Saturday, January 12, 2013

On Pancakes, the Human Person and Prayers for A Perplexed Reader

 Three small things happened this afternoon that provoked me into thinking, yet again, about why we're gifted with time on this planet.

 I woke up late, really late today. Well past noon. My husband and son are at middle school basketball practice. The coach asked Greg to help out. Our son is the point guard. I vaguely heard them leave about 11, then went back to sleep.

I woke about an hour later to the smell of something cooking in the kitchen. I plodded downstairs and discovered our 16 year old, who also rose late, was preparing pancakes. He had added peanut butter and bananas to the batter. He offered me some. As I settled into the sofa to eat and to catch up on my reading I thought: Who brought this young man to us?

Christ of course.

One blog I read is Jen Fulwiler's Conversion Diary. Today Jen, an atheist-to-Christian convert, writes about what she has discovered during a hospital stay.  Today she turns 36. She is pregnant with her sixth child and she has a potentially fatal condition: pulmonary embolisms. She wrote a reflection from her hospital bed.

"It’s all about the human person.
I’ve come to see the radically freeing truth that our plans only matter to the extent that they’re ordered toward deeper intimacy with individual people. What makes this truth so freeing about it is that, if your ultimate goal is to make the world a little brighter of a place by touching one person at a time, you can do that under any circumstances. You can live a life ordered toward human intimacy as a jet-setting movie star or as an invalid confined to a hospital bed; whether you find yourself surrounded by Hollywood directors or the nurses on night shift, you will always find yourself surrounded by people in need of love."

Our Holy Father says it this way: "Everything, every relationship, every joy and every difficulty, finds its ultimate reason in being an opportunity for a relationship with the Infinite, God's voice that continually calls us and invites us to look up, to discover in adherence to Him the complete fulfillment of our humanity."

This is a lesson I have learned and relearned for years. Through our own hardships, and brushes with mortality. Plans are great, but in the end, plans are illusions. What matters is the present moment, in understanding that the reality in front of us is a sign of the One who made us.

So then, I checked out my blogger page. I saw a comment was awaiting moderation. I was excited. I get so few comments in this space.

Anonymous wrote: "god doesn't exist."  My first thought was that the fact this human can think and write and express thoughts is proof positive of the existence of the Divine. And then I thought: what a lonely place to be.

It turns out that about 3:30 yesterday afternoon in Hong Kong, someone came onto my site from a link of the Association of Catholic Women Bloggers and into the post called "Teaching To Kill a Mockingbird to a New Generation of Americans."

That post, as it turns out, doesn't mention God in an explicit way. It talks about the beauty I experience each year in teaching Harper Lee's novel to the immigrants and the children of immigrants at the public high school where I work.  Actually, I am in the middle of teaching it right now and I am moved, deeply moved by their responses to the injustices in the novel. I have explained more than once that the book is a work of fiction, but the characters have become so real to them over the course of our reading that they think of them as their brothers and sisters and neighbors.

One of my students is so worried about what will happen to Mayella, the woman who falsely accused Tom Robinson, a black man, of rape. She lives with her alcoholic, violent and sexually abusive father. What will happen to her? He asks me. Can the police take her father away?

Another student wants to know what I think will happen in the life of Helen Robinson and her three children. Her husband Tom is killed toward the novel's end. How will she manage to support herself?

Their questions come from their hearts, hearts that were summoned into being to occupy a place and time on earth.

It saddens me to think my reader in Hong Kong has not yet understood what links one human heart to another.  I am thinking about all the effort it took to find the first website, and then mine, and then to leave the comment, which feels more like a cry of distress than anything else. I can't bring myself to delete the comment. But I haven't published it, either.

I ask you to pray for this person, this person in need of love. While you're at it, pray for all of us, that each day we see the world is sign, as revelation pointing to a greater reality.


  1. His recipe sounded quite good actually....our 17 year old makes us proud!
    I'm so thankful he gets ready for church every Sunday with out complaint.....
    Have a lovely weekend, Heidi

    1. It is such a privilege to watch our children unfold into the adults they were destined to be. Thanks for stopping by and for commenting Heidi.