I'm writing this on my new i-Mac. There's a story here--get a cup of coffee.
I got a call last week from John Maddex, CEO of Conciliar Media Ministries asking me to edit a new on-line magazine along the lines of AGAIN and Handmaiden. However, this new on-line magazine is not just a print magazine that is read on-line, rather it is a completely interactive experience compatible with several different platforms: computers, phones, i-Pad, Kindle, etc. Needless to say, I've got a huge learning curve in front of me. Through the generosity of several friends I have been able to purchase an I-Mac (almost all publishing and design is done on Macs) to replace my six-year old PC and the necessary software to create and publish magazines.
All of this took place Wednesday through Friday last week. Sunday afternoon, I was off to Holy Transfiguration Hermitage for a few days of quiet. It was a blessed three days. Please pray for Fr. Gregory, his stomach is a mess. He can eat very little (one cup of rice, a (very) few stewed vegetables and a little bit of pealed apple once a day--that's it, and even this immediately causes him to have diarrhoea). He is in constant pain. And in spite of this, as usual, Fr. Gregory was full of joy and words of life and encouragement. And as usual, he both encouraged me, challenged me and made me feel loved, valuable and safe in God's care. None of the problems went away. I am no more confident nor certain about anything (except God's great love and care for his wandering creatures).
We spoke quite a bit about guardian angels. Fr. Gregory is particularly close to and aware of his guardian angel. He said that at baptism, everyone is given a guardian angel. Then he said that those who have not received the Grace and Seal of Holy Baptism and Chrismation have two guardian angels. They need them more, and because of God's great love, he grants them. May God grant me to love all mankind so as to give more to those who need more.
I came back from the retreat Wednesday and quickly got caught up again in the Conciliar Media project. Right now I am on the Mac learning curve. I start the Adobe Photoshop learning curve this afternoon. Then I've got to learn the basics of Adobe Illustrator before Wednesday night of Bright week (April 7) when I begin the Adobe InDesign course at UFV. Lord Have Mercy!
Bonnie says she hasn't seen me happier in a long time. It's funny. I'm happy when I have to learn stuff.
Of course the down side of this is my inner life does not get much attention. Actually, Fr. Gregory talked to me a little about this too. He gently rebuked me for separating myself into spiritual and other parts. I must take Christ in my heart into Adobe software training. My mind must stay in my heart--full of peace--even while my mind is solving problems and learning, memorizing and exploring new worlds. I still get up early (not too early) and say my prayers, but then I get to work, bringing my prayers with me.
On another front, we have taken the house off the market. Bonnie is rejoicing exceedingly. The garden is in and peas are growing, tomatoes are started in the house, and we are already eating lettuce. The ducks love her and follow her around the yard. This year we have a mating pair of Northern Shovel Nose ducks along with a mating pair of Call ducks that we picked up from our neighbour's green house (they use call ducks in greenhouses to eat slugs and miscellaneous bugs). This is in addition to a pair of Canadian Geese (which the dogs are trained to chase off the lawn--but not the ducks [smart dogs, eh?]), and about four other species of water fowl not counting the ever present Mallards.
This Lent has been a tough one for me. I haven't blogged much mostly because I have had nothing to say. It seems like I have gone through a season in which my heart has been full, but my head empty (some may ask, only a season?). Holy Nativity has to be out of the Barn by the end of April. We may have things set up to move into the old St. Nicholas Church building, but it is by no means a done deal. Much of my energy over the past couple of month has been caught up in trying to figure out where we are going to move and, more importantly, how to keep my mind in my heart even when I have no idea where Holy Nativity will worship on May 2.
O yes (O Canada!), I forgot to mention, Bonnie and I became Canadian citizens two weeks ago. We do not lose our U.S. citizenship, but we are Canadians now too. We love our new home and our new country and we hope to spend the rest of our lives at Holy Nativity. I want to send one of our altar boys to seminary and have him come back and take over the parish with me as the old emeritus priest sitting on the side. That's my dream.
Wow, when you look at it all, there has been quite a bit going on (lots of other little stuff too that I haven't mentioned like helping out some friends with writing projects, plumbing, painting, and loving and leading the blessed faithful of Holy Nativity.
I thank God that He has given me such a life. By your prayers, I may just make it to the end in one piece (and in one peace).