Monday, August 30, 2010

Quasi Modo in Liminal Time

Fox Hound Quasimodo came to live with me a little over six years ago. He was the third in a succession of Fox Hounds that I have been blessed to steward in their honorable retirement from hunting packs. Ariel was the first; she came into my life in 1987. Tonight is the first night in 23 years I have not had a Fox Hound in my home. Quazi, crossed the Bridge earlier this evening resting his head on my knee. When I first brought him home from the hunt kennel he would not let me touch him. I had to keep about 20 feet of lunge line attached to his collar so that I could reel him in when I needed to. Tonight, those days seem another world. I wrote the following earlier today while Quazi slept beside me for the last time.

I am sitting here with Basset Hound Claire on the couch, Foxhound Quasimodo, is asleep next to us on the floor. In a little less than two hours we will drive, with the windows down so Quazi can ride with his head out the way he likes best, to the Riding Center where there is quite a bit of good covert within easy walking distance of the car park and go for a walk. In my private mind, at least, Quazi will get to draw those woods one last time. I will bring hamburger in a plastic bowl and when we are done, he will share tailgate with Claire the way we do when we go out with the Bassets. Then we will ride in the car again, windows down, to McDonald’s drive through to get a vanilla ice cream cone in a cup. When we get to the vet we will take it in with us because there is nothing Quazi likes better on a hot summer’s evening than vanilla ice cream in a cup.

It is a trip that I don’t want to make, but one I have been planning for quite a while. Quazi was diagnosed with lymphoma on July 5th. We were offered chemo and prednisone and a variety of life extending treatments by our very good veterinarian. I decided “not to treat” but to offer aggressive palliative care—pain relief and excessive pampering. We have been living “Dog Hospice” ever since.

Despite the just shy of two months we have been at this, I am not ready for today. Quazi is, he told me so last night. Good Huntsmen talk about the “Golden Thread” of communication they have with their pack of hounds in the hunting in the field. I have, I believe, been blessed by something very real and of that sort with each of the individual hounds I have had privilege of stewarding in their retirements. They each in their own particular way have found a particular place inside of me, a feeling as unique to each as their markings and their voice. I have known them each, intimately, by ways of knowing that come about not unlike the things of truth or faith or hope.

So when Quasi came next to me last night and lay, slowly down by my side, looking well into me with those eyes that harbor ancient, esoteric truths of scent and chase, in which I could see and feel, as well, their hope in recognizing from those depths the eternal notes of Dianna’s horn, when they spoke into the depths of me, “It is time, it is over,” I knew it to be so.

So, quasi modo, began the liminality of my privilege of our time together; the beginning of the deeper mysteries sounding “Going Home.”

Quasi modo, Latin, literally, “as if in [this] manner.

From Latin as well, limen, literally, “the time in between.” Liminal time, existentially, psychologically, a time in between., transitional stage.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Deep Listening

As it is with hounds and the things of God, it is good to stop and wait and listen deeply into the silence on hope that you will hear the music for which your soul so deeply longs.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Rob Blagojevich and Preaching Good News to the Poor

I’m angry tonight: “I’m sorry, I know you want treatment but you don’t have funding and the wait lists for those beds is 3 to 4 months. And, I know you are homeless, but the shelters are over filled and have no beds. Yes, frustrating, scary, overwhelming,” I can see it in their eyes. I can see it much more often now. Sometimes several times a day.

Meanwhile, the Trib reports:“Blagojevich left the house this morning dressed in a turquoise knit shirt, tan shorts and blue running shoes. He held Annie's hand and carried her backpack as they walked down the front steps of his Ravenswood Manor home…”

I wonder sometimes: What is the good news for these poor ones who eyes are looking deeply into mine, longing for some frail shred of hope? Where is the risen Lord in the midst of their suffering? How and where will they meet Jesus along the road of their despair? I am grateful though, tonight, as well, for if I hadn’t known the grace of glimpsing Jesus in the sorrow that is my own, or stumbled upon him upon occasion along my own darkest road, I could never find the courage to meet their pleading gazes, nor could I hold it in some frail act of hope for them when knowing mine is all that they can  bear.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

From the Disappointments of Living, Pray Infinite Hope

(Psalm 42: 5-6)
“Why are you cast down, O, my soul, why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall praise him, my help and my God.”

“We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope.” ~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Let us come in study and in prayer this week. Let us bring our hearts, filled as they are with all the disappointments of our living; the sadness’s and the losses, the broken promises and the faded dreams. Let our poor hearts bring them all, leaving nothing back. Let them come thus for in so doing is their only real hope. Let them come humbly before the Infinite with all the limits of our beings. Let them pray there in confidence for wholeness and peace, healing and courage. Let them pray there in faith for these graces to be made real in our living so that all other hearts brought to their knees by the finitude of our existence may know the Infinite Hope in which they live; the gracious God who in their living they offer praise. Amen.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Songs of Confidence and Praise

(Psalm 57:7-8)
"I have complete confidence, O God;
I will sing and praise you!
Wake up, my soul!
Wake up my harp and lyre!
I will wake up the sun.”
"Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in a lifetime;
therefore we must be saved by hope.

Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith.

Nothing we do, however virtuous, could be accomplished alone;
therefore we must be saved by love.

No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the stand point of our friend or foe as it is from our own standpoint; therefore we must be saved by the final form of love, which is forgiveness.”

Let us bring our hearts in  prayer this week. Let us bring them, for simply by our coming we pray for hope. Let us come and pray, asking faith where uncertainty holds sway, seeking love where anger has found its niche, and longing for forgiveness, love’s definitive act. Let us pray to find lifetimes which are true and beautiful and good; for the virtues of love’s accomplishment of these, and the humility to offer in our living love’s forgiveness to all who join us along our way. There is no more beautiful song in confidence than these, no greater acts of praise, no other tunes to play which can awaken other hearts to the living in such virtue as can stand the test of time and space. Amen.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Eeyore's Gift

Of course, a wilted red balloon and an empty honey pot,
 poor gifts, indeed.
But to Eeyore’s thinking, they are most desirable Birthday offerings. Agape. Thank you, Melissa.

You can listen to Melissa's great sermon on Galatians 5:1, 13-25 at this link.

Blessed are the poor in spirit for their's is the kingdom of heaven.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Sighting Blessings

If I’m very good (which can be very, very hard for me) and if I’m very, very patient (which also can be very, very hard for me) and if I look very, very closely in the right direction, sometimes I can get a glimpse of the most amazing life. True blessedness comes, not in what counts as gained, but in the Intimacy and Truest Love known only in the solitude of the heart.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Pray in Intimacy and Love

Psalm 103:1

Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name.

“Considering that the blessed life we so long for consists in an intimate and true love of God Our Creator and Lord, which binds and obliges us all to a sincere love.”

Let us bring our blessed hearts in prayer this week. Let them pray from our deepest longings for their most intimate and truest Love. Let them pray there, then, from the sincerity and obligations which bind them at their Source, in deepest amity, with all other hearts blessed in their longings for the intimacy of their truest Love. Amen.