Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Gift of Today is What You Make of It

In this part of the country, we pump our own gas - and most of us go through a love/hate relationship with this fact.  

When you are in a hurry, it always seems like gas station attendants are in slow motion.  Or there is only one attendant for 12 cars.  

On other days, when it is icy cold or brutally hot, you are thankful all you have to do is crack your window enough to pass payment through.

But love it or hate it, most of us can agree on two things:

One, the attendants are either cranky, silent, or moving so fast you couldn't pick them out of a lineup of two people.   And two, thanks to the brutal climates you must work in, and the thankless customers you serve, it would not be on our top ten list of job choices.

Now that I have set the stage, let's rewind to earlier in the week...

It was a blustery winter day - below 20 degrees fahrenheit with 20 mph gusty winds.  I pulled into the local gas station to fill up, cracked my window 3 cm so I could tell the attendant to fill it up without losing precious heat from my car, and was greeted by a cheery "How you'all doing today?".   

"Fine, thanks," I said, still in shock I had received anything more than a confirming nod.  

When my fillup was complete, I rolled down my window - this time almost half way - to get my receipt.  

"Hey," the attendant bellowed at me, "did you see the two antennas that got married?"

"Ummm, no," I said politely, still not sure what to make of this unheard-of banter.

"Me neither, but I heard the reception was unbelievable!!"   And with a Santa Claus-like laugh, he wished me a great day and hurried off to the next customer.  

I sat there for a moment and took in what had just happened.

Here was this guy, doing a monotonous, unenvious job in the brutal cold, and he was happier than just about anyone else I met that day.  Not only was he clearly enjoying HIS day, but he made sure he made MINE a better one too.

In fact, those 5 minutes echoed through my whole week.  

I reflected on how many days, or parts of days, I wasted by not enjoying every minute of them for the gift they are.  I also reflected on all the opportunities I could have made someone else's day, and let it pass us both by.  

I hope you are having a Blessed Lent.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Random Thoughts from a Busy Week

Sunday:  I hear the Gospel reading about Jesus calling Peter.  It dawns on me that after cleaning the nets after a day on the sea, fisherman are exhausted.  And yet, when Jesus tells Peter to go back out, he does so without little argument.  Do I act like that when Jesus leads me?

Monday:  Pope Benedict resigns.  I admire him for his decision.  It could not have been easy, and it feels like it was made with the best interest of the Church in mind.  That is what a true leader does.

Tuesday:  Genesis.  God created man in His image.  Every time I hear that phrase I am blown away.  To be reminded of that is inspiring.  A reminder that He expects so much more of us.

Wednesday:  Ashes.  I remember when the priest used to remind us that we came from dust and we will return to dust.  That is hard for us immortal-wannabes to accept.  I immediately think about Pope Benedict and his decision earlier in the week.  He understands this better than we do.  

Thursday:  The world is better while everyone is focusing on Love. Even if it is a "Hallmark holiday".  I try to imagine what it would be like if every day was like this.  I wonder if anyone wished Jesus a Happy Valentine's Day.  After all, He loves us more than anyone else.

Friday:  In Matthew's Gospel, Jesus tells us there will be a time to celebrate with the bridegroom and a time to mourn and fast.  Life is like that isn't it?  Waves where the cross is light and waves where it is almost unbearable.  

Sunday:  Jesus.  Desert.  40 days.  No food.  I went 4 hours this week and was the equivalent of a 6 year old.  His strength is incomprehensible.  

A Blessed Lenten season to all of you reading this!

Saturday, February 2, 2013



I admit, it is an unusual topic for this, or any, Catholic blog.

But bear with me a second, because I have to get something off my chest.

You see, in the northeast United States, when someone sneezes, most will quickly respond with a "blesh you".


I looked it up, and Mr. Webster does not recognize it as a word. (Even my autocorrect is furious I won't replace it in this post.) Which means most of us are just speaking nonsense to our fellow sneezers.

And that got me thinking about why we even bless them anyway.

Turns out there are many theories.

A long time ago, people believed a sneeze released a person's soul for a short time.  Thus, people blessed sneezers so Satan did not grab their exposed soul.   Others believed the opposite ... that a sneeze released a demon from the body.  A blessing on them was to keep the demon from reentering.

When plagues ran rampant, a sneeze was believe to be an indication of contamination, and thus, death.   So a blessing was necessary for them.

At one point it was even believed a person's heart stopped when they sneezed.  A blessing here was to get the heart pumping again!

In any case, none of the theories I came across carried much weight, and I was left feeling the "bless you" was merely an old habit just passed on from generation to generation.

Nonetheless, we can all use more blessings!  So my request for the world is as follows ...

If you are going to bless someone ... then BLESS them, don't Blesh them!