Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Colin my GPS.

"Please follow the highlighted route." That's what Colin, my GPS system says to me (in a British accent) as I finish plugging in where I'm going and hit the "done" button. Then, well, the fun starts.

I have lived in Southern California for over 20 years. Really. Yet, with Colin I've experienced more side roads and routes than I thought imaginable. For example: Did you know you can get to St. Mary's in Mariposa heading north on the 5 Freeway from Irvine by exiting at Garfield? Yes, you go through Vernon, the LA garment district, skirt down town (all on side streets) -- but you get to St. Mary's. Really. Honest.

When traffic looks heavy ahead, Colin will call out to me, "traffic heavy ahead -- diverting". If I decide NOT to divert with Colin, he calls out: "recalculating, recalculating, recalculating." I think sometimes I frustrate Colin. More often than not, I follow his directions. More often than not, I scratch my head as I am "diverted" into neighborhoods I've never been through, off the beaten path, into the unknown. "This can't be right" I often say to myself. Yet, Colin IS right -- he hasn't failed me yet!

I was wondering today as I was wandering from the 405 to the 5 (trying to get to the Cathedral Center from Newport Beach) when Colin "diverted" me up Studebaker over to Firestone then to Lakewood THEN to the 5 and up to the 101 -- isn't this a metaphor for our spiritual journey? The faith journey isn't a "straight shot" -- there are all SORTS of "diversions" that happen to us, taking us places we've never been and encountering areas that we SHOULD see. Our faith journey demands of us that we trust enough to follow a path that we may be unsure of -- and to know that we will make it to our next destination. And there WILL be a next destination, and a destination after that -- after all, it is a journey. It's not a once-and-forever event. We constantly change and grow, and our journey helps takes us to that next place we need to go to.

I trust Colin will get me to where I need to go. The first few times he sent me off the freeway or through areas I was unfamiliar with, I thought to myself, "what the heck?" -- I was tense. Now, I'm relaxed, knowing that I will eventually get to where I need to be. It's not always going to be a straight shot -- there will be twists and turns, but I'll get there. I just relax and listen to the current book in my cd player, and say prayers of thanksgiving as I go through new neighborhoods throughout Southern California.

Thank you, Colin! Thank you, Jesus!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Story in Stained Glass

I visited St. Mary's Mariposa the other day. I was struck by the beauty of the stained glass windows. On closer inspection, I began to notice stories from the parish history (or, rather, the people of the parish -- but that's the same thing, isn't it)....reflected in the windows.

The stained glass window that has what looks to be shields around the image of Christ praying in the Garden of Gethsemane intrigued me. I apologize for the lack of clarity in the photo -- but there are words in the shields, and images. Quoting the booklet on the windows that the people of St. Mary's produced: "(The shields) represent the Episcopal Church diocese in those states where people of Japanese ancestry were sent to internment camps -- an exodus experience:
Wyoming -- Heart Mountain
California -- Tule Lake and Manzanar
Arizona -- Gila River and Poston
Utah -- Topaz
Colorado -- Amache
Arkansas-- Rowher and Jerome
Idaho -- Minidoka

There is also the patch of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, whose slogan was 'Go for Broke'. This most decorated regiment of World War II consisted of Japanese American 'Nisei' from Hawaii and the mainland. Over 150 soldiers were from St. Mary's".

What an incredible witness to the history of the people of St. Mary's! I was also struck by the image of Snoopy of Peanuts fame in one of the windows -- it was given in remembrance of a young boy who died of a brain tumor who was visited by Fr. Yamazaki, the priest at the time at St. Mary's. The young boy had a stuffed Snoopy by his bedside all during his illness.

Talking with the clergy at St. Mary's (Richard Van Horn, Marilyn Omernick, Butch Gamarra), what became clear is that, as this congregation has been working toward calling its next rector, there is a "new" stained glass "pattern" that is developing. As the demographics around the neighborhood of this historically Japanese parish has changed, so has the mission and ministry focus of the parish. A Spanish speaking service has been started, as well as a community garden (picture of the garden top right). St. Mary's Mariposa, with its rich history, is moving to embrace who they have been and who God is calling them to be. While there is still work to do, a trip to this beautiful church is worth it -- not only does it have an interesting and unique history that is told in its windows, but it is moving out to create a new history for itself.

I wonder if we all took a look at who our neighbors are, and embraced them, what this diocese would look like? Hmmmm.....

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Back and in the swing of things

Hello there!

I thought I could spend some time writing while I was on vacation -- well, that was what I had hoped would happen, but it didn't. Instead, I spent a good amount of my afternoons making cards (the hand made ones using vintage postcards that I enjoying making) or playing scrabble with my daughter.

Many of you commented on Facebook that this hobby doesn't appear to be "relaxing" -- for many of you, it felt like "work". So, I decided my first post-vacation-post on this blog would be to "demystify" the card making process. First of all, I have attached a picture of the images I receive from the wonderful woman I have purchased these cards from for years -- she sends me a scan of the different images, and I decide if I need that kind or type of card. I purchase them through Ebay. I then purchase the appropriate card stock and envelopes from Kelly Paper, clear photo corners from Michael's, color and black and white ink cartridges for my printer (if I need them) -- and I get started! I determine the orientation (portrait or landscape) and the theme of each card (Easter, Christmas, birthday, etc.) then pull up the card settings that I had made years ago. I count the number of cards in each category and set the card stock in the printer.

While the card stock is printing, I putter around the house or in the garden. This usually occurs in the morning. When all are printed, I have them separated into piles, I put in the movie I want to see in the DVD player, sit at the kitchen table and get busy. I assemble the cards using the photo corners and postcards, fold them, slip them into an envelope and then into the appropriate boxes that will store them for the year. When I say busy, what I want you to understand is that I so enjoy making these cards -- it relaxes me. This year, when I finished my card making, I had made over 1,000 -- some of which I donated to the Cathedral Center Bookstore to sell (to benefit the bookstore). The rest I kept to send throughout the year.

While this might not seem relaxing to you, I can tell you that every time I send one of these cards (and I send many each week), it's like greeting an old friend. I often remember the card -- and sometimes even the writing on the back, if it was written on. I find the messages so amusing -- I often wonder what happened to the people who wrote the card or who received the card. Sometimes, depending on the message, I say a prayer of thanksgiving -- or a prayer of remembrance.

Whatever hobby you may have I pray that you find the end of this vacation time to be relaxing for you. I pray that you take time to rest, reflect and pray -- however that happens for you, and whatever form your way to relax and recharge takes. For me -- give me cards and a good movie. Throw in some scrabble for fun too!