staying the course

Father Mark E. Thibodeaux, S.J., suggests three purposes for prayer:
1) To recognize God’s presence,
2) To be transformed through surrendering to God’s Lordship, and
3) To experience union with God in an intimate relationship where you receive His love daily.

Karen L. Dwyer, Ph.D. & Lawrence A. Dwyer, JD
from Wrap Yourself in Scripture


(a persimmon hints at the coming change / Julie Cook / 2018)

You don’t know how to pray?
Put yourself in the presence of God,
and as soon as you have said,
‘Lord, I don’t know how to pray!”
you can be sure you have already begun.’

St. Josemaria Escriva

God doesn’t blink

Everything can change in the blink of an eye.
But don’t worry;
God never blinks.

Regina Brett


(Coach Tim and Dawn Criswell at one of the three son’s graduations)

You may recall that a couple of weeks back I asked for prayers for
an old friend and former colleague.

Tim Criswell is the Basketball coach at Carrollton High School.
I had worked with Tim ever since he was hired, nearly 30 years ago, to come back
to his old alma mater to be the head boys basketball coach…

Fast forwarding to August 5th…

Tim and his wife Dawn were involved in a serious bike accident on
Carrollton’s Greenbelt…the 17 mile recreational path that circles around the city.
Tim sustained traumtic injury and was life flighted to Atlanta’s Grady Hospital’s
Trauma Unit where he remains to this day.

Tim suffered broken ribs, a punctured lung and severe head trauma…
while quickly developing pneumonia and various infections along with
increased oozing and swelling of the brain upon arriving at the hospital.

I had promised you that I would offer updates as time and Tim progressed…..

This past week, as the brain swelling finally leveled off and reached the
magic number,
doctors were able to perform the necessary surgeries to
put a trach tube in place to better assist with breathing
(still on a ventilator but is being weaned off) as well as inserting
a feeding tube directly into the stomach to help eliminate issues with
aspiration and further infection.

Since Tim has been in the hospital his middle son has had to leave for college,
with his oldest son soon to follow suit…
plus Tim’s mother passed away this past week.
The comings and goings of life while husband, father, son has remained heavily
sedated…hanging in the balance of life and death.

Dawn, Tim’s wife, has been good to offer a daily update on their CaringBridge page
(caringbridge.org)
If you’ve ever spent anytime in an ICU watching over a loved one whose very
life hangs in the balance, then you can understand the roller coaster of emotions,
the fatigue and heavy weariness that eats away at ones mind and body…
Yet Dawn has spent most of every hour of every day with Tim,
spending each night at the hospital.

Her sharing on Caringbride comes each evening, usually between 10 or 10:30, as
she offers a recap of the day’s ups and downs.
These updates come with her own observations and feelings…usually about life
in the ICU unit and of the other families and staff she shares her time with—
She recounts the small acts of kindness that she soaks in like a sponge…
acts offered, or actually preformed, by staff members who are merely doing their job,
yet to Dawn, these acts are more than just a job…
they create an actual continuum and life line.

The other evening I was touched by Dawn recounting the fact that as she was finally settling down for the night, the movie The Notebook was showing.
A movie she just wasn’t emotionally up to watching but yet was a visceral reminder
that love is a verb….

Dawn offered these words:

“My dad is flying in from Chicago to spend the next 3 nights with me in the ICU.
I am actually laying down and the movie, The Notebook, came on the TV (not sure I can watch it tonight:). It is one of my favorite love stories of all times. The first time I read the book over 20 years ago, I knew that story was the type of love I wanted in my marriage – love as a verb. I am lucky that it has been the kind of love I have now and for the last 27 years with Tim. The kind of love Tim’s mom and dad had for each other for over 50 years.”

Yesterday she reported that Tim is beginning to open and close his eyes.
This comes as they are backing off from the heavy sedation while still administering
some very strong pain meds.

Tim is not yet responding to commands…but Dawn did ask yesterday for Tim to give her
a kiss and she noted that Tim did attempt to pucker his lips.

Here is the closing of Tuesday night’s post….

“I feel God’s presence all over this hospital – especially in the trauma and ICU.
It reminds me of a quote Larry Patton sent me –
“Everything can change in a blink of an eye. But don’t worry;
God never blinks.”
Love ya all!!!”

May we all be reminded,
God never blinks…never misses a single thing in our lives…

Please join me as prayers continue for Tim and his family…

You go to pray; to become a bonfire, a living flame, giving light and heat.
St Josemaria Escriva

Hey you…yeah you…what are you waiting for?

“God gave Himself to you: give yourself to God.”
Saint Robert Southwell

“Few souls understand what God would accomplish in them if they were to abandon themselves unreservedly to Him and if they were to allow His grace to mold them accordingly.”
St. Ignatius Loyola

DSCN1332
(a fussy youthful crow at the Cliffs of Mohr / County Kerry / Julie Cook / 2015)

You’ve been skirting around the issue forever.
Avoidance, deference, denial…
Yet it’s nagged at your heart, nipped at your heels and hounded your idle thoughts all these many years.

Oh sure, you casually said “whatever” years ago…figuring that was good enough…
yet deep down you knew, you always knew, more of you was wanted, needed, required.

Life was cushy enough with you just sitting on the fence, balancing that wire…
but now the swinging and swaying has grown almost impossible for you to keep your balance. You know a fall is inevitable but as to which side you fall, you’re still a little concerned.

One side requires all of you…which sounds like a lot of work and effort…”hummmm” you muse deep within…
…the other side…well, the outcome is touted as a bit dire. “Reckon they know what they’re really talking about?” you fumble over your thoughts like a handful of loose change.
You’re not so sure if you’re up for this whole kit kaboodle of giving the required all of you–
yet that other dark dismal world thing doesn’t sound like it has a very good ending.

You try not thinking about it, hoping it’ll just all go away–leaving you to live your happy little life…as the fence tilts more and more with you hanging on tighter and tighter.
You busy yourself, living life loud and large trying to drown out that nagging pull—
You bury yourself in your work, filling your brain with things other than the aching pull— hoping to ignore the slow throbbing pounding in your head.

You just don’t get it do you?
God is more determined and more patient than you—He’s waiting, but I think time is running out…
hopefully one day soon, you’ll figure it all out…before it’s all too late…

“Don’t you long to shout to those youths who are bustling around you: Fools! Leave those worldly things that shackle the heart – and very often degrade it – leave all that and come with us in search of Love!”
-St. Josemaria Escriva