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Showing posts from March, 2012

The Gift of Moment

Two 9 year old boys headed talking and laughing down the shortcut on their way to the movies. Gallup, New Mexico, is an old mining town and the part of town I lived in was a little barrio built on Gallup's hill country where a number of old mines still exist like catacombs underneath the landscape. Alleys were popular shortcuts. And those adventurous shortcuts, we would use, even if encroaching on other people's property. Neighbors never really cared in those days. We were just neighborhood kids. Everyone knew everyone. No one locked their doors that remember. Nothing to steal. My friend and I were both named Tommy, and we would always try to circumvent the old barn house where they used to say Rollie Mortuary would keep caskets in storage. I remember distinctly that as a child, I didn't really know what a casket was, but I had heard the word "coffin."  Coffin, to a child, sounds unexplainably more creepy. Coffins were a part of the genre of the Dracula and Fran

Winning in the Spaces in Between

Words by their very utterance can either separate or unite. A sword can divide, and a sword can unite. Excalibur is a symbol of a sword that united a people toward defeating evil. The the two words, "word" and "sword" are unalterably tied to one another as if both were two opposite edges of the same blade. It is interesting that if you add the letter "s" to the word "word", you get "sword." The representation of swords in history have by their use been dividers. Cultures have defeated other cultures in the dialectic of history in the use of this piece of metal, shaped to a point and sharpened on the edges to cut, maim and pierce armor and eventually skin. Words also can be used for their piercing quality, their cutting quality and their destructive capability in dividing brother from brother, father from son, mother from daughter, and so on. The utterance itself is the use of a unique irreplaceable breath, or the unique set of strokes

The Gladiator of Mt. LaVerna

Francis of Assisi grasped the rocks of Mount Laverna in order to get to the top. He had no finger nails left from all the intense friction of his fingers against the stones. Cold and damp, the air whirled round about him as his mind moved from delusion to illusion and finally, to complete focus -- clarity. The climb. The mountain. The confusion. The infusion. The wind so powerful that causes fear in the heart to hear its rush is inescapable, even in a cave. On that crest, was Christ. Christ the focus for Francis! It was a focus of the eye, the heart and the soul. Christ with wings and a lance. Clarity. This encounter was at Francis' invitation. This was no intrusion of the Christ. This was truly infusion of living bread into a dilapidated body which Francis himself called "brother ass." On that crest, Francesco Bernardone had his greatest challenge. This would be a prayer of struggle. A gauntlet had been thrown down by Christ on the crest of the mountain top. It was a kin

Who Knocks There?

I say. "Jesus, would you like to have a drink of water and sit for a time on the little wood bench our Father gave me to offer you when you came by? It's inside my dusty little house that I try to keep clean, but the winds have brought only dust. I will wash your feet, you can rest a bit and just maybe, just maybe, the rains will come. Behind you." On the wooden bench our father made, Jesus says to me, "The dust storm that blew me here is just a storm to get us ready for a beautiful calm. Thanks for the water. Tonight you will have good dreams. Tomorrow? Well it will be different as though I will never have left your company. Water will come. In the meantime watch for other travelers who will be by as they follow in my steps. Pilgrims. Point the road I take now. I never leave a house by the way I came. I am the one who will follow me. And when there are no more behind me, you come and see where I live. It is closer than you think. I smell rain. It smells like my

Walking into the Now

( The following is a reconstruction of the experience which I can only imagine. I am trying to see and describe a world experienced by my loved one who has Alzheimer's. Each hour is a day to him. He navigates by no existing sextant. His is a journey of sighted sightlessness. It is here, in this situation, where it is so necessary to ask the Angels and God's good hand to gently usher one with this disease and their caregivers in the right orientation. I pray: "Adjutorium nostrum in nomine domini qui fecit caelum et terrum." Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth. Psalm 123) My eyes open. It takes me a moment that drags into minutes. I am unfamiliar with this room. My heart speeds up. My legs do not cooperate well. I get them from off the bed. I am wearing pajamas. Do I keep these on? I hear noises around me. My eyes focus on a switch on the wall. A light switch. I wonder if my mother is ok? It seems like long since yesterday when I last saw he

Mapping Nowwhere

There is a direct highway between Alfredo's mind and his heart. It is a secret highway. Only he can map it. And even with dementia, he will always have access to that byway. OK. You say, "Oh, how poetic; but what does this imply for caregivers of persons with dementia? Bare with me, this is going to be a little grueling in describing my reflections on this important aspect of all lives including the lives of those of us who are not under attack by diseases like Alzheimer's. Mind mapping became a popular technique among "brain stormers" a decade ago. The activity was to try to use instantaneous thought elements as points along a map concerning the eventual arrival at a solution to some problem. Each spontaneous thought would be written quickly on a yellow sticky sheet and would be place on a wall in some random spot. The more participants in the activity, the better the possibility of arriving at some measure of cooperative agreement regarding the potential solu