Tag Archives: prayer

Ya’aburnee.. you bury me.

Ya’aburnee.. you bury me.

Sittee and Bobby Blur2

I was quite saddened when I read about Vice President Joe Biden’s 42 year old son, Beau, who just died of a brain tumor. This poor man has been through more trajedy than one could imagine.  First losing his wife and infant daughter in a car accident with his two small sons fighting for their lives.  Then years later having one of them succumb to cancer after not only surviving but also thriving with an enviable life, a successful career as an attorney and a fulfilling marriage with two beautiful young children.

Fate is twisted.

Ya’aburnee means “you bury me” in Arabic.  It means wanting to die before a loved one so as not to have to face the world without him or her in it.

This was the prayer on my mother’s lips when she received the news that my brother, Bobby, at age of 31, had been diagnosed with a brain tumor.  “Let it be me.  Not you.”

She fought for her third son from the very beginning.  He was born premature weighing only four pounds.  Just big enough to fit in a shoe box.  In school he was the class clown and the ring leader among his friends, often getting into trouble with Sr. Dolores, the principal at St.Philip Neri, in our small town of Compton.  He would lead kids twice his size around the neighborhood, looking for mischief.  He teased  me endlessly about being chubby and offered to pay my membership to Vic Tanny’s Salon.

After nine years of Catholic school Bobby  begged to be set free to attend the local public high school where most of his friends went.  He was a rebel.  A contrarian.  A master of debate.  How he convinced our ultra- Catholic parents to transfer him to public school remains a mystery to us all.

Years later while waiting to be accepted into Law School after earning a degree in Psychology from Loyola Marymount University and a Masters Degree in Political Science at American University, he would bide his time sitting on our couch at home reading through the encyclopedias from volume A through Z.  By now I was taller and not so chubby.  But he would still find things to tease me about.

Bobby went on to become a successful attorney.  He fell in love and married Christine. Together they had a family, Matthew and Katherine.  I’m sure my mother stopped worrying about him at that point.  (If mothers ever stop worrying..)

Until the evening when she got the news of Bobby’s brain tumor.

“Ya’aburnee,” she gasped in fear.

She got her wish.  My brother, Bobby recovered after several years of treatment.  He was healthy and back to work as an attorney, just long enough to be the Executor of my mother’s will after she succumbed to ovarian cancer in October of 1986.

And I imagine she was waiting with open arms at the gates of heaven with St. Peter when the cancer took my brother Bobby’s life in July of 1991.  For a brief moment, they would embrace and she would comfort him.  After which they would move on to join the Communion of Saints, their lives on earth but an ethereal dream.

My father was not so lucky.  He buried my mother.  And then he buried his third son. Dad died of cancer and a broken heart almost exactly a year after my brother died.

All these painful memories come back to me as I read the article about Joe Biden losing first his wife and infant daughter, and then years later, when it looked like life had self corrected, he lost the son he fought so hard to save.

Ya’aburnee.  You bury me.

My new mantra.

Ya’aburnee.

 

 

Answered Prayer

Answered Prayer


I’m sorta kinda glad that God doesn’t work like a gum ball machine.  Prayer in, answer out.  Automatic and immediate.  Feeding the Silicon Valley habit of getting things instantaneously.  Google this.  Twitter that.  Instagram it!  Now you see it, now you don’t on Snapchat.

I assume that God is more tech savvy than we are.  Yet counterculture in the most innovative manner.  God absolutely answers our prayers but not before we have wiggled and squirmed and hit road blocks and narrow openings of escape and experienced anxiety and fear and dread and hope and love and amazement.

Life giving clues come out of nowhere in places we are not looking. Yet the door we stare at remains closed.
There is the yin and yang of angst and yearnings and decisions wrought with uncertainty.  There are lessons to learn and wisdom to gain.  There are weeks and months of industrious and productive activity followed by feelings of abandonment.   There are moments of sweet victory as well as dead ends- each teaching patience and courage and fortitude.  Creating something anew in us.   A transformed man.  A renewed woman.

And then the answer comes…

When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

Thank you, God, for answered prayer.

 

 

Love is hard work.

Love is hard work.

Now that Valentine’s Day is over we can get down to the real business of love.

Love is not always flowers and chocolates or a fine dinner over a bottle of wine.  Rather, these are icing on the cake of love.  The real work of love is behind the scenes.  Subtle yet powerful.   Painful and challenging at times.

Love is saying “I’ll be right there” when you have a million other pressing things on your schedule. Love is the two AM feeding when they are infants, the carpooling to 100 soccer games when they are 10, holding them accountable to a curfew when they are  teenagers, and eventually letting go as they kick and scream for their independence. Love is listening and keeping your mouth shut when you think you have earth shattering advice. Love is being strong and letting someone lean on you. Love is hanging on the phone for hours with a friend who just needs to talk. Love is knowing the difference between supporting and enabling.  Love is forgiving others and releasing obligation. Love is forgiving oneself for mistakes made and roads not taken. Love is keeping vigil at the bedside of a dying parent. Love is holding on to hope in a desperate situation. Love is praying for good news. Love is comforting the grieving. Love is walking to the end of ones’ land every evening and waiting for the prodigal son to return home. Love is holding out a light in the darkness.

Love is swallowing your pride when your pride is getting in the way of loving.

Love is hard work.

 

One last Lenten prayer…

One last Lenten prayer…

Lent officially ends tonight and I never really decided on what I was doing or not doing to observe the 40 days and 40 nights.  I guess I wanted to keep my options open!  So here we are at the solemn end and what do I have to show for it?

In hindsight I realize that I did get into a habit of praying.  I often feel like such a flake when I tell someone that I will pray for them and then it dissolves into the thin air of my best intentions.  So during Lent I kept a prayer list by my computer.

And I prayed in the morning when I got to work.

And I prayed in Savasana after hot yoga.

And I prayed when I was falling asleep at night.

As I prayed I put a line through the answered prayer… (like I do with my “to do” list).

Well Barbara who was suffering from cancer went to meet her maker in heaven.  Jen is pregnant.  Claire and her husband are in the process of adopting a baby.  Mounir got a job.  My friend Nancy’s husband got in to a special program at OHSU for his cancer treatments.  And my cousin Anna Marie looks beautiful in her facebook pictures even though I know she is in the midst of fighting breast cancer.   Prayer works!

But we’re not done yet God!  There is one more thing on my list!

I have tried every angle with my supplication.  I’ve consulted with my mother in heaven and asked her to go see what’s holding up the works.  I’ve held a painful pose in yoga and “offered it up” for a special intention.  It seems only fair that if I can hold standing bow pose for one full minute on a fake hip that God can grant this one wish!  I’ve worn this little cross as a good luck charm, rubbing it every few minutes to remind heaven that I haven’t given up the fight yet.  Today I posted my prayer request on www.prayerrequest.com!  (you can google anything you know..) Lastly I’ve told the whole world with this blog that I’m on my last nerve.

Lord have mercy!  Just one last thing…

 

 

 

We interrupt this presidential primary campaign mud slinging and propaganda to bring you Ash Wednesday…

We interrupt this presidential primary campaign mud slinging and propaganda to bring you Ash Wednesday…

Yesterday I had some minor surgery on my eye and was forced to take it easy- not something that comes naturally to me.  I watched the news about children freezing to death in Afghanistan and then moved on to the updates of the Republican primary debates with the candidates manipulating every tactic and maneuver to make points with people who are vulnerable to their potential leadership. I then continued where I left off watching Breaking Bad– a series on netflix- the main character, Walter, dying of lung cancer and making moral and ethical decisions based on the short amount of time he has left to live.

I felt vulnerable and anxious watching all this despair, confusion and sadness.

Today I attended the noon liturgy at Mission Santa Clara in order to celebrate Ash Wednesday and receive my ashes.  The message from Fr. Jack Treacy was comforting and refreshingly counterculture.  “Ash Wednesday is the most populated day of the year here at the Mission!  There is a longing in our hearts to re-establish our relationship with God and gain a deeper understanding of our Catholic faith and our commitment to one another in our community.”

Quite a contrast to the latest news reports and who is spending the most money on their campaigns and for what purpose.

As we received our ashes we were reminded  “You are dust and to dust thou shalt return.  Turn away from sin and be faithful to the gospel.”  What am I doing with my life in this limited time I have on earth?  What am I called to do or be during this lenten season?

I love the liturgies at the Mission Santa Clara.  My friend, Rosemary, plays the clarinet for many of the Masses.  We have been friends for 30 years.  That’s what you call community.  We did music together at St. Mary’s of the Assumption in Whittier, California when we were both newly married.  Life evolved and both our families ended up in Santa Clara County.  Our friendship has grown through many transitions- not always smooth and carefree.  But it’s the commitment to our friendship that is foremost.

My relationship with my Catholicism is not perfect.  I come to receive my ashes.  I accept my mortality and my sinfulness and I long to be a better person and make a difference in the world.  I am called during this Lenten season to be uncomfortable and aware.  To fast, pray and give of myself and my gifts.

I will pay due diligence to my privilege to vote for the future president of my country.

But I find great comfort in knowing that my life has meaning and purpose because of my God.