I expected this to be a busier than usual weekend. Right after the Blessing of the Animals on Saint Francis Sunday, I’d be flying to Indiana to see my grand kids. I’ll still be on that plane, and I’m so looking forward to it, because I don’t see my grand kids very often, being on the east coast, but the Blessing of the Animals was cancelled.
Friday, I called Father Macgill to discuss our plans, with Hurricane Joaquin building up energy, and some models coming to the Carolinas. I shared with him my experience of cancelling events due to impending bad weather, and then having clear skies on the day of the event. He was gracious to let it be my call, so we decided to wait and see what path Joaquin would take.
The decision was made for us, because the county parks department, our venue, decided to close for the weekend. It now appears that Joaquin will be making a turn out toward sea. Sunday afternoon, Saint Francis Feast Day, could be beautiful. Anything is possible of course. At least now I won’t have to rush from the event to the airport. So that’s a good thing. And it’s a good thing if all we get is a lot of rain. Things are already pretty soggy in my neck of the woods.
I do want everyone to be safe. Still, I can’t help but observe that the TV news people get us all hyped up, or try to anyway, by just the tones in the voices of those reporting the forecasts, the predictions of where the storm might go. It could go anywhere! We better get our water, our batteries, our generators, canned goods, and eat all the ice cream in the freezer, pronto! I’ve done that in past hurricanes, but not until I was sure it was coming. I do keep a lot of candles in the house during hurricane season after being without electricity for over a week with Hurricane Fran or Floyd, or maybe it was Bertha, years ago.
My friend commented on Facebook that she and her daughter were having coffee and tea yesterday morning at a local diner and embracing the “pre-storm culture.” It’s good to be prepared for the worst, but to hope for the best. Our focus needs to be on our hopes more than our fears.
Just remember if you approach what appears to be a deep puddle or flooded road: “Turn around. Don’t drown!”
Everybody stay safe out there!
This week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt from Linda Hill was: “expect/unexpected.” If you’d like to join in the fun, visit:
Here are the rules:
1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing, (typos can be fixed) and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.
2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.
3. There will be a prompt every week. I will post the prompt here on my blog on Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” “Begin with the word ‘The’,” or simply a single word to get your started.
4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours. Your link will show up in my comments for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top.
5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read everyone’s! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later, or go to the previous week, by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find right below the “Like” button on my post.
6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!
7. As a suggestion, tag your post “SoCS” and/or “#SoCS” for more exposure and more views.
8. Have fun!
“Compassion, in which all ethics must take root, can only attain its full breadth and depth if it embraces all living creatures and does not limit itself to mankind.” – Albert Schweitzer
Beep will be 15 dog years old in October. That’s approximately 100 in human years. She still jumps around at meal times and when the leashes come out, though she limps more after a walk on her stiffening legs. Beep is one of my step dogs. We met in 2011 during the long distance re-kindling with my old flame. David has known her since she was a tiny puppy, when she was named for her high pitched bark. They’ve been together through thick and thin. So he’s going to take her to the Blessing of the Animals for Saint Francis Feast Day, on the first Sunday in October. It should be interesting since she’s a feisty old lady and possessive when it comes to her pack.
Beep is doing very well for a 15 year old dog her size. Still, it doesn’t seem fair that dogs have such short life spans, and that we’ll be saying goodbye again before long. I looked for a scientific reason why dogs don’t live as long as people and didn’t find a satisfying answer, but I did find the following story which helps.
I do not know the author, so if you do, feel free to let me know.
A Dog’s Purpose (from a 6-year-old).
“Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog’s owners, Ron, his wife Lisa, and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.
I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn’t do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.
As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.
The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker ‘s family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.
The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker’s Death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, ‘I know why.’
Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I’d never heard a more comforting explanation.
He said, ‘People are born so that they can learn how to live a good Life — like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?’ The Six-year-old continued, ‘Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”
Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:
When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy.
Stretch before rising.
Run, romp, and play daily.
Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.
On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
Never pretend to be something you’re not.
If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.
ENJOY EVERY MOMENT OF EVERY DAY!
(An imaginary letter from 13th Century Gubbio, Italy)
My Dear Sister,
As you may remember from my previous letters, there has a been a dangerous wolf terrorizing Gubbio. The large wolf has been seen stealing sheep and goats, and has even taken away small children as well as grown men, or so I have been told. Yesterday, Friar Francis of Assisi, who has been a guest in Gubbio for some time, amazed us all by taming the vicious beast.
The wolf was outside the city walls chasing some sheep, as men gathered with pitchforks, rocks and slings to try to chase the wolf away. Our beloved Francis intervened and asked them to wait. The brave friar walked toward the wolf who snarled viciously and then charged at him with his mouth open. We could see the white of the wolf’s teeth from the city walls.
Then Francis made the sign of the cross, and the wolf stopped suddenly, closed his mouth and crawled on his belly toward the friar to rest at his feet. Francis appeared to speak to the wolf who became as docile as a lamb and followed Francis back to the city. The friar told the townspeople not to harm the wolf.
“Brother Wolf has acted in evil ways due to his hunger. If you will feed him every day and care for him, he will not harm anyone. I ask you to forgive him and show him God’s mercy,” said Friar Francis.
He asked who would offer a piece of food to the wolf. I looked down at the loaves of bread I was to deliver to my neighbor, and ignoring all common sense, I broke off a piece and walked toward Francis and the wolf. I do not know what came over me. In spite of the warnings of my friends, I knelt cautiously before the wolf, and reached out to offer the bread. The wolf took the bread gently from my hand, like an old dog.
The people of Gubbio have promised Friar Francis to feed and care for the wolf, who is becoming a part of our community. We shall see how this unusual truce plays out. What is more unusual: I am considering joining the holy order of this Francis who some are calling a saint. Please do not tell our parents of this yet, as I know they wish for me stay here as the baker’s apprentice, and I am not sure if I will awaken from some dream about a wolf being tamed by a holy man.
My love in Christ,
Your brother, Antonio
I share my imaginary letter hoping to honor Saint Francis and his upcoming feast day, celebrated October 4th. The following article tells that the wolf lived in Gubbio for two years and offers evidence that there is some truth to the legend.
“According to tradition, Gubbio gave the wolf an honorable burial and later built the Church of Saint Francis of the Peace at the site. During renovations in 1872, the skeleton of a large wolf, apparently several centuries old, was found under a slab near the church wall and then reburied inside.”
One of my favorite sources on Saint Francis is this beautiful book by Robert F. Kennedy Jr:
Is there a Blessing of the Animals in your church or community honoring Saint Francis this weekend? Does anyone know of a Saint Francis Festival? If so, I’d love to learn about it.
Today is the Feast Day of Saint Francis who was born in Assisi in 1182. He was a man ahead of his time. Years ago, I struggled to find a link between my potentially pagan love for nature and animals and something (maybe a combination of motherhood and compassion fatigue from my job helping others) pulling me back to Jesus. Discovering Saint Francis was one of those “Aha!” moments. It was a relief to find this teacher who could bridge my two beloved spiritual paths to the Creator.
I was drawn back to church by a newspaper photo of an animal being blessed at the Church of the Good Shepherd. Back then, Good Shepherd may have been the first church in Southeastern North Carolina to bless animals. It started in the late 60s’ on Rogation Sunday, a time to give thanks for crops and livestock. Since that time, it has become a tradition at Good Shepherd and many other churches to bless the animals on the Sunday closest to the Feast Day of Saint Francis. Blessing the animals to honor Saint Francis is much more meaningful to me, because our animal companions mean so much more than livestock. (Though I hope all the animals we now call “livestock” will someday be treated more kindly.)
Our animal friends give us loyalty and patient companionship. They love us no matter what, and hopefully, they teach us mercy. There’s a sweet little song called “God and Dog” in which Wendy Francisco sings about how dogs reflect the unconditional love of God. Saint Francis, the patron saint of animals and the environment, understood this relationship. He cherished animals and the earth, praised the sun and the moon and cared for the lepers because they are all creations of God.
There is a wonderful book, written by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr about Saint Francis of Assisi. One of the stories in this book is a story about Saint Francis convincing a vicious wolf to stop terrorizing the town of Gubbio. Miraculously, “Brother Wolf” lived the rest of his life “peacefully in Gubbio- fed, cared for and loved by the townspeople, because it reminded them of Francis’ visit.
Let us remember today and always the words of Saint Francis, ” Make me a channel of your peace.”