Today’s first reading starts with what is perhaps the best line ever. .. “O stupid Galatians.” Followed by a whole lot of, “Don’t you get it?” (Galatians 3:1-5).
Well, no, we don’t really get it, or sometimes it seems. I spent this morning reading and praying with the news of the day. War. Inaction in the face of economic disparity and rampant disease. With a dash of fascination with polite protestors.
Then, if I am honest, I have to ask myself, do I get it? Or should the scripture read, “O stupid Susan”? Sometime my friends, sometimes.
After praying with the news over my cup of tea, I decided to go for a walk to the new-to-me Japanese garden I discovered last week before heading to the library.
I found myself in the company of graceful geese, swimming in the water … and then … taking flight!
And that it seems is the call. Clear as the call of the geese over head, honking. I remember reading years ago that one image of the Holy Spirit from Celtic spirituality is the honking goose. I usually think of that as the Spirit annoying me into action!
But this morning, I understood it in a different way. The geese I saw this morning, gently swimming in the pond, knew when it was time to take flight, to be about their purpose. The Spirit is not about staying still in safe calm waters. It is about movement and taking flight.
So is the world a mess? Yes. Can we fix it? Not alone. But maybe, just maybe, inspired and nourished by the love of God we can move forward together, take flight, and see what happens.
I have lived in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood for over two years now. And yet, somehow, I never managed to discover the hidden gem of the Osaka Garden in Jackson Park until today!
Normally when I go for a walk, I walk to Lake Michigan. Today was a bit cooler, overcast, with a drizzle or two, so I decided to go walk among the trees in Jackson Park. That, my friends, is when I discovered this:
It’s not the biggest Japanese style garden in the world. It is certainly much smaller than the Portland or Seattle Japanese gardens, and not quite as technically classical in style (from my limited knowledge as a former member of the Portland gardens). Neverthless, it is a gem. Lovely, peaceful, and historic, given that the first Japanese garden was established in the park when it was the sight of the 1893 World’s Fair!
And it’s free to visit. So, after my discovery, I stayed for a while to meditate. After all, in my opinion that is the best thing to do in a Japanese garden. After a while, I got up to leave, and guess who I saw?
Do you see my feathered friend? Here is a closer shot:
Amazing, huh? If I had asked my feathered friend to pose for a photo, it could not have been better. Wow.
All in all, it was a beautiful, prayerful morning walk. And guess what? It’s less than a mile from my house. Has been the whole time I’ve lived here, but now I know!
Who knows what you might discover in your neighborhood?
A few folks have asked about the photo that inspired the name for my new blog. I’ve discussed this a bit in the “about” section, but given that most folks won’t spend a lot of time poking around my new blog, I thought I might as well make the photo the topic of today’s blog post. The short answer is, yes it is an actual photo that I took a few years ago on a trip to the town of Wenatchee, Washington which is east of the Cascades in the central part of the state.
I had never been to Wenatchee before, a town with a rich history that includes the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace. In 1916 the Sisters were invited by Bishop O’Dea of Seattle to take over the Wenatchee General Hospital, which they ran as St. Anthony’s Hospital until the 1970s. Many of my favorite CSJP Sisters ministered at the hospital, including my friend Sister Monica who started there as a young Sister in the 1950s as a bookkeeper before becoming and RN, a hospital administrator, and eventually CEO of our health system.
Given our rich history there, I took the opportunity of giving a presentation at a parish in Central Washington as an opportunity to make a sort of pilgrimage. I visited the site of the original hospital (now a home for disabled adults). I also visited St. Joseph School, which was started by our Sisters in the 1950s. The last CSJP left the school in the 1980s, but my friend Sister Tonia stayed on in Wenatchee working with the diocese until a few years ago.
Now we get to the part of the story you have been waiting for … the discovery of the corner of Susan Place and St. Joseph Place. After parking near St. Joseph’s school and walking around, I returned to my car and discovered that this was where I had parked! The synchronicity of the moment struck me then, and the picture I took that day has given me many opportunities to contemplate in deep gratitude this wonderful adventure God has invited me to participate in.
When I was thinking of a name for this new blog to mark the beginning of a new adventure, the picture naturally came to me as perfectly capturing this moment and the many blessings in my life as Sister Susan, a Sister of St. Joseph of Peace.
Really, I can’t think of a better place to be than at the corner of Susan and St. Joseph, pursuing social justice as a path to peace.