't exist. Mom's not really dead (okay, now she is, but 19 months ago, it worked for me), Fr. Antony is on a vacation. This coping mechanism works for me, or rather actually, I think it does, only to realize, yea, not so much. This has never been more true, or more evident then today. We all know how much I love Father Antony. How much he meant to me and still does. How much I cried when he left, and lets face it, even before he left. Even after getting an email from him, I cried. Going to mass, I can't help but feel the emptiness, and I cry. So, these last few days, I tried not to think about him and about him leaving, about the deep hole left in my heart. I thought I was doing okay. Thought being the operative word. Then, I went to sleep last night. I had a hard time sleeping. And, then when I finally did, my dream...

I don't know where I was. I was inside a big building that had gym mats and climby type kid things. There were kids everywhere. And someone said to me "I have a surprise for you, turn around" and there stood Father Antony, with a smile on his face. I gave him a huge hug, and said 'welcome home'. Only to have a faceless voice behind me say 'he's not home'. And, I awoke crying.

So, today, I decided no more pretending. It was good that I had the day off today (my only one this week). I decided to let the tears flow as they came no matter where I was. I cried at the hospital (Tina's husband was having outpatient surgery for small adenoid, big uvula, pray for healing please) with Tina, I cried at the tax office, I cried in the car, I cried in Hallmark (I also laughed too, some of those cards are hysterical!) I cried in adoration, I cried with Mary (Boyle), I cried with Rose (please pray for Mark as he was laid off yesterday), I cried with Liz, I cried at my Ignatius group, I cried with George. So, I might be a little dehydrated.

The point here was that God knew I needed to be at church. He had been calling me to Him for a while, and I don't always answer His call (on the other hand, I expect Him to always answer mine lol). Today, I was brought to my knees, and knew exactly where I needed to be, close to Him. So, I went home. I went to church. I stopped in adoration and spent some time with Him. I cried, and my my wandered. Not too far off. Magical things happen in the chapel (other than the transubstantiation). Especially, during adoration. I have heard that some people see little cherub faces. Me, I see eyes. Eyes and animals in the altar. See, I sit front and center on the floor in front of Jesus. I look up to my big brother, and I talk to God. And, I look in the altar. I see bunnies, bears, cats, a doe, and a lamb. All at one time or another. I also look at the Monstrance. But staring at it too long, the gold gets too bright and hurts my eyes. So, after I spilled my burdens to my dad, my mind wandered and I was filled with calm. I then said my goodbyes and went into the church.

There, God sent me to my Mary. Then, to Rose, and then to Liz, and then, He invited me to the St. Ignatius group that I haven't been to in a year. To walk into this amazing group of women and feel such love on such a dismal day was such a gift! It was like I had never left. Yes, God knew best. He knew where I needed to be.

I wish I could say I was done crying for the day, but I wasn't. I cried this afternoon with George. My heart is aching and truth be told, there is a comfort in knowing that I am not alone. That my Julie and countless others are having a difficult time dealing with the loss of Father Antony. In my small world, I know, God needed Father Antony to move on so that I would grow and stretch and learn some sort of lesson that I need to learn (b/c after all, it's all about me, right? lol) I just wish, that the lesson could of been taught another way, without the loss of one of my dearest friend, mentors, and advisor. I am a teacup. At least, that's what Julie keeps telling me. I will be okay, with lots of time, tears, love and all of you.

Until next time,
Pray for my Carol! It's her BIRTHDAY TODAY!!! Happy Birthday, my Carol. See, I blogged about you!


Monday, June 29, 2009

Lay 'em down

This kind of says it all.
Until next time,
go lay 'em down.


Lay 'Em Down by Need to Breathe

Come down to the river

Come and let yourself in

Make good on a promise

To never hurt again

If you're lost and lonely

You're Broken down

Bring all of your troubles

Come lay 'em down

All you sinners

And the weak at heart

All you helpless

On the boulevards

Wherever you are now

Whatever evil you've found

Bring all of your troubles

And come lay 'em down

We're all tied to the same old failings

Finding shelter in things we know

We're all dirty like corrupted small towns

We'll bring our troubles

We'll bring our troubles lay 'em down

All you rich men

And the high above

All those with

And without love

All you burdened

Broken down

Bring all of your troubles

Come lay 'em down

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Sometimes, I feel as if no one in the world knows me at all. Truth be told, those times are few and far between. But, when they come, I feel that no one, except God, that is, knows me. The very heart of me, and who I am. And, in that moment, I cannot help but feel utterly alone. And, sometimes, I just want to wallow. Wallowing can be good as long as you don't wallow for too long.

Most of the time, however, I am surprised at how well my friends know me. And, not just know me, but love me and are okay with the oddity that I am. Take for example today. I went to the 8 o'clock Mass. It was way early, way too early for me. But, it's Father's day and after work, we wanted to be able to go out to dinner without a huge wait. But, I digress. We went to Mass, and Fr. Tim was there, but Fr. Antony, as you know, was not. I was okay. We sat in our pew, then the singing started and it's like I got slapped in the face by reality. Not just slapped, but bitch slapped. Hard. I can't really explain it. All I knew is that I was not okay. Fr. Antony wasn't here. I'm still not okay. It's been three days. Grieving is different and has a different time span for everyone. Then, I spotted my Julie. After Mass was over, I went to say 'hello' to her and give her a hug. She asked me how I was and I replied "okay, you?" She said it was hard, but she made it through. It was comforting to know that a)someone knows me so well, and b) I was not alone in my still grieving process.

Then, as the day began to close, I got an email from my Carolina. It was about thorns. I'll add it in a few minutes for you guys to enjoy. But here's the thing I've realized as mysterious as I like to be, I am utterly transparent. And, there is a comfort in knowing that my friends know me so well. That even when I feel all alone, besides God, I really am not.

So to Julie and Carolina, thank you for being with me as I wallow and grieve. And to all my friends, thank you for knowing me so well.

Until next time,
Without further ado, I give you Thorns.



Sandra felt as low as the heels of her shoes when she pulled open the florist shop door, against a November gust of wind. Her life had been as sweet as a spring breeze and then, in the fourth month of her second pregnancy, a "minor" automobile accident stole her joy. This was Thanksgiving week and the time she should have delivered their infant son. She grieved over their loss.

Troubles had multiplied.

Her husband's company "threatened" to transfer his job to a new location. Her sister had called to say that she could not come for her long awaited holiday visit. What's worse, Sandra's friend suggested that Sandra's grief was a God-given path to maturity that would allow her to empathize with others who suffer.

"She has no idea what I'm feeling," thought Sandra with a shudder "Thanksgiving? Thankful for what?" she wondered.. "For a careless driver whose truck was hardly scratched when he rear-ended me? For an airbag that saved my life, but took my child's?"

"Good afternoon, can I help you?"

Sandra was startled by the approach of the shop clerk. "I . . . I need an arrangement," stammered Sandra.

"For Thanksgiving? I'm convinced that flowers tell stories, "
she continued.. "Are you looking for something that conveys 'gratitude' this Thanksgiving?"

"Not exactly!" Sandra blurted out. "In the last five months, everything that could go wrong has gone wrong."

Sandra regretted her outburst, and was surprised when the clerk said, "I have the perfect arrangement for you.."

Then the bell on the door rang, and the clerk greeted the new customer....

"Hi, Barbara, let me get your order." She excused herself and walked back to a small workroom, then quickly reappeared, carrying an arrangement of greenery, bows, and what appeared to be long-stemmed thorny roses. Except the ends of the rose stems were neatly snipped; there were no flowers.

"Do you want these in a box?" asked the clerk. Sandra watched was this a joke? Who would want rose stems with no flowers! She waited for laughter, but neither woman laughed.

"Yes, please," Barbara replied with an appreciative smile.
"You'd think after three years of getting the special, I wouldn't be so moved by its significance, but I can feel it right here, all over again," she said, as she gently tapped her chest.

Sandra stammered, "Ah, that lady just left with . . . uh . . .
she left with no flowers!"

"That's right," said the clerk. "I cut off the flowers. That's the 'Special'. I call it the Thanksgiving Thorns Bouquet. Barbara came into the shop three years ago, feeling much as you do today," explained the clerk.. " She thought she had very little to be thankful for. She had just lost her father; the family business was failing; her son had gotten into drugs; and she was facing major surgery. That same year I had lost my husband," continued the clerk. "For the first time in my life, I had to spend the holidays alone. I had no children, no husband, no family nearby, and too much debt to allow any travel.."

"So what did you do?" asked Sandra.

"I learned to be thankful for thorns," answered the clerk quietly.

"I've always thanked God for the good things in my life and I never questioned Him why those good things happened to me, but when the bad stuff hit, I cried out, 'Why? Why me?!'
It took time for me to learn that the dark times are important to our faith! I have always enjoyed the 'flowers' of my life, but it took the thorns to show me the beauty of God's comfort! You know, the Bible says that God comforts us when we're afflicted, and from His consolation we learn to comfort others."

Sandra sucked in her breath, as she thought about what her friend had tried to tell her. "I guess the truth is I don't want comfort. I've lost a baby and I'm angry with God."

Just then someone else walked in the shop.

"Hey, Phil!" the clerk greeted the balding, rotund man.

"My wife sent me in to get our usual Thanksgiving arrangement, twelve thorny, long-stemmed stems!" laughed Phil as the clerk handed him a tissue wrapped arrangement from the refrigerator..

"Those are for your wife?" asked Sandra incredulously.
"Do you mind telling me why she wants a bouquet that looks
like that?"

"Four years ago, my wife and I nearly divorced," Phil replied. "After forty years, we were in a real mess, but with the Lord's grace and guidance, we trudged through problem after problem, the Lord rescued our marriage. Jenny here (the clerk) told me she kept a vase of rose stems to remind her of what she had learned from "thorny" times. That was good enough for me.
I took home some of those stems. My wife and I decided to label each one for a specific "problem" and give thanks for what that problem taught us."

As Phil paid the clerk, he said to Sandra, "I highly recommend the Special!"

"I don't know if I can be thankful for the thorns in my life" Sandra said to the clerk. "It's all too . . fresh."

"Well," the clerk replied carefully, "my experience has shown me that the thorns make the roses more precious. We treasure God's providential care more during trouble than at any other time. Remember that it was a crown of thorns that Jesus wore so we might know His love.... Don't resent the thorns."

Tears rolled down Sandra's cheeks. For the first time since the accident, she loosened her grip on her resentment. "I'll take those twelve long-stemmed thorns, please," she managed to choke out.

"I hoped you would," said the clerk gently. "I'll have them ready in a minute."

"Thank you. What do I owe you?"

"Nothing. Nothing but a promise to allow God to heal your heart... The first year's arrangement is always on me."

The clerk smiled and handed a card to Sandra. "I'll attach this card to your arrangement, but maybe you would like to read it first."

It read:
"My God, I have never thanked You for my thorns. I have thanked You a thousand times for my roses, but never once for my thorns. Teach me the glory of the cross I bear; teach me the value of my thorns. Show me that I have climbed closer to You along the path of pain. Show me that, through my tears, the colors of Your rainbow look much more brilliant."

Praise Him for the roses;
thank Him for the thorns.

God Bless all of you.
Be thankful for all that the Lord does for you.

"Live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly,
and leave the rest to God.."

We often try to fix problems with WD-40 and Duct tape.
God did it with nails.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

He is not here

Y'know, I read the bible. Not as often as I did when I was in bible study, but I read it and I find comfort in it. Solace. Still, even in the studies, it was hard to relate to the apostles, the women, everyone. Oh, I've tried, and I can imagine what they felt. Today, however...today was different. I can totally align myself with Mary Magdalene. I can tell you, that I have felt almost the exact gut wrenching pain she felt when she went to the tomb and found it empty. I know b/c that's exactly how I felt today.

After little to no sleep last night, I went to Fr. Antony's mass this morning. It was packed! We estimated that there were about 900-1000 in attendance to say there goodbyes. And, lest you think I was the only one crying, there were plenty of tears to go around, and not just from me. I stood in the back, as I had a mission. I wanted to be the last one Fr. Antony gave communion to. And, I was. I know it didn't matter, but to me it did. And, it mattered to about 20 other people as well. See, Fr. Tim's line was short and Robert tried, to no avail, to redirect people from Fr. Antony's line. They weren't moving, and neither was I.

Fr. Antony was so emotional, he had Fr. Tim do the homily today. I think it was a good thing too, as Fr. Antony was crying too.

Today was an extra special day. People were hugging just a little bit harder, just a little bit longer. We lost one of our own. One who was really never ours to begin with, but one who became one of our own. And, yes, I am comparing Fr. Antony to Jesus. There is no way possible not to as everything Fr. Antony did was a shinning example of Jesus. You could not go to confession with Fr. Antony and not feel that Jesus was sitting across from you. It is impossible. Fr. Antony is funny and warm and loving and made those who truly know him feel absolutely special, like they were the only one in the world at that very moment. It would just be the two of you and he was in no hurry to be anywhere else. That my dear friends is Jesus. So, I do not feel in the least blasphemous to compare Fr. Antony to Jesus. Because after all, isn't Jesus the heart of all of us?

Today, after work, I stopped into adoration as I hadn't been there in a while, and who better to ease my pain, but my dad? And, as I pulled up to the chapel, I began to cry and then I heard "He is not here". No, he is not. He is not here, where he was just hours before. He is not saying Mass, hearing a confession, playing with children, talking, smiling, loving. He is gone. He is on a plane. And, that's when it hit me. The pain that Mary must have felt when she went to the tomb to see her beloved Jesus. The only difference is I know where Fr. Antony is and it was still a gut wrenching pain.

You know, throughout this whole ordeal of Fr. Antony leaving, I have been brought to my knees. A lot of us have. I have been brought closer to God. We all have a hole deep in our hearts that will forever be there. So, on this day, this very day, continue to love a little deeper, hug a little tighter, and hold on a little longer.

Until next time,
Pray for Fr. Antony, his safe travel, for rest on his vacation, for God to ease the pain in his own heart as he leaves all of us, and for his new mission in India.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

And they'll know we are christians by our love

So, it came and it went. Today. The day I have been dreading for five years. Father's Antony's goodbye party. I went to Mass this evening. I knew I was going to cry. But then, he did his homily and spoke from his heart at the end, and I lost it.

Then we went to his party. I was a wreck and that's putting it mildly.

But something amazing happened tonight. At the party, my friends were there. Most of them. And, they know how much I love Fr. Antony. They came up to me and would ask me how I was. Seeing that I was crying buckets and trying, albeit not very well, to hold it together. Then, I had said something to Terry Holliday along the lines of "I was fine until his homily" and Terry said the most beautiful thing. She said "oh, Gina, you were not going to be okay today at all!" lol

So, while I am mourning Fr. Antony, I looked around the hall, it was packed. And, all around this hall, was my friends, my family. I spoke with Deacon Ron for a while and he looked around the hall and said that it reminded him of the song 'they'll know we are Christians by our love'. He was so right. So, I looked around this room, filled to the gills, and there was my family. The people who know me best in this world and love me anyways (Julie, Carol, Shannon to name a few).

So, as I continue to look around the room, and see my family, my true family,I've seen how much I've grown. With each of you, by my side, I've grown. In my spirit, in my faith, in my life, in my love. Thank you all for loving me, embracing me, growing with me, and being with me as the stretching from my growing gets to difficult for me. In short, thank you for carrying me on my stretcher up to the roof. Not just today, but always.

I love you all!

Until next time,
Pray for Fr. Antony for a safe trip.



Carolina gave me a huge hug after Mass. I told her how I'm still irked that God took my mom, now Fr. Antony. She said that God thinks I'm ready to go it alone. I can't. I'm not that self sufficient, lol! For those of you in need of big hugs, Carolina rocks!