There is a line in a hymn, I think it’s sung at funerals or as they’re called in the Catholic church, Mass of Christian Burial. It goes, “from death into life.”
I began attending this celebration of life by accident in one of my early days of attending Mass. I was there, and I couldn’t leave without drawing unnecessary attention to myself, so I remained, hidden in plain sight, in one of the back pews, wishing I was invisible, feeling as though I didn’t belong in such an intimate family gathering. I was, however, wrong – this mass invites the community members, the congregation; to be in communion with the family, to send their loved one on their next journey. I followed the program, I sang along, I prayed, and I found something in that service. I think my first funeral service was for a woman named Dottie. I still have her program in my church papers that I’ve collected and saved.
After that first time, I continued to go to the Rite of Christian Burial when it occurred during the daily mass time. I almost never knew until I arrived at church, and after one or two more, I found great comfort in this Mass.
But I still didn’t get it – that death into life bit.
I could never understand that phrase. How can you go from death into life?
It wasn’t until after my spiritual conversion, and after passing this tree, always on my way to my writing workshop.
On the way to the library, I passed the church adjacent to this tree, and the cemetery that surrounds this tree, and one spring day it was gloriously sunny and bright, and the green leaves had sprouted and grown.
I could see them bright against the white of the siding on the church building; this delicate new growth rising from the fallen tree, its life long thought buried and gone.
This was when I could grasp death into life, life from death, the infinite from finite, everlasting life from our journey on earth.
Now, when I sing the hymn, I picture this tree when I sing death into life.
Well, it’s that time of year again. Nanowrimo. NAtional NOvel WRiting MOnth. Every November, several hundreds of potential writers huddle around their writing implements and write. The goal is 50,000 words before November 30th. All new. Begin writing on November 1st, put your pencils (quills or keyboards) down, time’s up on November 30th and you should have the makings of a real novel, ready for the editing process.
This works for some people. I’ve done it twice officially, and for the first two weeks, I went like gangbusters. Eventually, I slowed down, but we all have our paces and our non-writing lives to put up with. In my case, I have a family with three children and my blog and church responsibilities, and even with an extraordinary amount of help from my husband, it can still be a handful to get the incentive to just sit down and write.
Hence, why today I am at the library where there is no television and no bag of Doritos calling my name.
I hesitate to sign up for Nanowrimo officially this year. One of the benefits of signing up are the weekly emails I would get from published writers with their own versions of hang in there. They are less intimidating and more inspiring and some days that’s all you need to get on the writing train.
My Nanowrimo this year is me working two times a week on my books. I have one on my home buying experience – very bad, and one on my visit to Wales and what Wales is to me – very good. Guess which one I’d rather work on? This fall, beginning this month, I’m going to carve out periods of my day where all I do are those two books. Thoughts, outlines, quotations, research. Some of that I may share here as book excerpts.
Another goal for November is to redesign my weekly format here. For example, I think I’m going to make Thursday Travels a regular weekly feature. I am going to have weekly features M-F, possibly adding odds and ends on the weekend. Please, please let me know what you like and how you feel about the format. If you’re not reading, I’m not doing my job, ad I’m willing to accept feedback and suggestions to make this site better.
Vocabulary is something else. You may notice that I usually refer to this as a site rather than a blog. I’m more comfortable in this Word Press format, but I’m trying to make this more of a website, a go-to place. I try to have pages for information and topics like my Crisis Intervention Page, my Photo Credits page, and a new page I’m opening up for my Books Read and Movies Watched. There are many things I want to do with my time here, and one of those is becoming a resource. After years of people coming to me to find out where kids eat free or how to make that smiley face on a text, I think I might create that kind of a resource here, especially for the things that I love and that I love to share like traveling, my spiritual journey and writing.
I’m also including more of my own photographs as well.
This fall season has been phenomenal for family viewing and fandom communion (in a non-religious sense). My two main shows, The Walking Dead and Supernatural are in supreme shape. I’m loving every episode and I have meta coming out of my ears. This will benefit those of you who like the fandom posts. I will probably add a weekly fandom feature, possibly more than once a week if the shows warrant it. I’m also working on some reviews of those lesser known shows like iZombie and Major Crimes. If you love fandom stuff or don’t like it as much as me, I still want to know how you feel so I can include all my readers into the most posts.
All in all, I’m hoping to make a site that people enjoy coming to and sharing.
In the United States, today is Election Day. Every citizen, upon turning 18 before Election Day can register to vote in their state. That means that you can vote in school board elections and for school budgets, for local government, state government, federal government, and for the President of the United States (every four years).
If you don’t register, you don’t vote.
If you won’t be in your home district on Election Day, you can request an absentee ballot. College students, disabled people, and the elderly and military personnel often use this. It is up to your state what your qualifications are for the absentee ballot.
Whether you believe it or not, every vote counts. Sitting out an election is the equivalent of voting for the other person.
Simply put, if you don’t vote, don’t complain. Legally, that’s not true – you still retain your first amendment right to say whatever you want about voting or anything else. But it’s not that simple.
If you don’t want to register to vote because you’re afraid that it will put you on the list for jury duty, don’t worry. The courts get your name for jury duty from the DMV. You drive, you’re in the jury pool.
Voting is more than a right. It is a privilege.
It is how we get things done in this country. If we want change, we need to make it happen.
If you feel that your voting isn’t doing enough, get involved in other ways,. Work on a campaign. Work in local areas to make your own community better. Educate yourself on the issues. Do not let the media and talking points (anyone’s talking points) give you the only information on a subject. Research.
The one thing you shouldn’t do is not vote.
GET OUT THE VOTE!
We all walk in the path of the saints.
– FJ – my priest this morning in his homily
The souls of the just are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them.
They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead; and their passing away was thought an affliction and their going forth from us, utter destruction.
But they are in peace.
For if before men, indeed, they be punished, yet is their hope full of immortality; chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed, because God tried them and found them worthy of himself.
As gold in the furnace, he proved them, and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself.
In the time of their visitation they shall shine, and shall dart about as sparks through stubble; they shall judge nations and rule over peoples, and the Lord shall be their King forever.
Those who trust in him shall understand truth, and the faithful shall abide with him in love: because grace and mercy are with his holy ones, and his care is with his elect.
This is a perfect explanation, written in terms that anyone can understand, including me. I get confused on some of the holidays and holy days and Father Martin as a relaxed, down-to-earth way of telling it without losing the true spiritual meaning.
No matter how much we already know, we are always still learning, and Father Martin is an excellent teacher.
Why Do We Celebrate All Souls’ Day? (On Father Martin’s Facebook)