Totus Tuus / Entirely Yours

Totus Tuus…
The apostolic motto of Pope John Paul II
latin for
Entirely Yours


(a small creek and waterfall runs into a quiet lake cove / Julie Cook / 2017)

My cousin called me this afternoon, checking in on progress.
I ran down my list…with not much progress to report.
My monotone responses probably told him more than any unfinished laundry list could.
He told me to perk up.
Easier said then done when facing a seemingly unmovable wall.

Life right now is still overwhelming but in an entirely different
sort of fashion then from before.

For good or bad my stepmother’s estranged daughter has decided she wants to move
her mother to North Carolina, to be closer to her.
My stepmother’s son, who I have worked closely with over these past two years,
is reluctantly acquiescing to the option.
It’s complicated.
I think that was the title of a recent movie.
I can relate.

They move her next weekend.

They are packing up her little world.
What’s left and what remains of my dad’s world
will wait to be purged once my stepmother is moved.

It only seemed appropriate that she should move first before I “move” Dad.

When the dust settles with all of this,
our son and daughter-n-law will eventually move to the house…
With the house that I called home for 55 of my 57 years,
the place where I grew up, will soon be theirs.

Dad wanted that.

But I’m still jumping through hoops…
As I continue filing papers, waiting on lawyers, waiting to close then open
all sorts of accounts and continue paying exorbitant bills as none of that
goes away when one dies…
I am facing movings, re-movings, packing, repacking, good-byes, hellos…
shifting lives that are not mine but lives I am responsible for or a part of…

My stepmother claims no knowledge of who Dad was.
She told me again today she had no known remembrance of “that man”
“and isn’t that the craziest thing?”
“I can’t believe you all keep telling me I was married to him.”
On and on she goes remembering everything around him but not him.
She even told him this before he died, that she never remembers meeting him.
He stared at her as I had tried telling him this, but he didn’t want to hear it.

Yet she can point out a mirror hanging on the wall in my dad’s bedroom…
a mirror that she wants me now to take down so she can take it with her…
because that mirror has hung in every house she’s ever lived in.

Go figure.

So as I continue wrestling with life…mine and others…
I have found a new book…
or maybe I should say, the book found me.

The book is from the private diaries of Karol Wojtyla—Pope John Paul II

Any of you who know me, know that the late pope has always been very important
to me—ever since I watched him walk out on that balcony overlooking St Peter’s square
in 1978, with arms raised, greeting the world as the first Polish pope.

The title of the book is
In God’s Hands
and it is the spiritual diary spanning approximately 41 years of his priesthood.

The diaries were to be burned upon the Pope’s death but his close aide and confidant
Stanislaw Cardinal Dziwisz defied that wish as he understood the spiritual
significance of sharing these private thoughts and writings.

They were just recently translated into English and made available to an audience other
than Polish or Italian readers.

The Pope reminded me of something very important, right on the very first page…

“At a certain point, however, one needs to abandon human calculations and
somehow grasp the Godly dimensions of every difficult issue.”

Sometimes we need to be reminded of the One who is always in control no matter how
out of control we may feel….

Thank you Fr. Wojtyla….

Oh Heavenly Father, may I learn to be…
entirely yours….

Totus Tuus…
Entirely yours

Never knowing what you might find…

“What should I possibly have to tell you, oh venerable one? Perhaps that you’re searching far too much? That in all that searching, you don’t find the time for finding?”
― Hermann Hesse

DSCN2472
(image: freshwater mussel shell, Troup Co, Georgia / Julie Cook / 2013)

Imagine my surprise, or better yet, shock, upon glancing down while out walking in the woods, in the middle of nowhere, only to spy some sort of “sea” shell. My husband is up ahead of me as I, always the ready with camera in hand, scouring the landscape, shout for him to come take a look at what I’ve found.

“What in the world?!” I exclaim. “How in the world did a sea shell get here?!” We are actually very deep in an old growth forest of rural midwest Georgia, nowhere near any sort of ocean nor house for that matter. My husband picks up the shell telling me it’s a fresh water mussel shell, which was most likely taken from the nearby creek by a raccoon, who then enjoyed a “seafood” dinner.

All of which of course got me thinking. It is often amazing what one finds when simply out for a walk–be it in the woods, the beach, a park—and it is always by happenstance, just randomly stumbling upon some small trinket or treasure.

And that is how it is with life. We so often, egoistically, think that we can just take off, going out into the world in order to find our heart’s desire. We try in vain, over and over, attempt after attempt to capture what it is we most often believe will make us oh so happy and content. If only this or if only that. . .and bingo, we’ve got it. . .be it happiness, contentment, inner peace, fulfillment, just fill in the blank.

Yet sadly no matter how hard we search and seek, find and dig, wander and plead, the “it” is just not there.

Then all of a sudden when we are no longer seeking and searching, no longer conscious of our quest, no longer hyper foucsed, no longer consumed, simply out of the blue, “it” is laying at our feet, in plain sight as if it’s been there the entire time. We exclaim, “oh my gosh, how in the world?” as we quietly bend over, picking it up. The dawning of the revelation, the cognizant realization, finally the contented exhale. . .

Maybe we can learn to stop our vain seeking and searching, our mad dashing about, our oh so valiant effort of running about all willy nilly for those most elusive things in our lives just long enough to take stock, realizing that perhaps, the “its” we so desperately are longing for, have been there all along. We’re just so busy and consumed, we don’t / can’t stop long enough to actually “see” that our searching is not necessary—it never was necessary.

The sweet release of letting go as we finally have what “it” is we’ve wanted for oh so very long—blessed contentment has been found—at last. . . but was it ever really missing. . .