I Choose All!

Working with the poor and writing have been playing a game of tug of war with my heart.  But, in my recent hours of combing through job openings, I came across something illuminating.

(WRITER) ARTIST IN-RESIDENCE

Yale-New Haven Hospital

JOB SUMMARY

Develop, implement and adapt creative writing and spoken word activities for a diverse pediatric patient population in an acute healthcare setting. Facilitate group or individual sessions that engage children of all ages, family members or staff in self-expression through poetry, narrative, theatrical writing and performance to support the healing process. Share patient work through performance and publication.

Wait…I don’t have to choose?? Once again, God has reminded me that He wants to fulfill all of my desires, and put them in my heart for a reason.

Then, this afternoon I really discovered that something I thought only existed in my imagination is a really thing, that many writers do: running writing workshops with disadvantaged populations.

My teenage self would say: duh!  This is why art and music therapy works – because self-expression is an effective form of therapy.  Helping people learn to express themselves gives them power and can even help lift people out of poverty.

Here’s another example of an organization that runs these sorts of workshops: http://nywriterscoalition.org

I made some great connections today and can’t wait to see where they take me!

 

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A Beautiful Waste

“What is he?” murmurs one gray shadow of my forefathers to another.  “A writer of storybooks! What kind of a business in life, – what mode of glorifying God, or being serviceable to mankind in his day and generation, – may that be? Why, the degenerate fellow might as well have been a fiddler!”

-The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne

Ironically, I was introduced to the show “Call the Midwife” while in the convent.  Now that I have some time on my hands I’ve watching some more of the episodes.  I’ve noticed that some of the characters struggle with something that I do as well (and I suspect most of you): wanting to be useful.  Through aging or illness, they are afraid of not being able to do what they used to, and therefore being of less value.

Over the past few years this desire has been purified but it is still a nagging thought: am I doing something worthwhile?  Will I live up to these ridiculous expectations I have set for myself?

I came face to face with this need to be “useful” in religious life – which was perhaps the Lord’s plan all along.  What good could it do the world to do laundry, sell Altar Bread and pray – oh prayer is what always seems like the most useless thing.  What good does prayer do?

But religious are not the first and are certainly far from being the last to be accused of wasting their lives.

Remember this story?

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Now when Jesus was at  Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he reclined at table.  And when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste? For this could have been sold for a large sum and given to the poor.”  But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me.”

When I was in college I switched my major from English to Social Work, because I thought I should do something more “practical” to help people.  Partially through physical illness, I was stripped of my desire to be “useful” in the convent and as the Lord uncovered my eyes to see my own beauty, the desire to write re-awoke in me like a living fire.  Poverty fosters creativity and I’ve done my best writing in the past four years, showing me what I am capable of.

So now God is calling me to waste my life in a different way and I have a feeling I won’t be leaving poverty behind!

 

Waiting on the World…at the DMV

Dear Sir, what’s your story?

I left the golden island for streets of gold.  I left the warm beach for cold concrete.  I left hopelessness for a chance at happiness.  I left empty pockets and took a chance with these empty hands.  Family?  I left a daughter and a little one on the way.  I came to make it.  I came to the land of dreams.  I came again and again just like you.  Your eye?  I didn’t want to ask.  Vision’s perfect – 20/20 times two.

I’m Back!

My head is cold.  I have an irresistible urge to wear outrageous color combinations.

I gave up being a nun for Lent.  More accurately, God led me into the desert and to follow His crazy plans!  St. Faustina called Jesus “the divine madman” and now I know why!  He will stop at nothing, absolutely nothing, to recreate us in His image, to bring about His plan for our lives, which will ultimately bring us life to the full and blissful union with Him in heaven.  The Divine Bridegroom will stop at nothing to win His Bride and be united with her forever.

For the past three years I have been in formation with the TOR Sisters, as most of you know.  God made it clear that He is calling me elsewhere, so I came back home recently.  I’ll write more about that experience and my time there as I process it.  I’m not sure if anyone even still reads this blog, but if you do hello again!  Thanks for sticking with me.

P.S.  Have pen, will write!  I am looking for a job and any writing opportunities.

Windows to the Soul

I’ve inadvertently entered into a social experiment – one of those where you pretend to be disabled, a single mother, schizophrenic, etc and see how people react.  When I, who could pass as a high schooler, walk around with the African-American baby I nanny, there are quite the variety of reactions…

Spring has sprung –
a new day has begun.
We are enlightened, brightened.
 
Blind to color we claim to be
but a different kind of blindness is what I see.
 
Blind to the colors of the Divine Artist – 
an artist of stained glass to be specific,
windows being his specialty.
 
He works only with the finest, priceless glass
illuminated with brilliantly varied colors.
His windows are world-renowned!
Reflecting the same Light but looking oh – so different
a veritable paradox.
 
Meditating upon the work of this Artist –
(perhaps you’ve seen some of it?)
and in search of Truth, Beauty and Goodness,
I walk on the edge.
In the shadow of the woods
I see the dark undergrowth of “equality.”
 
I thought this was a “new” haven?
Old problems dressed up in new rags –
rags that threaten to hide the work of the Divine Artist.
 
So on this walk (a treasure hunt really)
I discover to my dismay –
birds of a feather still flock together
(especially those stubborn ducks!)
at the edge of the woods.
 
Who am I to disturb the status qu(ack)o?
“Who is this that appears like the dawn?”*
 
“Look at that!  A white woman with a black baby!”
I’ll spare you a lecture  on genes,
but while we’re on the subject,
please pull up yours.
 
Sir, I ask just a moment of your time
I beg you, step inside.
Let the dawn of a new day
illuminate our souls.
 
What color is your heart?
 

*Song of Songs 6:10

The Wisdom of a Fool

 
Independence is the catch of the day,
Autonomy the name of the game.
 
I am a fool
 in a world that has moved onto bigger and better things.
 
Plugged in, connected
friends across the pond
while you sit next to strangers.
 
Quantity has thoroughly beaten quality,
in what was never a fair fight.
Truly more connected,
But to whom are you connected in Truth?
 
Boasting of connections while scorning dependence.
 
Our faces displayed for all to see on a “book”
Showing more, sharing less
the more you “share” the less I see.
Who are you really?
 
The eyes are the window to the soul –
a theological truth, not just a pretty phrase.
 
When we see face to face – 
we will see all.
 
Even in one dimension,
your eyes plead for me to listen
they scream fear, fear of that one thing –
 
But Independence is the catch of the day,
Autonomy the name of the game.
 

Bowed With Fear

Oh fear, why dost thou persist?
You are a most unwelcome guest – On your departure, I must insist!
 
You came as a comfort, I must admit –
the comforting weight of a blanket.
 
On my shoulders you have sat,
offering protection – you would insist.
 
You soaked up my tears,
unbeknownst to me –
growing heavier and heavier.
 
Now I am bowed over
and yet unable to bow before my King.