The Silent One

Our society, in just about every profession or social engagement only hears those who boast the loudest and ignore those who remain silent.  This is especially true when ‘ good deeds done  or charitable works for others are involved.

There are those who grab and hang onto the BULLHORNS (those who brag too loudly) to announce their good deeds to the world.
Yes, I donated $1000 to the such and such fund and plan to donate another grand to that other such and such fund. And, did I mention I also gave such and such fund over $500 dollars last year.

Others boast in a whisper (you know who they are), not to be associated with the ‘BULLHORNS’ but nonetheless making sure their good deeds are known.
Oh, I see my name is in the brochure. How thoughtful of them to recognize my contribution. Oh yes, we give every year and will continue to do so. Well we withheld our contribution two years ago after I noticed we weren’t mentioned in the brochure.

Yet, others diligently and quietly (they have no need to say anything at all), carry out their good deeds.
** silence**

I have the privilege of knowing one who is a ‘BULLHORN’ and another who is ‘silent’.

Which one do you think has my respect and admiration?

Not the ‘BULLHORN’!

The ‘silent’ one does carpentry, plumbing and handy man jobs at our church and he does not charge for his work or hours put in. Yes, his work is free. The ‘silent’ one is a quiet soul who usually thinks well and hard before speaking and views his work as a pledge to the church’s ministry- meaning, he gives of his heart through his hands what he cannot give of his wallet in dollars and cents.

I volunteered to assist the ‘silent’ one for two days on a carpentry project at our church. His serene attitude towards the scope of the work at hand, attention to detail, enthusiasm and getting the job done correctly was infectious. The work was hard, and he took the time to explain the tools of the trade, measurements, and techniques. I was sore, had trouble standing after the first day of work but the feeling of accomplishment and joy within the work environment outweighed the pain. I was satisfied spiritually, intellectually, and felt my contribution had more of an impact than at my so-called paying part-time job.

So I thank the ‘silent’ one for reaffirming in my sometimes doubtful mind that there are good people out there who share my faith but also are role models for giving to others unselfishly without the ‘BULLHORN’.

The Best Christmas Present Ever-One year later…

The Best Christmas Present Ever  from last year has evolved into the ‘gift that keeps on giving’.

Although I failed to see it due to my emotional state during last years’ presentation of the gift, a snowball effect of changes was a comin’!

Like a snowball, at the top of a hilltop making its descent towards the bottom. Along the way,  snow gathers to its shape and it transforms into a humongous ball of loosely packed snow. At the bottom, it smashes into the bank and puffs of discombobulated snow suddenly infiltrate the air! That explains the impact of the changes in my life and as each puff anchors itself to the ground so has the change within mi alma (my soul).

This precious gift has changed my personal and emotional outlook towards dealing with toxic people or “emotional vampires” as a Face book friend likes to describe them. The ‘gift that keeps on giving’ is responsible for my refusal to allow toxic people to control my emotions or dictate how I feel about myself.


On Christmas Eve, I attended a midnight mass at the Church celebrating the birth of the messiah. Darkness enveloped the church at the start of the mass as an acolyte walked through the pews lighting parishioners’ hand held candles. When the church was illuminated, the procession towards the altar of acolytes, LEM’s and the Rector began. I carried the baby Jesus (large figurine) held up high, to be placed in the manger when we reached the altar and quietly cited a “Don’t drop the baby…Don’t drop the baby” mantra as I took each step. Prior to the start of the procession the Rector gave me sound advice on walking with baby Jesus, “If you drop the baby, you’re going to hell”. (He was kidding of course, or was he?)

Sunday, Christmas day morning, my nephew who luckily missed the start of last year’s, The Best Christmas Present Ever, came for a visit. We exchanged gifts, ate eggs and nana, my mom’s fry cakes while downing freshly brewed Bustelo. It was a nice gathering and my nephew spending time his nana, my mom was thoughtful.

The rest of Christmas day was spent at the Rectory for brunch that consisted of eggs and biscuits, kielbasa, and other foodstuff as well as Bloody Marys, wine and cheese. The Rector did the cooking while the guests carried food from the kitchen and set the table. After the cooking and setting was completed we sat down to eat in an atmosphere filled with warmth and comfort.

It was pleasant and the conversation included opinions on opera, current events, with jokes and laughter and most importantly freedom of expression on my part. No ridicule or silencing of my words from anyone. Finally, relief and enjoyment with people who accepted me for who I am.

This year opened outlets of socialization and connections I did not see or seek before, because I truly believed holidays are spent with family members. Unfortunately, blood ties do not compel one to adhere to ties that bind. Sometimes family members are not the people to be around especially when emotional pain and abuse are the consequences.

The results of my decision to eliminate toxic family members from my life has transcended into understanding and dealing with toxic people in general. I have learned to accept people for who they are and what they bring to the table in regards to emotional and spiritual support and most importantly I am not disappointed when they fail to meet up to my expectations. If their toxicity is overwhelming, I will not deal with it. I move on.

This Christmas was the year of spirituality and sharing the holidays with those who share my faith. Our shared commonality of faith offered me support and encouragement and I am grateful for having that in my first Christmas alone.

Lent 2011

My first Lenten observation as an Episcopalian and boy, changes have arrived.

 

  1. I have committed to sacrificing alcohol for forty days and forty nights or whenever Easter arrives.
  2. I will attend a Wednesday night Low Mass, Lenten study (Gospel of St. Mark with Mother Askew) with soup and dinner, until Easter arrives or the series ends-whichever comes first.
  3. I will read spiritual books, which include Bible passages and attend our church’s Stations of the Cross.
  4. I plan, to attend Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday services.

Sounds like allot of religion, but how do you judge what is too much or too little when it comes to nurturing the mind and body for once in a positive way? 

Lent for me is a period of spiritual enlightenment.

This precious period within the liturgical year offers a chance to delve into the scriptures and interpretations at times with the guidance of a Mother or Father (Priests). The Old Testament invites examination of the past, acquaintance with those who became prophets, and the introduction of conceptual texts. The New Testament invites further examination on the evolvement of those texts by way of the Messiah’s short life. Psalms are re-read, sectioned off, with favourites highlighted and the “Book of Common Prayer” paged through, Collects, noted and meditated on. This process stimulates my spiritual growth and absorption, questioning and understanding begins leading to enlightenment.

Lent for me is a period of cleansing in the form of sacrifice.

Abstaining from alcohol during Lent has allowed my body to detoxify and replenish the vitamin deficiencies accumulated during the consumption of the fleeting every other night of red or white. Taken for granted within the past two years, wine was easily attainable, ready to scoff down in one night. The palette of flavours released with just the right cheese and the savoured sips of pure fermented grapes were rituals of the past. Back then, wine was purchased for celebrations or for the weekend of a particularly difficult workweek. A bottle would linger around for four days not evaporate in one.

Lent for me is a period of spiritual growth.

Lenten Study series, readings and Kindle’s array of free spiritual EBooks help saturate mi alma with wisdom, parables and lessons  of the Bible’s past now re-evaluated and applied to life lived in the now and future.  I enjoy reading scriptures as a writer and as a wanna be scholar. My analysis leads to dissecting and examining events within the scriptures.

Through a Lenten Study series conducted at the church I attend, I became aware of the relationship between Gospels, time and space. This new knowledge heightened my understanding of why situations existed, the possible mindset at the time and most importantly the conflicts that arose between a Roman government and Pharisees of a Jewish religion. Historical and cultural background information enriched my understanding of the Gospels and led to a deeper appreciation of the short life lived by Christ.

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