DON’T MAKE ME REGRET THIS

They held a candlelight vigil for me but what was the point? I was already dead. The night before all my friends were together enjoying a dinner and in less than 24 hours my fate was sealed. 

There were many thoughts going through their heads but one question they all shared was this: “How could something fall apart so quickly?” The denouement came to be through a very neat series of synchronized, predetermined events as they stood by helplessly. How could they have been so blind to the trouble headed my way? 

I was the most charismatic in our group; they flocked to me and we became friends immediately. They were mesmerized when I spoke, as though I knew all the answers. Sadly, I did know for my father had prepared me. 

My message rang true like none they’d ever heard before, so simple yet so profound. I spoke words of love – not a romantic, physical love but an all-encompassing, never-ending, consuming ardor which burned deeply into their souls. It wasn’t just one thing; it was all things. 

They loved me beyond measure; there was nothing they would not do for me yet they failed me miserably. 

I asked so very little of them. I gave them my all. 

Lauded and praised. Denied and betrayed. Derided and defiled. Beaten and broken. Nailed and speared. The agony!   

My children, you are forgiven your many failings, your countless sins. I did not want to die. Please don’t make me regret this. 

Wishing my fellow writers, poets, philosophizers and dreamers as well as those who consistently and faithfully follow me and read my humble imaginings a very blessed Easter and a lovely Spring. May your lives be full with all things bright and beautiful. Thank you for being an important part of my life! – Nancy 🐘

NAR © 2022

GOD AND ME

It’s been quite a while since I went to church. It wasn’t one specific thing that happened; it was a lot of little things that changed the way I feel about church.

Up until a few years ago, a large portion of my time was spent attending Mass and being involved in church activities. I was a Leader of Song, the Assistant Choir Director of the Children’s Choir as well as an active member of both the Adult English and Italian Choirs. I was president of the Parish Council, taught CCD and was also the music curator for a long time; I put my heart and soul into that position.

As I said, a lot of little things changed my opinion of church and by that I mean organized religion. I know for many people being physically inside a church and attending services is an integral part of their lives. Sitting in the sanctuary, singing the hymns, hearing the word of God, receiving Communion, praying, feeling the presence of the Holy Spirit can be extremely moving, comforting and fulfilling. To those people who honestly feel that way, I’m very glad your lives are so richly filled.

I know where I stand with God; He and I have been pretty close since I was born – probably before that. I believe He knows my innermost feelings and hears me when I speak to Him, which is often. I tried to talk to God every night but I wasn’t always successful; I’d get tired and fall asleep. I had good intentions and He knew that. Now I speak with Him whenever I feel like it even though He knows all about me (and I truly believe that).

You notice I don’t use the word “pray”. For me that’s a bit too formal but if it works for you then go for it. There were times when I’d only pray when I was worried and things were troubling me; I’d tell God what I did wrong (as if He didn’t already know) or what was weighing me down and pray for Him to intervene. I’m sure many of you can relate. 

The thought of talking to God came to me quite by accident one night after spending the day with my grandchildren. It was a particularly good day and I was thinking about the joy those kids bring me. I found myself taking a few minutes to say “thank you” to God for the many blessings in my life. I think that’s when I finally realized my blessings far outweighed my troubles and I wanted to acknowledge where those blessings came from. We had a wonderful talk, God and me. It didn’t last long, there was no kneeling or reciting the rosary. I just talked and I know God heard because a calmness came over me. It’s amazing what a couple of minutes one-on-one with God can do. I don’t want to be a hypocrite and only show my face in church on Christmas and Easter. I’d rather just have my own personal relationship with God whenever the ’spirit’ moves me.

I converted to Catholicism when I was 32 years old. Going to confession for the first time was deeply meaningful and I felt reborn. The second time was not like the first; sadly, all the priest wanted to do was gossip about other people in the church. That, I realize, is an anomaly but it turned me off to confession. Perhaps some day when I know my time on earth is reaching an end I’ll want someone to absolve me of my sins but for now I don’t need an intermediary; I talk to God and I know He forgives me.

There may be some who no longer consider me a very good Catholic; that’s okay. I like to think I’m a good Christian and a decent person. There’s no denying I screw up big time. Frequently. I’m only human and I’m sure God is looking down at me saying “There she goes again!”. Guilty as charged. I’m also sure God understands and is always ready and willing to give me another chance. 

I hope I never take advantage of God’s forgiveness; how selfish and ungrateful would that be? After all, look at the sacrifice He made for our undeserving souls. Pretty awesome, no? Thank God!

To all who observe this very sacred day I wish you a most blessed Good Friday. I’ll tell God you said “Hello” next time we chat.

NAR © 2022

A HIGHER BEING

Quick. When was the last time in the past 16 months you felt truly happy, safe from the perils all around, free to travel, visit your family or even simply take a walk? 

Oh, there were happy days but they were few and fleeting. For me and my husband it was the day our grandchild was born. I remember anxiously arriving at White Plains Hospital to meet our precious granddaughter. She, an innocent, peaceful, beautiful little soul completely dependent on family for every aspect of her life. We saw her exactly twice in the hospital before she was whisked away to the safety of her loving home. That was February 2020, just as COVID hit, and we didn’t see her again until May. We were among the lucky ones; in light of what was about to unfold, three months was nothing.

Think back to the time you brought your first baby home. Many of us had the wise and caring help of our parents to guide us and pitch in when we needed encouragement or just a break. We had friends to run to the store for formula or diapers, family to help cook meals and do the laundry. 

Now imagine as first-time parents bringing your baby home and you are stricken with an unknown and dangerous virus. That’s what happened to our son and his wife. They couldn’t believe what was happening to them but being a doctor herself, our daughter-in-law had to face reality; they obviously contracted COVID while she was in the hospital. She broke out in a cold, damp sweat fearing the worst, praying for the best. New parents, both sick with what was now categorized as a pandemic; could anything be more horrifying? Would they be ok? Would the baby be ok? Would they survive when so many around them were dying?

Thankfully they had mild cases of this scourge that raged like wildfire from north to south and east to west. They managed to get by while masked family members delivered bags of groceries and supplies, rang the bell and left. Our son would hold the baby up to the window as we waved and blew kisses, mouthing the words “I love you“. We would make the slow walk back to our car and cry – heartbroken that we couldn’t be with them yet thankful that – so far – we were all well. We all found ourselves praying more than ever before. Our son and his wife made it through the most terrifying period of their lives. They regained their health, the baby thrived and their faith was strengthened.

Finally that day in May arrived when we all agreed that our isolationist lifestyle and carefulness allowed us to visit our granddaughter. We were overcome with joy and thankfulness. There were more than a few tears shed that day.

As time went by how many people lost their businesses, homes, jobs, loved ones or their own lives? And through all this I am constantly reminded that there is a higher being protecting us. If we lose sight of that, we lose everything.

Our healthy son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter

NAR © 2021