Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Recent Conversation

over the phone, with one of my "almost-sisters," Sharon:

Me: That's it! I'm giving up. I can't look in someone's direction without cursing the situation. This is the last time. The end. I've given up. There it is. Give up. Gone. I'll just let God take care of it from now on.

Sharon: {gasp} And live in peace and happiness that only He can give?!

Me: I know. Pretty scary. I don't know if I'll be able to handle it.

Sharon: It could get kind of rough, all that peace.

Me: I'll be sure to keep my eyes open for it. Maybe I'll succeed in ducking again!

Sharon: Be strong; you can handle it!

Me: Yeah, maybe for about three weeks, until I decide to mess it all up again.

Filed under "more light-hearted talks" regarding Vocational Discernment.

Language Speaks

I recently received an email from an old friend from the Philippines (who's been working in Saudi Arabia):

How are you doing?
In less than 2 months time, I’m going home. I’m so excited. Bye the way, Gemma (his wife) and I would be having a baby boy. We named him Elijah Jo Ameer.
How’s life going on? Your studies? Keep do in touch..
Regards and GOD Bless.

There are a few grammatical errors. Translating verb tenses can sometimes be tricky. I remember Filipino classmates having some difficulty distinguishing "will" from "would"--nevermind the combinations of "If it were to rain, I would wear a hat" versus "If it rains, I will wear a hat."

We named him Elijah Jo Ameer. This sentence is not an error. Gemma has not yet given birth to the child. But they named him.

It has an unassuming tone, but what it says is not a common assumption. Yes, of course, the child is alive. We know the gender. Why not give him a name now? It hit me as I read the email how we use our language. Maybe it's innocent. Maybe because knowledge of the baby's gender is still a relatively new thing, it's taken for granted that names are given at birth.

But it's something to think about.

Monday, August 15, 2005

A Tribute to Sisters

I have plenty of sisters. Four, to be exact. And I can call on any of them, at any time. They're available. Generally, though, I say different things to each.

I call my older sister when I want to chat, share or hear the latest news, enjoy the funniest "out of the mouths of babes" stories ever, or bounce off what I think about what she thinks about what Mom thinks about what Erin thinks about this or that going on. Although we're both past college days, both "adults," she'll always be my big sister. Her wisdom is beyond mine, but still fresh enough to reach my understanding. Somehow she manages to span the gap between husband-and-five-kids and single-going-through-grad-school with an ease and grace that makes it unremarkable. And her children are the most beautiful creatures on the planet.

I call my younger sister when I want to chat, hear what she's doing, hear what mutual friends are doing, hear her latest theory on [insert any fascinating topic here, ranging from deck spiders to fashion trends]. Or I call her when I need to vent and complain. This last reason has something to do with the 3-hour time difference, coupled with my frequent need for emotional support after dark. It has more to do, though, with my darling sister's talent for wholly and completely commiserating, while throwing any situation into blunt perspective with a wild toss of analogies and one-liners! When telling her my woes, I can count on my feelings being understood and upheld. I can also count on a clear frame of reference in which to insert my particular grumblings, just in case I want to see the whole picture.

My youngest sisters are not usually targets of my phonecalls, but they nevertheless will answer the phone at home. The older of the two would chat forever--she's full of hope and excitement and wide-eyed daydreams about everything. Her enthusiasm spans all that life has to offer, while still filtering through the details of existence to embrace the latest Nora Jones album. She trusts that the world will give her bouquets of roses, and at the same time, fears that the world will betray her trust. Her carefree matter-of-fact attitude masks her fragile sensitivity. I want to get lost in her smiling eyes and clapping hands; at the same time, I want to comb down her excitement and hide it from anyone who would see, in order to save her from any disappointment.

The youngest does not find her fulfillment in small talk. We attempt to exchange niceties, but we can't get far enough to float beyond them before her impatience bursts, "Um, do you want to talk to Mom?" However, when I come home, this one will join me in a run on our mountain trail, or stay up late and watch a "chick flick." She'll regard my petty frustrations with an aloof disinterest, but her out-of-context hugs are always free and warm. She makes outsiders compete for her regard, but she asks me wake her in the wee hours of the morning to say goodbye. Her family is the source of bossy orders directed at her as the youngest. But she misses anyone who's gone, and has suffered no loss of spinal column.

There must be so many unspoken memories we unknowingly share--memories that belong to us alone, because we're sisters. The Lord gave us all to the same family, and that family backdrop supported such different characters. But there's something that still holds us close to one another, no matter how different we are individually.

A mutual friend said once of Erin and me, "People who see both of you can tell that you're sisters. People who know both of you don't see how you can be sisters. People who really see inside each of you understand that you must be sisters."

I wonder if that's true for all five of us.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Forgot to Mention...

One of the highlights of my time here in Lexington:

I was able to see Fr. Francis Mary at the local Theology on Tap. It was great; there were a lot of people there, but I got to speak to him. We have a common acquaintence in a TAC grad who will be starting formation to join the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word this fall. "Very bright guy," Fr. Francis Mary commented when I mentioned his name. "I look forward to his coming down to Alabama."

Now I just need to get the necessary equipment to get the picture on my camera onto my computer!

Last Hurrah

My Final Week in Kentucky approaches.

I am at once eager to see old familiar faces--especially family--and sad to leave the dynamic of energetic, creative physical therapy that I've been exposed to here.

I'm interviewing with the director of PT at the hospital before I go. It's only a "mock interview," but there was something about the way the program manager asked me to set it up. And something about the director rearranging her schedule to accommodate the "learning experience." I have 2 more years until I graduate. But I guess it's good to get my name "on file!"
Makes me wonder.... Could I live here?

Not sure about that one, she murmured sceptically.

Have you ever...

...seen a movie that had good parts to it, but enough *insert objectionable material here* in it that you couldn't really recommend it in good conscience?

I'm sure everyone has.

Let me just express my frustration.

Thank you.

Monday, August 08, 2005


Nothing hurts. I barely know what is happening. All of a sudden I'm sitting up in the bed, cuddling a warm bundle of white blanket, squinting eyes, and puckered lips. She's beautiful. I don't want to agitate her, but my heart is beating so fast. I am so happy, "stuck" in this moment, but not looking for escape.

I am at home, carefully giving her a bath--slowly, thoughtfully, watching her every move. I feel her fragile head resting on my forearm, and notice how tiny her neck is. The water moves in circles, gently licking her cotton-soft skin. Her eyes are watching me, and then my heart stops in wonder as she lets out a soft coo and wrinkles her eyes; her hands come to her cheeks, and as they pull back, I see her smile.
As I wrap her in the towel, I feel her, warm against my chest. I gather her arms and legs together and snuggle her in a protective embrace.

"What have you named her?" my father asks at the kitchen table.

I forget for a moment. I have been planning her name for so long, in order to match her perfect prettiness. She has already assumed her name in my heart, but what that is, I cannot remember.

"Starts with an M," I whisper.

"Maraiah?" Dad suggests.

"No, that's not it."
I'm thinking hard...there is an A...

I finally answer: "Moira."
Followed by a moment of doubt, "Or Maura?"

"No," Dad answers. "Moira is better."

I agree. That is her name. I look at her. She is looking at me. I immediately decide not to go back to school in the fall. How could I leave? I need to stay home to protect and care for this fragile human being. Who cares that I have come this many years plus a clinical rotation? What does that matter against this tiny life that needs me? I wonder how I will mention my decision to Dad.

I am temporarily wrenched from my warm cuddling closeness to turn - off - my - alarm - clock - oh - no - ! - I - can't - go - back - and - she's - not - real --

It's the most vivid dream I've had in a while.
This entire day, I kept thinking about the feeling of holding her, warm and close next to my heart.