Love Moves Slow

“Maybe the hardest things are the dreams that we’ve been given.”

I am not here to argue the evil and the good less evil of Facebook, but recently I’ve been getting these new On This Day notifications, where Facebook shows me exactly what I posted on this date, every year for as many years as I’ve had Facebook. Now, I’ve heard somewhere that God can bring Good out of any evil, and if these On This Day notifications are the only things I get on Facebook to check in a given 24-hour period, then I pray that by them, I will continue to be reminded of what I have been reminded ever since I started getting them: God’s faithfulness.

The above line – my favorite line from Mat Kearney’s Annie– was my status four years ago, to the day, says Facebook. And it was exactly what I needed.

But then, everything today was exactly what I needed.

From our first reading, So be vigilant, Acts 20:31 reads.

From the responsorial psalm, Psalm 68:35,Awesome in his sanctuary is God, the God of Israel; he gives power and strength to his people.

And finally, from our Gospel reading, John 15:15 & 17, Our Lord prays, I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the Evil One… Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth.

Everything today came from the Common of Pastors in honor of St. Bernadine of Siena, causing me to meditate further on the Ordination Mass this past Saturday.

I wrote myself a to-do list, and got a good portion of it done; I assume the portion that the Lord wanted finished, which, among other things, included finalizing my pack/purchase list for Ecclesia and writing a letter to Nathan.

I did play Blokus wth Nino, and I did take a 20-minute nap.

And after spending an hour and a half attempting to help Steve organize choir music, I felt prompted to transfer my secretary duties from Marty to Steve. I like organizing things, believe it or not.

Marybeth had texted me earlier in the week suggesting a sister catch-up, so we hit A Tavola – a first for both of us – and we were both blown away entirely. We highly recommend it; I hope my parents make it there for one of their monthly dates.

For starters, we had the arancini and the bacon tapenade.

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The former was as perfect in every respect as arancini can get, and served at the perfect time, such that it was not too hot to consume immediately after blessing the food.

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The latter was served with toast of literally the most perfect texture, not stale and not too chewy, and each piece of toast was smeared with a generous portion of chevre.

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We split the sausage & sage pizza, which our server smartly suggested that we top with an egg, and which we proceeded to garnish with the remainder of our bacon tapenade.

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The stone fruit manhattan(s) and old fashioned were well balanced, far from overdone with regards to creative twists, and were, in short, epic.

As we sipped our second drinks and waited for dessert, Facebook was pulled up to remind ourselves of how many restaurant dates we’ve had in the past four years – and consequently how much money we’ve spent on the best food that one can get in Cincinnati. (For the record, we spent only half as much today as we spent at Metropole… Less, with handy dandy coupons.)

We chose three flavors of house-made gelato: the A Tavola brownie, cookies ‘n cream, and fior di latte. We added salted caramel sauce and toasted marshmallows to the brownie – excellent choices, both.

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The fior di latte had a very, very subtle hint of lemon, which we decided was its most winning attribute; the cookies ‘n cream, we decided, needed a little more cookie, but was otherwise acceptable; and finally, the brownie was simply delightful, especially with the toppings we had chosen.

While waiting for dessert, I looked up and blurted out, “Stephen?! Anna!!”

And a happy little MCI reunion commenced. I love Cincinnati. I love our kitchens.

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Stephen and Anna are both doing well, and it thrills my heart to see them together. I actually haven’t seen Anna in years, probably since we graduated or maybe shortly after. Marybeth and I had just been talking about our trip to the Brown Dog Cafe with Stephen when I looked up and saw him being seated at the next table. God is so good to us! We took our leave of Stephen and Anna very shortly afterwards, but we have resolved to all get together for dinner sometime.

I was fifteen or sixteen – probably fifteen – when I first heard Mother Seraphina speak. Since then, aside from seeing her at Credo multiple consecutive years, I was able to attend her talks at St. Max, the Pig and Whistle, and finally again tonight, at Old St. Mary’s. I was telling Marybeth about the first time I heard her speak at Credo, where all talks were given in the Presence of the Blessed Sacrament, and how, during Mother’s talk, it seemed like half the time she was in conversation with her Beloved, and half the time talking to us kids. I had never witnessed a woman speak so intimately with Our Lord, and I remember feeling at times like I shouldn’t even be there; it was so beautiful, and so personal! The subject matter of all her talks has probably been the same, but it just hits me a little differently every time, as is to be expected with age, and tonight, I really, really needed to hear her lay it down about being open to the will of God.

When I hear those words, “Be open,” it occurs to me that it seems to be said so forcefully, because our worldly-inclined reaction is one of fear – a jerking back, a hesitation, as if being open is an undesirable burden. I don’t know that it’s any less terrifying to hear it now at four-and-twenty as it was at fifteen. But I do understand that it’s wrong to fear it so – that when we talk about being open, we mean being open to God’s gifts – gifts! – of which we have no concept, but are far more beautiful than we could ever conceptualize. And this little tiny whisper of a revelation fit in so well with this entire day – with all the small gifts God gave today, in the course of the ordinary – at Mass, at Morning Prayer, at work, at rest, at meals, at play, in quiet time at Adoration, and in Mother’s talk. The countless gifts! and was it so much work to be open to them? Not that we don’t worry about things that are “small,” but we worry so much more about things that we consider to be “big,” that we make “big,” and so “being open” about those “big” things seems like such a daunting task – but it’s one day at a time, Ais, and was it so hard to be open to the countless gifts He gave today?

His last, lovely little gift, was yet another MCI reunion; Manny and Marybeth hadn’t seen each other since graduation, either, and Manny and Julie had come to the talk.

Maybe the hardest things are the dreams that we’ve been given – because we usually dream big and wide and far away into the future.

What about today? and would it be so hard, to dream just for today?

I’ve been meditating a lot on Audrey Assad’s Slow. I used to read “hard” to mean “difficult,” but lately, I’ve been reading it in a new way. “Painful.” “Hurts.”

You’ve drawn so close that it’s hard to see You
And you speak so softly that it’s hard to hear You

I thought, before, that perhaps it meant that God was so close that we miss Him, as we miss the forest for the trees. But this new way that I read it…

You’ve grown so dear that it hurts to miss You
And you come so near that it hurts to feel You

It’s a better love, I hope, when we’ve learned to love Him so much that it hurts to fall, to know our separation from Him, and to miss Him as we try to find our way back to Him. It’s a far cry from what it ought to be, but…

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