Monday, October 22, 2007

The Journey Home - Part I

October 18th

I haven't done much posting or reading of blogs recently and I've noticed that many of you are semi-hibernating too. I've managed a few bits here but not much in the way of poetry has been emerging. It is definitely the Fall seasons and as things slow down, I find myself traveling inward again. But while my fingers here may be slowing down, my mind has been going lickityslip. I've been blogging now for 19 months and I am discovering that writing has its own rhythm just as the seasons do. I've noticed less traffic to my blog but then I have not been visiting as regularly either. My thoughts and activities have been quieter.

I wonder if this quiet has come over me because of my mother's death? Next Monday the 22nd will be the one year anniversary of her passing. October this year has visited us with the news of George's returned melanoma and now Quanah and Erin's decision to pick up their lives and return prematurely to Oregon where Erin can be near her brother and family for the time he may have left. These three things weigh heavily on my heart and all I can do is pray for a good conclusion for all concerned. I pray for healing, new teachers for Bishop Loers School and jobs for Erin and Q.

I am also praying for a peaceful good-bye to my mom from Krista and also for Krista's return to Mass if not necessarily the Sacraments right now. She's like her father in that way. Perhaps if she has a lifetime in her future with Chad, that will change. Don certainly has become more able to articulate his deepest thoughts over these last 29 years. I'm still surprised though when he opens up in a big way. So - back to Kris - I pray she finds some closure and peace with her grandmother's death. I know she has been avoiding thoughts of her passing and the pain she felt. Coming six years after my dad's death, it has been a lot for her to digest. Add to that the death of a high school from by suicide and the death of Aaron, the son of our closest family friend, it has not been easy. All of this happening during her teen years to early young adult years has been a lot to deal with. I never had to endure this sort of pain in my youth.

Interestingly, my mother DID and so now has Kris. Did it skip a generation, this suffering, confusion, and sadness? So it would seem. But for me, my fate seems to be the requirement to be strong for others. I gladly accept that and hope that with maturity, Kris will have the strength and wisdom to eventually do the same when life calls on her to be strong again.

And speaking of deepest thoughts and Don, this turn of season has me reflecting on faith, reverence, and devotion again. Like this seasons, this comes in a cycle for me too and each turn I feel I come a bit closer to being centered and at peace.

I have had two things on my mind lately

1. The Sacrament of Reconciliation and
2. The altar free-for-all that plagues the Church these days.

I am a Catholic of a certain age and can clearly remember the Latin Mass. We lost the Latin Mass in 1962 just as I was entering high school so I an recall the change back to its beginning. Forty-five years later, what seemed like a good idea has actually become a divisive and great disappointment.

October 18th
I remember
The scent of incense
Burning candles reflecting
red and lights embrace.
The hush before Mass
reverence that is missing
Yearning for return.
I remember
Bowed heads, hats removed
Black mantilla covering hair
Modesty, good sense
Faces were well-known
Even those without a name
All met with greetings.
We shared something
in common -
The Mass
I remember
Seasonal vestments
Colors that changed with the
Church calendar.
Or, with mourning
Celebrations, and
Holy Days.
I remember
Confession on Wednesdays and Saturdays
When we had more priest,
Enough priests,
A surplus of priests.


trailbee said...

Lots to think about. Glad you have a place to post and reflect.

AscenderRisesAbove said...

very sad thoughts; thinking of Krista and this generation... it must be so much harder for them - the condition of the world today

wondering if you have family and friends down in so calif among the fires?

Julie Marie said...


I have been overwhelmed with piles of work and problems with my hand (carpal tunnel syndrome), but know I come here and check your blog out all the time. My blog is getting less traffic too. And that's okay.

Although I am a Lutheran, not Catholic, I miss the old ways too. Without the old liturgy, and the King James version of the Bible, I am lost. I came from a tiny church to the big impersonal churches of Bismarck. I have not found a church home here.

I always enjoy your reflections, and your poetry.


AnnieElf said...

Biene, as usual, you are my dear supportive friend,

Ascender - no friends in SoCal who are threatened, thank God.

Julie - I didn't know the Luthern litergy had changed and that the King James Bible was not favored (did I get that RIGHT?) I feel your loss deeply and share in it. I'll have more posted today that hopefully will end on a happier note.

Julie Marie said...

Yes, it is all different. Instead of the beautiful words of the KJ version we have the Revised Standard version or worse. I noticed it first when I went to college. I know it shouldn't make a difference, but it is just not the same worship experience.


AnnieElf said...

If I've learned anything Julie, it's that I'm not alone in my feelings. Thank God Holy Father officially re-instated the Latin Mass. Both Don and I feel very at home there and will be going on a regular basis.

Re: Bible - I would skip the new stuff and read and follow with the King James. You probably have more people feeling that same way than you think. Have you asked around?


Susie said...

Hi Annie,
I'm also far behind on blog reading. So much going on here, that blogging has been set aside quite a bit.
My thoughts are with you (although belatedly) on the anniversary of your Mom's death. A very dear friend told me (and I may have told you this already) that one must live through at least four seasons of life without your loved one before the healing can really begin. You will then have experienced "all the firsts" without them (such as holidays, etc)
My daughter took a very long time to heal after her Grandma's death too.

qualcosa di bello said...

annie...i am keeping you you (& george)in my heart during these hard days...

i am really moved by your comments regarding the Mass (as i mentioned in the email)...your remembrances were beautiful.

& i will say that i feel very sad for my generation (just caught the tail end of Latin) & my children's...missing this reverent beauty.

may God's peace surround you...

Anonymous said...

"Modesty, good sense
Faces were well-known
Even those without a name"

I'm Presbyterian but I relate to your poem of what is lost now in church services. There used to be much more of a sense of belonging in churches than there is today. As a child I knew everyone's face in church-- now, maybe half a dozen. It's different.

AnnieElf said...

I'm learning here that the loss I'm feeling isn't peculiar to my experience. Things changed so radically post Vatican II. It has never occurred to me that other Believers were experiencing the same thing in Protestant denominations. What has happened? Writer's Island, this week, has a theme of The Stranger. This may well become my topic for this weeks post.

paris parfait said...

It is quite a lot for a young person to digest. And it's always a bit sad when rituals of meaning are cast aside. It sounds like lots of changes with you and all around you. xo

Bimbimbie said...

Your post has got me mulling over a few things and feelings from my early teenage years and how my parents handled my questioning of the Methodist Church I attended and religion as a whole. .... Trust your daughter to do what is right for her "now" Over the years the "now" will change and she will do what feels right for her once again. We are all different and see and believe things differently but have to decide what sits right for us *!* x

nonizamboni said...

I'll be keeping you close in thought as you sort through all of these things. I visited a Benedictine Monastery this weekend and was taken by how much the sisters themselves had changed. Change can makes our heads spin sometimes. Hang in there and remember that the gesture of your longing and concern won't go unheard.

Mary Timme said...

I've never been a Catholic, so I know of the changes, but they don't really have an effect on me. But, I know I've changed a great deal over time. Luckily, God has not. He still loves me!
He still loves you, too!

susanna said...

I can relate to this post, Annie. I've been feeling a sort of hibernation regarding my blog, too. I'm not sure why...maybe because it's colder outside these days so I've been hiding indoors more often, focusing on things I need to do in my daily life. Maybe I'm looking for new inspiration. It's something, just not sure what.

I didn't grow up Catholic but I did grow up in a very religious Pentecostal household, the speaking-in-tongues, evangelical faith. I grew up with Falwell and the Bakers as church celebrities. Certain things happened in my life that directly effected my connection with the church and to my religion. By my twenties I wasn't going to church anymore. My family worried about my soul but I assured them that it wasn't that I didn't believe in (a) God but that I didn't want to go to church anymore. I didn't want God defined to me. It's much more personal than that.

I have to admit, though, that there are some old traditions that I do miss... some of the old hymns, especially when I remember my mom and dad's voices. And the church picnics when the senior ladies would go all out with their home baking - mmmm...soooo good!

AnnieElf said...

Hi Susanna,

Based on what I am hearing from others, many are feeling the loss of traditions and are yearning for a way back to those traditions. I don't know what caused this rupture but I'm thinking of bugging my son about contributing HIS thoughts. He and his wife would probably have a LOT to say on the subject. Noni wrote in her comments . . . remember that the gesture of your longing and concern won't go unheard.

These words moved me deeply and I feel my own prayers and search being answered and guided.