February 16, 2013- Saturday after Ash Wednesday


I know a lot of stuff. I know it is still February and I know that Lent is in full swing and I know that the catchers and pitchers for the Giants have already reported to Spring training in Arizona. I know all of this because the lull between the Superbowl and baseball has me “leaning forward” a bit. First game of Spring Training is February 23rd against the Angels and then we’re off and running, the fun begins. Since the Warriors introduced their new game jerseys (you know, the ones that look like t-shirts) I have been looking forward to the “real” sport, baseball. I also know it’s Winter and all, but the promise of Spring and the crack of the bat warms the air here on the Peninsula. Yesterday the temperature was in the 70’s and a perfect day for a game. I will wait patiently until the official start of baseball season and the race to the World Series 2013, but not for too long.

Speaking of waiting and stuff, today is the Saturday before the first Sunday in Lent. Do you ever have those days when you think you are useless? Some days I think I cannot do anything worthwhile. Of course I am measuring myself against some standards that are dubious. Usually these are external standards, ads on TV, what the people across the street in Atherton are driving these days or snippets of conversation that I hear around me or where I think I should be, now, at this point in my life. I see as man sees not as God sees. I forget this fact…a lot. So what do I have going for me after 40+ years in the classroom, 4 kids and 5 grand kids? Social Security and Medicare, a house we left behind in Pacifica, an apartment on El Camino Real in Menlo Park, a CRV with a dent on the passenger side of the car , teh woman I married over 30 years ago and, of course, my health. I have met wealthy people through my high school teaching career and even in my present location. I don’t think I would want to change place with them. I still want to have fun in my job teaching English to immigrants, and I still do. I still like to watch a former 49er superstar run by my balcony most mornings as I sit and watch the traffic go by before going to teach, and I do. So what am I complaining about? What ifs? That can cause migraines. Being Irish, I “what if” myself into a funk.

Today’s quote comes from Paul VI:

God destined the earth and all it contains
for all peoples and nations so that
all created things would be shared fairly
by all humankind under the guidance
of justice tempered by charity

(Constitution on the Church in the Modern World. #69)

What I really need to do is measure myself on how I treat other people daily. Am I compassionate? Am I insightful? Do I value the “other” enough today? Ignatius Loyola introduced the Examen as a way of daily reflection. Taking time out of my day for a few minutes to ask myself, where did I see Jesus today? How did I act? How can I do better tomorrow? Simple questions with profound calls to action. Sometimes I think it is courageous calls to action. So Lent for me is doing not being it is doing. Love is shown in actions not just words. Hows that going? Perfection is a myth and it is a standard that should guide, not rule. There is wisdom in knowing that sometimes my actions are “good enough.” But the key is “do it.” Sometimes I hit the “mark” but I always know I can do better tomorrow.

and so it goes…

A little song, a little dance, a little coffee down your pants... 40 years in the high school classroom and now on my own. A chance to think about stuff and how it affects everyone, not just me. Now residing in Oregon volunteering for a refugee organization.

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