There’s a random post going around Facebook, asking people to list 10 things you might not know about them. It has been interesting reading about my friends and acquaintances. It is a sign of the times that we have so many people in our lives, but when it comes down to it, there isn’t the depth we used to have in relationships. I am opining here, so I know there will be objections! And that is okay, too. Our world has become so instant and so automated, that quite often, there is much we do not really know about the people we interact with. Quite often I have been told people date, have a relationship, and break up – all either online or through texting someone. I find that absurd in some ways, and infinitely sad in other ways. And the other part is the instantaneousness of it all. “I just met this guy and he is so awesome! I am in love” or I was friended by this girl online and we’ve been talking on Facebook. I don’t know but I think she might be “the one!” I find it all so indicative of our culture, and immensely sad. We do not converse any longer, we chat. We do not write or read, we text. We do not sit down to dinner and actually talk to each other, rather everyone is on their phones. A friend suggested this article to me and I just read it. “18 Things Everyone Should Start Making Time for Again.” (http://thoughtcatalog.com/brianna-wiest/2013/11/18-things-everyone-should-start-making-time-for-again/). I commented to my friend that just reading it was like a sigh, or a pause, like a breath of fresh air. It is depressing to think we even need a list like this, but it is also wonderful! It brings into the light things we do not often think about. One of my favorites was #3 – Thinking before responding. You can actually watch people in conversations and see (sometimes I feel I can hear the gears turning in their heads) them formulating their response before the speaker has even fully expressed their idea or position on something.
Another point she made was #13 – Making sure relationships are based on spending time with people. This speaks to our digital, instant, rapid-paced culture. There is nothing like a cup of tea shared with a good friend, taking hours and hours to talk about our lives. I miss the friends I have who enabled me to sit and chat with them. Those moments of my life are some of my most treasured.
The past few days there was a discussion on pews or no pews on a Facebook page, as well as another post about confession that was a video tape of a conference. The talk was awesome; the discussion on pews was enlightening. I enjoy the intellect and the banter, although I am saddened at the vehemence with which Christians attack or defend positions. It still baffles me, but I love the fervor, nonetheless.
Tomorrow we begin our Advent Fast (well, we really start today). Today is the Feast Day of St.Philip and the Fast is often referred to as St. Philip’s Fast. Regardless of the title, this marks 40 days until Christmas. This year has sped by so rapidly, it is hard to comprehend it. We have had such an upheaval since the Holiday Season of 2012. Thanksgiving last year we were hosting my god daughter for several days, and attended a dinner at some very dear friends’ home. It was one of the most memorable Thanksgivings for all of us. A peculiar mix of people at the table, wonderful food traditions shared, great wine, and some of the best conversations, ever! The joy, laughter, and love experienced that day will stay with me always. I loved that day. And Christmas of 2012, we hosted extended family in our home and it was lovely. It was a difficult Christmas, as it was the first without my father-in-law, but it was wonderful to sit with his brother and sister-in-law, as well as my mother- and brother-in-law, and share stories about Joe and his early life, and to hold each other up in our own grief over his passing. It is hard to believe we are entering into the preparation phase for holidays so soon. This year, I am facing the season without my stepfather, whose birthday is today (Memory eternal, Frank) and trying to support my mom, who is suffering with Dementia and the loss of her “anchor” in life. We are also in a completely new community and physical environment, but have the blessing of family nearby (son, daughter-in-law, and two grandchildren) and a great support of our Church family.
All of this lead me to think on my relationship with God. If I look back on all the things, events, and people who have made up my lifetime, I find that God is the constant – always there, always the same