On 9/11…

Large flag hangs from the bell tower of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Wash DC today.  (photo cred: Catholic News Service)

Large flag hangs from the bell tower of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Wash DC today. (photo cred: Catholic News Service)

“I just rode up those elevators to the top with Mom to celebrate her 50th birthday,” I said to a roomful of no one listening.  They were all glued to the TV, like me, aghast.  We were suddenly and radically changed individually and as a nation that day 13 years ago.

“I’m leaving to pick up my boys, and I am going to spend the rest of the day hugging them,” I declared to no one in particular.  Then, I got up and left the office.  No one objected.  My room full of office mates were stunned and frozen in place, barely glancing up.

They are 3 and 1, I thought, driving back to the daycare center.  Into what kind of world have I brought them…?

Where were YOU that morning?  Every American over the age of about 20 can answer this.

Today is a day to memorialize, remember, and above all PRAY.

At Guerin Catholic High School today where my older boys attend school, an all school mass was held.  Fr. Joshua Janko paid tribute to those lost on Sept. 11, 2001 and he challenged us to listen to the words of the Gospel.  He powerfully acknowledged how difficult the words of Jesus seem to be on this day.

“Jesus said to his disciples:  To you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you…” (Lk 6:27-28)

How can we possibly love those who desire to harm us?  I’ve got to be honest, it’s 13 years later and I’m not sure.  I do know everything is possible with God.  Our prayer releases the power within us to be the hands and face of Christ, to do good, if you will, in the face of evil.  It’s not about them, it’s about you and me and our God– who IS love itself.

God loves without limits.  He is all good.  I’m honestly not sure how to rectify this when in the presence of that which is truly evil.  So, the Lord calls me to trust.  Good gracious that can be hard some days.

“Come unto me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Mt. 11:28)

I give THANKS today for:

Police Officers and Fire Fighters, whose daily sacrifices I didn’t even begin to notice prior to 9/11/01.  You are heroes where you live, and I am proud of you and grateful for your service.

Our US Armed Forces, to each soldier past and present, I thank you for what you have done to protect the collective freedoms of all of us who call the United States of America our own.

My faith, the most beautiful gift from God, and without which I would be lost.  Thank you, Lord, for the grace of strong faith!

Today, I admit I am struggling with the challenge offered by Jesus and echoed by Fr. Janko.  I don’t want to pray for terrorists.

Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Challenge Accepted, Cathy!

Vivian and Cathy, pictured here with their cute husbands.  Treasures, all.

Vivian and Cathy, pictured here with their cute husbands. Treasures, all.

Her text opened with an update on her husband who has been hospitalized with heart trouble.  “He is tired but okay today.  Took a nap but just cannot catch up.”  She’s one of those people, like me, who write texts so long you have to unscramble the order to make any sense of their content.  “I took a long time at the store today, reading labels,” she continued, “he loves chili but the sodium is awful.”  Finally, she closed with, “How are you?  Your prayer life, your spirit?”

I replied with a great low sodium chili recipe I stole a few years back from my health conscious younger sister, and I followed up with a query about her own physical well being.  You see, Vivian s a bit of a Florence Nightingale kind of gal.  She often sacrifices too much for those around her.  It’s my own personal observation, one with which I am certain she would disagree.

Wise and grace-filled friends are a gift from God.

Vivian responded, “Okay, respond to my question about your holiness and spirit.”  Then, she added a smiley face emoji.

If the goal is to become a magnificent woman, then she has achieved it.

“My prayer life?  Hmm.  I am not taking enough time.  My faith is strong but I am not praying much.  I feel like all I do is petition.  After communion today, I just thanked Jesus for being with me now and told Him I love You and I need help to love You more.”

After I watched Peyton finish off the home team in my beautiful new basement, surrounded by the handsome Thieme men, I re-read what I had written.  It was clear to me I needed to work on gratefulness.  I thanked our amazing Creator for pointing it out so loudly, and I closed my eyes.

Today, I woke to a Facebook challenge by another Jesus girl to write and post for 5 days, 3 things for which I am grateful.  Coincidence?  Ha!!  I am taking that up for one primary reason.  It’s clear to me that Jesus used Cathy, my challenger, as His voice today.

Ask and you shall receive…huh?!

DAY 1:  Three (3) Things for Which I am Grateful

1.  Magnificent Faith-Filled Friends (You know who you are!)  These are the gals who zero in on what’s truly important, who walk alongside, keep their sense of humor, affirm the worth of themselves and those around them, express themselves authentically, and who listen with love.  You girls have taught me how to juggle, rebound, nurture, commit and pray.  You are the face of Jesus in my life….and  I love you all!

2.  My Achy-Breaky Heart:  I curse it sometimes, like when the original mean girl, Nellie Olsen, is simply horrid to Half-Pint and my eyes instantly well up as I flip past an ancient episode of Little House on the Prairie.  The thing is, that aching means God gifted me with compassion.  When I feel that ache in real life, God is winking at me.  He’s prodding.  Go, Shelly, act.  Give.  Listen.  Offer.  Sometimes, I don’t wanna.  Occasionally, I ignore it.  However, I have found that when I feel the ache, see the truth, and do nothing….it is a day I die a little inside.  That achy-breaky heart is a beautiful gift from God.  Listening and acting (without being attached to the outcome)…It’s God’s light shining in me for a moment.  Nothing feels better.

3.  A Diet Coke, extra ice, in a styrofoam cup, with a lid and a straw.  Not to be shallow or mean, but all other beverages fail to compare.  Sometimes, my adorable husband hand delivers one to me.  He just gets me.


Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.  (Matthew 7:  7-8)