Saved By a Pen

Have you ever had a frantic experience at a restaurant ?

For months, we had been anticipating dining at a new Italian restaurant, in St. John’s, the oldest city in North America. It had been receiving rave reviews on the internet !

Every six weeks, or so, we leave our charming, laid-back fishing town, to partake in the joys of city living.

We arrived at the restaurant at 1:30, to avoid the lunch rush. The restaurant was somewhat noisy, but we were hungry, and specifically wanted to try the authentic Neopolitan cooking, so we came in, and gave our food request to the kind server.

The restaurant’s noise level increased quickly. Music was blasting loudly, and people, trying to make conversation, spoke even louder. It was evident that conversation was going going to be impossible in this noisy place !

Making the best of this dining chaos, I took my pen from my purse, and a piece of paper. The pen was a gift from my husband in 1990.

Using the pen and paper, we communicated to each other by writing notes to each other. It was fun, and romantic too. The act of writing calmed us, and made us laugh too.

Our food arrived, and it was delicious as promised. However, we ate much more quickly than we usually do, because we wanted to escape the noise.

Restaurants will sometimes purposely play loud music to encourage diners to eat and drink, and not linger, thus making room for more diners, and more profits.

However, working in such a noisy environment can be harmful to the hearing health of the restaurant staff. Decibel levels above 85 in the environment, for a prolonged time, can damage hearing. It is possible to download decibel meters onto iPhones, to check sound levels we are exposed to in an increasingly noisy world. We are all responsible to protect our precious sense of hearing.

I contacted the management of the restaurant to express my concern about noise levels. I may, or I may not ‘hear ‘ from them.

Let us thank God for our sense of physical , and spiritual hearing. May we increasingly become more sensitive to the quiet whispering of the Holy Spirit, and the cries of our brothers and sisters for help.

Shopping, Wind, and a Cap

Are there some people that you usually meet in the same place ? I often meet Wendy at the neighbourhood grocery store. She and I are ‘earlybird’ shoppers. The store is quiet in the mornings. Food shopping requires serious concentration.

I saw Wendy last Friday, and she greeted me in her charming NL accent and said :

‘It’s a windy old day ! I don’t likes da wind, maid.’

( women often call each other ‘maid’).

We talked briefly, and on my walk home, I thought of the speech I could have given about the importance of wind.

It was wind that allowed civilization to expand. Vikings came to Newfoundland on wind power, as did John Cabot, who discovered our tiny town in 1497. He sailed all the way from Venice, Italy.

I could have explained that without wind, there would be drought, and everything would dry up.

When water evaporates from the ocean, it forms clouds. Wind is necessary to push the clouds over the land, where they deposit rain to make food grow.

However, grocery stores are not the place to make speeches about the importance of wind !

On windy days, I bundle up, and wear my cap that belonged to my beloved father-in-law. It is cozy, and keeps my hair from flying around.

Lord, help us to appreciate the unique beauty of every day. Each day is a day that you have made. Help us to rejoice and be glad in it !

Uproar

Do you sometimes get up early in the morning to pray ? Sometimes I find myself in my prayer chair perched high above the North Atlantic , praying for something specific. Our house, geographically, is the most easterly in North America.

It is just starting to get light now, and I am praying for Father Gabriel, who has recently arrived from Ghana, and who will be celebrating Mass with us this morning.

I also ask God to bring healing to Catholic Christians.

Recent church scandals, and last month’s events at the Amazon Synod in Rome, have left the Catholic Church in a state of uproar. A great purification process is taking place, as it needs to.

I ask gently for mercy, that people, including fellow Christians, not hurl insults at a billion Catholics, saying that we are not ‘saved’, and are following a ‘false religion’.

The world is watching us, beloved. Will we be lights in the darkness, or will we cause division ?

Eternal Father, for the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us, and on the whole world.

Enticed

Have you ever done something you know you shouldn’t do, but you did it anyway ?

Last night my husband enticed me to enter his T.V. watching room, (man cave), to watch a movie. He knows I don’t watch television, but he lured me in by saying that this was a funny movie. He knows how much I love to laugh !

And so I entered this dark room, with its zebra print carpet, and sat down on the leather couch to watch the funny movie, and I became fascinated with how clear the images on the ‘Smart’ T.V. were.

Initially, the movie provided a few chuckles, but then, as the film progressed, I reluctantly watched scenes of violence, gambling, alcohol consumption, racism, homophobia and lying. I am unsure why I didn’t get up and leave. Perhaps it was the comfortable couch.

This was no comedy ! However, it did remind me why I avoid television watching.

I have a plan, however. The next time my husband invites me to watch a ‘funny ‘ movie, I will politely decline.

Then I will make a delicious cup of Laura Secord hot chocolate, and retreat to my prayer and blogging room.

I will enjoy the tiny lights I have placed there, sip my delicious drink, and listen to the ocean waves.

Dear Father, lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Grateful Hearts

Does your country celebrate ‘Thanksgiving Day’ ?

In Canada, this feast day is in October, while Americans officially say ‘Thank-you’, in November.

I was making breakfast yesterday when I once again realized how inadequate it is to have only one ‘official’ day to say thanks to God for all the food He provides.

Newfoundland is a ruggedly beautiful island in the Atlantic Ocean, and traditionally, the diet here consisted mainly of cod fish, root vegetables, bread, berries and tea.

With the miracle of modern transportation, the food variety available here now is fantastic.

I was thankful for juicy oranges from South Africa, avocados from Mexico, blueberries and raspberries from Peru, and organic coffee, also from Peru.

Tomorrow is cookie making day for me. Our seaside kitchen will be fragrant with the smells of vanilla and cinnamon which has come from Sri Lanka, via England.

Let us give thanks for all the food provided for us.

How does God feel when we display grateful hearts ?

He thinks that it is great !

The Gym Investigator

Do you enjoy working out at gyms ? They are great places to get fit, and to socialize.

We were excited, in our fishing town, to hear that we were getting a gym !

I am not a gym user; I prefer to dance and twirl hoops and gymnastics ribbons, but I sincerely hoped that the gym would become very popular. It had the latest fitness equipment !

Week after week, I passed the gym, on my short walk to Bonnie’s Flower Shop, and every week I noticed that it was empty, or had maybe one or two exercisers in it.

I decided to conduct a sociological study into why the gym was apparently failing.

I went to visit the gym, which is centrally located in a lovely restored historical building. Most of our picturesque town consists of historic buildings.

There was ample parking at the gym, and the adequate open hours were clearly posted.

Following proper gym etiquette, I carried my dainty pale blue running shoes in a sports bag, so as not to track in any dirt from outside.

A very kind gym attendant showed me how to operate an intimidating looking treadmill. Soon my legs were moving, but I was not going anywhere.

Then, I looked out through the large windows, and realized why the gym was failing.

It overlooked a town cemetery !

Newfoundlanders are intensely superstitious !

I quickly found this out after we moved here from Ontario.

The town planners had completely overlooked our townspeople’s attitude towards cemeteries.

The psychology for motivating people to become fit had not been considered here. People do not like to exercise while looking at gravestones.

I have heard that plans are underway for a new gym at a different location.

We know that the spirit of fear never comes from God. Many people are bound by fears and superstitions that the Lord longs to free them from.

May God grant us the grace to be a source of comfort to people who are becoming increasingly fearful in our society that increasingly choses to ignore God.

Hearts

Have you ever listened to your own heartbeat through a stethoscope ? It is fascinating, and a reminder that we are fearfully and wonderfully made in God’s image !

I listen to my heart sometimes before I begin my morning devotions. This reminds me to stay in the moment with the Lord, to rejoice, and to refrain from worrying, since the Lord has everything under control.

In Biblical Days, people believed that the source of our thoughts and feelings was in the heart, and thus, there are over 100 references to ‘the heart’ in the Bible. Jesus tells us that the pure in heart will see God; those who love and serve Christ will eventually see the world as compassionately as he does.

The Bible also speaks of those with ‘hardened hearts’, people who wilfully disobey God, ignore his Son, and mock Christians. We are called to pray for them, despite their disobedience.

After our parish experienced clergy abuse five years ago, one of my family members became so discouraged, he left the faith. The effects of clergy betrayal are far-reaching , and devastating.

How do I react to this tragedy? I pray for my family member to return to the faith. I never give up, but persist in prayer. God hear my prayers, I know.

God softens and changes hearts, in response to prayer. Remember that Saul of Taursus, who once persecuted the early church, was converted and became St. Paul, writer of much of the New Testament.

Let us continue to pray for those with ‘hardened hearts’. God is in the business of turning sinners into saints.