“But I through the greatness of your love have access to your house. I bow down before your holy temple, filled with awe.” Psalm 5:7.
“Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.” John 14: 23.
Last Friday I celebrated 33 years of sobriety.
Saturday I hosted the first of a new eight-week Writing Workshop.
Sunday was Mother’s Day.
I “went” to 10 a.m. Mass at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Santa Barbara. This is the beauty of live-streaming: you can jump about and go to Mass, such as it is, where you like.
I’ve only been to this place twice (online; I know I’ve attended at least one Mass there in real life) but I like everything about it: The priests; the mission-style Church with its tin candle sconces, bultos, and stucco walls painted with angels; the cantor, a “normal” guy in a polo shirt who isn’t auditioning for “American Idol” but has feeling and a voice that’s from love. I especially loved at the end when he said, “Happy Mother’s Day to my own mother who I’m sure I drive crazy, and to all our mothers, who we probably all drive crazy.” Amen.
After that I walked the mile or so up to St. Elizabeth of Hungary, which has a Mary grotto in back and a nice shaded area beside it with trees and a fountain and the Stations of the Cross. I sat by the fountain and prayed a Rosary, and then the Stations.
In the midst of life are the seeds of death and in death are the seeds of life. It’s full on spring here in LA, with roses and everything else in glorious bloom, trees wildly leafing out, and the weather, yesterday at least, perfect. Truly, heaven must be like this: 74 degrees, with a balmy breeze, the scent of jasmine and honeysuckle, mountains shimmering in the distance.
And in another five weeks, we’ll have the summer solstice and already, the days will begin to get shorter–just like they started getting longer just before Christmas, in the dead of winter.
The writing workshop had filled me with an also wild joy: That I can help mother forth people’s stories, many of them held in, till now because of fear or other duties or shame. That I’ve been sufficiently (not totally by any means, but sufficiently) healed from my own massive wounds to be able to host such a gathering. That at long last I can bring not just my capacity to “teach writing,” but my whole self, that’s been formed and annealed by those two great disciplinarians: suffering and love.
Last night from my bed I texted my downstairs neighbor who, unusually, I hadn’t seen all day, to wish her a Happy Mother’s Day.
She’s a wonderful human being, an artist, a wife, an incredibly nurturing mother of a two-year-old daughter. She texted back and said, “Happy Mother’s Day to you, too. I often think of you as the mother of the compound and feel at peace knowing you are around.”
You know how every once in a great while you think, “If I died right this second, it would be okay. I would die happy”?
That was one such moment.
Happy Mother’s Day to all of you.