Sunday, 21 December 2014

Journey to Bethlehem

"Journey to Bethlehem", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2014

This is a sketch that I started last Advent but never got around to finishing.  I just happened to come across it this past week and figured that this was as good a time as any to finally complete it.

When I first begin the drawing, I named it "The Tabernacle" as I was thinking of Mary as the original tabernacle ("house") of God. The Church teaches us that when God came to dwell among us as a man, His first home was the womb of the Virgin.

However, when I made the decision to try and finish the drawing, I found myself thinking more of the long, dangerous journey that Mary and Joseph were required, by law, to take when she was almost ready to give birth to her precious Child.  

Try to imagine how we would feel if we were told in the middle of winter that we had to leave our family, friends, support group and the comforts of our home and travel approximately 100 miles on a donkey with only one other person for support! Most of us cannot even begin to imagine such a thing. Now add to the mix the fact of being nine months pregnant.  Only those who have been pregnant might have some idea of how terrifying the prospect of such a journey would be. Let us, therefore, stand silent in awe and admiration at the faith and courage shown by our Lady Mary and St. Joseph as they set off on this dangerous journey.

Finally, with the journey to Bethlehem in mind, let me wish all of you a holiday season filled with the joys and comforts of home, family and friends. 

Yet, let us not forgot all those who are without the comforts of home, family and friends during this special time of year.  May we try to find some way, according to our means, to share our many blessings with them.

"Oh, little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie..."



What a beautiful boy you are, dear Ronàn!

A new baby in the house takes a bit of adjustment as these two photos demonstrate.  
In the photograph on the left we see Ronàn sitting in his baby chair.  However,
in the photo on the right, we see his 2 1/2 year old brother trying to squeeze into 
his brother's baby chair!  Sorry, Braden, you're not the baby of the house anymore!



This past week contained events that Suki will not soon forget!

Last weekend, I found a piece of a broken tooth lying next to one of Suki`s favourite sleeping places. Concerned, I phoned the vet and made an appointment for this past Tuesday. When Suki and I arrived for her appointment, the vet discovered that not only had one of her back teeth broken off, the same tooth on the opposite side of her mouth was loose and when the vet touched the tooth, it was obvious that it was causing her a good bit of pain.

I was then informed that surgery was required to remove what appeared to be an infected tooth and to clean up the site of the broken tooth.  Since Suki had already eaten breakfast, the vet said they would have to wait a certain number of hours before they could give her anesthesia.  It was suggested that I leave, without Suki, and plan to pick her up the next afternoon.  This was quite distressing; however, I scratched Suki's head, telling her to be brave and then I, bravely, set off for home.  I must admit to feeling quite bereft, however.  

The next 24 hours were very strange without Suki here and even though there was no "kitty-cat-alarm-clock", I still woke up just before 6 a.m.  Finally, at 3 p.m. the following afternoon, I was allowed to come and collect Miss Suki.  Even though she was a bit groggy because of the pain medication and the remains of the anesthesia, she made it quite clear that she was very glad to see me. When we finally got back home and I opened the door to her carrying case, Suki staggered out, flopped on the floor and began to purr loudly.  It was obvious that she was very glad to be back in her own place.

In the days that have followed, Suki has been quite a bit more "clingy" than previously.  Too often now she wants to sleep in my lap instead of in one of her usual places.  I try to be as accommodating as possible because I understand that she has been through a rather traumatic event.  The problem is, of course, that I have a lot of pain in my legs due to the pressure on the nerves in my back and having a 13 lb. cat on my lap only adds to the discomfort.  I tolerate her being there as long as I can, but, eventually, I have to encourage her to move on -- which she finally does, albeit very reluctantly! 

So, as you can see, the past week has been rather trying for both Suki and myself.  In fact, the trips to and from the vet along with a visit to the doctor on Thursday combined with visits from several dear friends have all left me feeling a bit the worse for wear.

As you may recall, I was supposed to be going to the grandparent's home today to meet Ronàn and see Braden and the parents again. However, I just learned this morning that grandmother is not feeling well and so the visit there is cancelled.  All the news is not bad though for now the plan is that Ronàn, Braden and the parents are coming to visit me later this morning.  I'm sorry that they will have to drive into the big city, but it will be wonderful to finally meet Ronàn and see the rest of the family again.  Their visit is certainly the best Christmas gift I could be given.



"Icon -- The Visitation of Mary to her cousin Elizabeth"
by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2008

In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”   Luke 1:39-45

Years ago, I was staying overnight at a friend's place during Advent, trying to sleep in a strange bed and failing miserably. Finally, in desperation, I took my Rosary out of my handbag and begin to pray the Joyful Mysteries.  I reached the 2nd Mystery, the Visitation of Lady Mary to St. Elizabeth, and began it the way I begin all the Mysteries -- by repeating the Scripture passage that defines that Mystery.  In this case, the same Scripture passage posted above.

Just as I was saying the words (my version) "who am I that the Mother of my Lord has come to me?", I fell asleep and dreamed. In the dream I seemed to be on a long journey by foot.  Even though it was night-time in the dream, the moon and stars made everything very visible including rocks and small trees which cast strange, somewhat frightening, shadows.  I was alone but I kept hearing someone saying the words "who am I that the Mother of my Lord should come to me" over and over again.  Finally I realized that it was my own voice I was hearing.  The journey seemed endless but I kept putting one foot in front of the other while I continued repeating this phrase, waiting for someone to answer the question for me. Finally, the dream faded and I must have slept quietly after that as I awoke in the morning feeling rested.  

Whatever such a dream does or does not mean, it left me, to this very day, with a strong attachment to those words so that when I repeat them, I find myself picturing that dream, once again walking along that night-time road waiting for an answer to come.  I have this feeling that there is an answer, other than the obvious one of being poor and lowly in the presence of Our Lady carrying the Christ Child. I believe that someday, somewhere, I will hear Someone speak the answer for which I have been waiting all these years.

May we all keep walking along the road Life has given us until we finally reach our destination.  And, while walking, may we know peace and joy no matter what difficulties we face or how fearful things may seem. Remembering always that our task is simply to, trustingly, place one foot in front of the other.


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