Springtime in New York

(Photos accompanied by a spring vacation meditation.)

Yes, Lord, I am tired of running the show – and tired of running. This has been a particularly long stretch. I can’t say I didn’t enjoy some of it, but how much better everything would be with you. I miss you.

I want to be led – not driven. Please take me. I want to hold your hand. To slow down. To stop. To be still. To be within. To stop the noise and be quiet. I am finally alone with you. I am letting go of my agenda. I surrender. I know that your peace will come. I am yours now. I will do whatever you tell me. Your mother has helped me. Bobby and I prayed the rosary. She took my hands and brought me to you. Thank you, Mary.

There was Easter prep… shopping, cleaning, services, time with family. Vacation planning, a tennis match, a movie. Rushing… Gilmore Girls with Mom, cleaning, shopping for food, TV shows, a shop til you drop day. Preparing for the trip – laundry, cleaning, fixing broken pipes. Trying to make the house perfect. There was anxiety about leaving and coming. Anxiety about being late or early. I took everything into my own hands, and pushed to the limits. I ignored my feelings and my body. I could do more – sleep less – running on empty – running away from the silence. Wanting to control…

Something?? It’s OK. I’m just a human. I do what I don’t want to do – and don’t do what I truly want. I want my way and that will not make me happy. And I run from what will. I don’t need to figure anything out. Only to sit with you and be in your presence. Love you and others and myself. I am a sweet little human. Glad to have you save me Lord. I need you…

We was like peas and carrots again. I was blessed to attend Masses on Saturday and Sunday. And on Sunday afternoon, I walked in pleasant awareness that I was not alone, and not in charge. I walked through Brooklyn, across the Manhattan Bridge, around Chinatown, and back over the Brooklyn Bridge. There was no rush. It was a beautiful mixture of nature and architecture that seemed to be just for me to enjoy. I’ve read that spring is a season of renewal. Yeah, I’d agree with that.

Slow Paced

Today I’m doing things I like to do that I rarely make time for, such as giving myself a pedicure and playing double solitaire. (You could add blogging in there too.)

Being a low maintenance person who rarely wears make-up, has not had my fingernails painted in almost twenty years, and has never plucked an eyebrow, you’d think I wouldn’t enjoy pedicures. On the contrary, they are the best sort of pampering. With the clipping, exfoliating, and soaking in warm water, they are both practical and pleasurable. Very satisfying. And if the nails are painted, they need no more attention for months.

As for double solitaire, I always appreciated the uncountable hours my grandparents spent playing cards with me when I was younger. It was the slow paced quality time that enabled me to talk freely and be myself. It helped me feel close to them. I asked for and received two brand new decks of playing cards for Christmas (with the intention of using them with my children.) I didn’t open them up until last night. Let me back up a bit.

I came to New York City with Bob this week mainly to put together a new TV stand while he was at work. I decided to make my ten year old, Mary, come with us. I wanted to spend some time alone with her. So yesterday, besides building the TV stand, we played Sleeping Queens, Lion King Uno, and you guessed it, double solitaire. And she even helped me get an app called Game Pigeon to play more games. I’m enjoying being with Mary and holding her hand as we walk through unfamiliar neighborhoods with her stuffed dog Dandee.

There’s a church nearby that has a 12:05 Mass. Yesterday we attended but left right before Adoration to come home to eat lunch. Today, a thunderstorm at the end of Mass encouraged us to linger longer, which I appreciated.

Back at the apartment, I put on a “Spa Day” playlist and gave Mary a pedicure while she played games on her iPad with a friend from home. I felt like a professional, but my nail painting needs practice. Then I gave myself a pedicure and wrote this post as I took breaks. The music and the being still has put me in a very relaxed state that I highly recommend.

Slow Down and Listen

Billy Joel is one of my favorite musicians. Vienna is one of my favorite Billy Joel songs. It popped into my head as I sat down to write this post. It begins…

Slow down, you crazy child
You're so ambitious for a juvenile
But then if you're so smart, well, tell me
Why are you still so afraid? Mm
Where's the fire, what's the hurry about?
You'd better cool it off before you burn it out
You've got so much to do
And only so many hours in a day

“Slow down” seems to be the theme of this blog, and maybe of my life. I often come here to ponder “aloud” my desires to be simple. To remind myself of what’s really important, which is doing God’s will and not my own. And slowing down seems to be the only way that I can hear my Lord. The noise of constant busyness drowns him out for me. I keep cycling between feeling close to Him, then doing too much work or socializing and not spending enough time with Him, and then feeling burnt out and disconnected. I’m learning that I love getting things done, I try to please others, and I tire easily. I seem to be married to the Energizer Bunny, and my life would most certainly be more boring without him. And I have six children and relationships with family and friends. I wonder if God has given me the gifts He has given me to continuously show me how much I need Him. Maybe I just need to keep practicing putting first things first.

So the details are, that I am recovering from two days of shopping, cleaning, triple birthday party prep and hosting. And that was after two weeks of traveling to and from New York City, including shopping, packing, and moving into our new apartment there. Yes, we have an apartment in NYC, and a home in Western Massachusetts. I don’t think I can call myself an aspiring minimalist anymore.

My husband will be commuting there for work. I have been helping to set up and furnish the place. It’s a big change happening in our lives, which means I really need to rely on God. And I need to not look into the unknown future, but to stay in the present moment, where He is with me. I need to slow down and listen.

I hear myself breathing. I try to drop all my worries and trust Him. He takes care of all always. I need to reject the illusion that I am in charge. I do not even want to be in charge. I will bring Him everything and let Him decide what the outcome will be.

Nothing needs to be done but what He asks me to do. I do not need to do things for Him to love me. My existence is enough. Every part of me, body and soul. There is not anything that I can do that will stop His love for me. And He tells me that when I am weak, He is strong. All my strength comes from Him alone. I don’t even think I can surrender without Him. His grace seems make it happen.

He tells me to enjoy the gift. He means of His Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament, which I feel privileged to enjoy. But I think I should enjoy all the gifts. I have so much to be grateful for.