incommunicado or detached by forgetfulness

“Put your heart aside. Duty comes first. But when fulfilling your duty,
put your heart into it. It helps.”

St. Josemaria Escriva


(Lily Tomlin from the One ringy dingy skit from Laugh-In)

Once upon a time, human beings came into this world with 4 appendages.
At some point in the latter part of the 20th century, human beings added an appendage…
the cell phone.

This new appendage became attached serendipitously.
It seemed to bring a sense of well-being and even wholeness to most.

It became so indispensable, so oddly necessary, that when there would be some sort
of separation, human beings would go into apoplexy.

For you see, we humans can’t seem to part with this relatively new appendage.

I confess that I’m sadly and equally guilty of living in this surreal false sense of need.

Take for example today.

My husband and I were in Atlanta babysitting, even having spent Wednesday night as
we all went out a few days early to celebrate my husband’s upcoming birthday.
A birthday that my husband has decided will be his last to actually recognize but
a first in that we had a new little granddaughter in attendance at dinner.

The following day, Thursday…there was a pouring monsoon. Due to our daughter-n-law
starting pre-planning with her new school system and having to attend a faculty retreat
and our son having to work late, we opted to take the wee one home with us for a few days.

Maybe not a wise decision as the wee one is teething, but I digress.

As we were packing up, our daughter-n-law called making certain all was well.
Mindlessly I handed my son the phone.
After a brief conversation, he put down my phone.
We all then worked a joint effort in order to get the wee one in the car
without getting soaked.

With great trepidation, we bid our son a farewell (but I’ll be heading back Saturday to redeliver
the wee one home) as we made our way to the interstate for the long wet drive home.

Driving on the interstate in the pouring down rain, sandwiched between
tractor-trailer trucks who were oblivious to the weather or other cars or
that of their own speed, I saw an interstate road sign flashing deep
within the foggy rainy misty air…
DON’T TEXT AND DRIVE

For you see, Georgia just passed a law forbidding the use of a cell phone
while driving.
A few too many lost lives too late yet long overdue.

This means no calling, dialing, talking or texting.
Bluetooth through the car is ok.
GPS is also ok…so there are still a few of those grey areas but this is finally
a step in the right direction.

But when I saw that flashing interstate sign working its magic in the pouring down rain,
I thought to myself…”cellphone???”
As in… where IS my cellphone?

I quickly ask my husband to reach to the back seat to check my purse.
“Nope” he annoyingly replies.
For you see he figured I’d probably have done a U-turn right then and there on this
precarious section of 285 sending tractor-trailer trucks scurrying for cover.

But I didn’t.

I calmly kept driving.

I didn’t even frantically make my way to the nearest exit in order to backtrack to our
son’s house because I now remembered that the phone was sitting on the coffee table.
Right where my son had put it down after finishing talking to his wife…
all while we were putting the wee one in her car seat.

So I’m now missing an appendage.

A friend later called on our fossilized landline when word got out I didn’t have
my phone.
“Oh my gosh…what are you going to do??!!” was her incredulous query.

“I’ll get it on Saturday when I take the wee one home” I nonchalantly replied.

So on this day without my extra appendage…I do feel small moments of panic forcing
themselves up to the surface as I involuntarily reach for something that is not there.
I wonder who has text me.
Who has tried calling me?
I can’t track my Fitbit steps.
I can’t readily look up some unnecessary thing as if my life depended on it.

And to be quite honest…it’s all rather liberating.

Maybe if we felt the same way about our relationship with our loving Father and
blessed Savior as much as we feel about our phones…
maybe our lives would right themselves back upright…upright as they should be.
I think it’s a matter of priorities and living in the moment really and not living
in some another moment of some other dimension of both space and time—that being
the dimension of the life on those phones of ours.

What a small piece of joy…as well as freedom…

What else are we allowing to vie for our attentions?
What else is distracting us from our true nature of created of the Creator?

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
Colossians 3:2

red tape

“The atmosphere of officialdom would kill anything that breathes the air of human endeavour, would extinguish hope and fear alike in the supremacy of paper and ink.”
― Joseph Conrad

Consider what you owe to His immutability.
Though you have changed a thousand times,
He has not changed once.

Charles Spurgeon

DSCN0123 (1)
(side door at St Ann’s Church, Dublin, Ireland / Julie Cook / 2016)

Number 45 flashes in bold bright red across the suspended matrix box perched over the counter as a monotone voice calls out “Number 45 to counter number 6, number 45 to counter 6…”

After an hour and a half of waiting you have pretty much tuned out the monotonous din of chatter in the very aseptic, yet somewhat dingy, waiting room which has all but swallowed you whole.
A television protruding awkwardly out of the wall, way too close to the ceiling, runs a slew of continuous infomercials concerning the very agency in which you currently find yourself…
As those around you cough, sneeze, hack and shift in the uncomfortable metal chairs as others chat incessantly while still others scattered throughout the cramped waiting room are being entirely too loud on cell phones…while the signs posted strategically around the room glaringly display a cartoon cell phone with a giant red circle and slash with the words “no cell phone use in the waiting area…”

Suddenly, as if jerked back to the land of the living, it registers in your consciousness that you are holding ticket number 45.

Eagerly and a bit bleary eyed you hop up while looking overhead at the various signs hanging over the long line of counters, scanning the corridor for counter number 6 which is now serving ticket number 45…
Finally you feel as if it’s your lucky day…

Who among us hasn’t found ourselves, on any number of occasions, in this same sort of scenario…be it at the DMV, the Social Security Office, the IRS, a health clinic, the VA, a court house, a hospital, a records office, a government agency…as the list is almost endless.

We jump through hoop after hoop to deal with so many aspects of our lives or of the lives of those we’ve been entrusted to care for…our loved ones…
Only to become overwhelmed, discouraged and simply worn out by the system that we now deem has been put in place to simply break our will….

We have to gather up identifying document after document…photos, social security numbers, voter registration numbers, account numbers, passports, registration cards… chasing each and every last one down as we phone, e-mail, write, shuffle to and from as we seek and search…
While at the same time being required to make certain that each piece of paper, photo and number matches and is current, up to date as well as recognized as 100% legal…
and if not…if one letter, number or identifying marker varies from one to the next,
then it’s back to the end of the line and back to square one.

We call, we wait, we push buttons, we wait some more, we listen to music, we listen in silence, we plead for a representatives, we push zero, we yell at robot voices, we try to enunciate our english, we get call backs if we’re lucky…
We have countless pieces of important papers, we wait in long lines, we shuffle from one office and building to another as we wait to take care of whatever very urgent, gravely important and time sensitive issue happens to be currently dogging us or the loved ones we are charged with caring for.

We have created a bureaucratic nightmare…
and there is absolutely no end in sight.
No fix.
No solution.
No easy answer.
No politician, no matter how much they promise that they can eliminate or make it all go away…can help…
Like it or not we are simply entrenched in the red tape nightmare we have created for ourselves…

Created through all of our agencies, our offices, our lawyers, our layered system of life, our “move um in and move um out” livestock mentality….
All the while more and more agencies and offices are being imgained, formed and created in order to help streamline the maddening chaos…
Which has all been put in place, in the first place, to deal with the general populace…ie…you and me.

No wonder there are countless television shows allowing those haggard, bleary eyed souls, overloaded and system beaten victims, opportunities of watching those who “survive” off the proverbial grid or the shows that allow all the sad sacks to wonder and hope what to do when the grid is finally so totally overwhelmed that it self-destructs…leaving life as we know it a forgotten memory…

And then it hits us..
Smack dab between the eyes…
God has never issued numbers!
He has never once put us on hold.
Never have we had to jump through hoops in order to reach Him.
He has no mountains of entangling red tape snarling the path or journey to meet Him.
He simply and quietly is there…or here…or wherever we may find ourselves….
waiting..
waiting on us…
not the other way around with us endlessly waiting…
but rather it is He who waits…
waiting for that time when we finally decide we’ve had enough and we simply need to vent about this thing called life….

God waits for you to communicate with Him.
You have instant, direct access to God.
God loves mankind so much, and in a very special sense His children,
that He has made Himself available to you at all times.

Wesley L. Duewell