Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Five Ws

Remember learning the five Ws in elementary school? Who? What? Where? When? Why? And then sooner or later a teacher would add How? to the list, destroying whatever incipient leanings toward alliterative skill you might be developing.

Perhaps those words still constitute the basis of a decent story. I've been looking over some of the blogs I read, and I see that people are beginning the end of the year routines, looking back and looking forward. I have no idea how to do that this year. I don't know whether I will ever know how to do it again. I have no sense of the who-what-where-when-why-and-how of my life. They all run into and pour over one another, and there are holes where smooth transitions should be. I can't make an intelligible narrative out of my life.

The death of a child is so disorienting, so destructive of all that has been and might have been expected, that end-of-year reflections and new-year resolutions seem ludicrous, at best. My life is an odd and confusing mixture of before and after. I still have two beautiful, loving, living children, badly bruised but nevertheless lights of hope in my life. I have returned to my classes and been invited to participate in events that matter to me, and I am proceeding in the ways that I can. I sense that my priorities are shifting in drastic and unpredictable ways, and that perhaps my sense of what matters and what doesn't is being refined in a manner that will enable me to focus the rest of my life in meaningful ways. I struggle mightily to come anywhere close to what six months ago I might have regarded as a reasonable day's work, and I still find large group interaction oppressive and unmanageable, but at least now I want to be part of things again. The letters and cards I receive almost daily remind me that I am surrounded by extraordinarily kind and giving people, people who in this most un-ordinary of times have risen to exceptional levels of generosity and sacrifice.

I suppose that, in the end, the narrative will be about that irritating sixth word, that How? How do you navigate a life that in the course of one phone call was transformed from still water into tsunami ? How do you start all over and create life out of dust and ash?

Some months before our son died, I had begun to wonder whether Search the Sea had run its course. The insistent sense of "search" seemed to have faded and been replaced by a sense of assurance that I was indeed launched into the channel that I would follow for what I hoped would be many, many years. I didn't expect it to be without twists and turns, and I knew that sometimes it would be glassy and smooth and sometimes more akin to the perfect storm, but I was confident in the way itself.

Now: Who knows? Not me.

I don't know whether many people read my Advent blog, but tomorrow I am starting a new one for this next year. I'll keep Search the Sea for now, but I'm going to write about the difficult stuff, to the extent that I can, over at Desert Year. I'll cross-post when it seems appropriate, and maybe everything will end up there eventually. Chalk it up to a life too fragmented for me to comprehend or weld into coherence, at least for the present.

Key West in No Particular Order (2)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Key West in No Particular Order (1)

"They will kill you!"

When I was a little girl and we lived for part of the year in Vero Beach, we viewed Portuguese men o' war as jelly terrorists. Lying in wait on the beach after the tide receded, they would whip their 50-foot long tentacles into the air and snap them around your legs, causing you to gasp for breath and writhe in pain as you succumbed to a slow and tortuous end.

I don't know how we expected them to consume us, or why we thought that they would have any interest in trying. I suppose that logic is not a component of childhood drama.

These days, I view them with a good deal more equanimity.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Gannet's Christmas Recommendations . . .

for those years in which disorientation is an optimistic descriptor:

Not recommended:

A Christmas Eve sermon offering as its theme, "Jesus came so that you could have a better life." Don't even get me started. (Move over, Joel Osteen.)


An afternoon walk through Gulf waters of blue and green followed by a long nap.

Highly recommended:

A Christmas Dinner of grilled shrimp-scallop-and-pineapple kabobs out on the deck.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Not a Usual Christmas Post

I have been thinking a great deal about Mary during this Advent season. A woman who also must have felt uncertainty and dread in those months prior to the birth of Jesus, a woman who also spent Christmas among strangers in an unfamiliar place, a woman who also would experience motherhood as a sword that would pierce her heart.

Last week I received a note from a Presbyterian minister whom I had just met ~ I believe I've mentioned the extraordinary things people have written to me in the months since our son died ~ in which she said that she, too, knows what it is to live on what seems like another planet, one on which the rules of gravity differ from those we thought we understood. I suspect that Mary felt that weight as well.

And yet, she remained loyal to the gift of radiant light entrusted to her. Denise Levertov's poem Annunciation ascribes to her "courage unparalleled" in responding with dignified assent to the life to which God invited her.

Perhaps it is the paradox of Christmas that we are invited to both. To the extent to which we welcome and participate in the life of Christ, so we will enter into the weight of suffering that pervades our world. And perhaps the reverse is true as well: to the extent that we absorb that suffering, so we will encounter the astounding love of our Creator that makes God's donation of self to us possible, a gift offered in our own form, as one of us, through one of us.

This year, unable except on rare occasions to glimpse anything beyond my own grief, I can only speculate. But perhaps, if we wait, in the mysterious paradox of Christmas we find hope and confidence and joy as well.

And so. I wait.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve List

Duval Street Shopping
Frigatebirds over Gulf
Key Deer
Midnight Episcopalians
It looks easier than it is.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


I am typing on the deck, surrounded by the tropical vegetation and blue skies of Key West. The image (from a tourist site; you'll have to wait for mine) is what it's like at night. So much for Christmas tradition.

A number of posts today have brought to mind the contrast between Christmases Past and Christmas Now. RevGals talks about how churches handle Christmas traditions, and PresbyOpia picks up the theme with a post on letting go.

For two decades, our home was the Christmas Dinner destination for our friends and, sometimes, parents who ventured in from out of town. QG's post about holiday hostessing got me counting and remembering: for a number of years, there were 11 families, meaning a minimum of 22 adults and 23 kids. There was the year we decided to go Mexican (hence the two pinatas). There was the year that Gregarious Son threw up hot chocolate and another dad and I dragged the dhrurrie rug up to the bathroom to try to wash the stain out in the tub (we failed). The kids remember a hallway light crashing to the floor in response to the joyful tromping of little feet upstairs; if that incident actually occurred, I blotted it from memory immediately.

Year after year, the same families brought the same chairs, the same extra silver, the same food (except for the Mexican year). Musical Friend, sometimes with other women and girls, sang O, Holy Night! as our grace. The tables were always decorated with holly and very cool candles from North Carolina, the piano was always out of tune, and we always sang the same songs around the fireplace after dinner.

It was different only once: the year that Chicago Son spent in France and we joined him there. That December, the Christmas Dinner migrated to Musical Friend's and. from what we heard, she actually got the kids to act out a nativity pageant ~ something I could never under any circumstances have accomplished.

This year, we decided that we could not bear it. We have so many traditions asociated with Christmas, and several of them are particular and personal to our beloved Chicago Son and me. He was always the one willing to respond with a "Sure, Mom, I'll go with you" whenever I came up with a new idea that caused the others to roll their eyes and hunker deeper down into their reading chairs. Without him, I could not imagine any way that it could be Christmas unless, perhaps, Christmas happened somewhere else and in some other way. And so the Christmas Dinner has moved, with four of us in Key West and the rest at the home of our group's own Hostess with the Mostess (who is still going to pull off the usual New Year's Eve gathering a week later, as she has done for two decades as well). In two places we will mark the loss of Musical Friend's Husband and Chicago Son. We will be sharing the same readings across 1500 miles, and we will talk on the phone, and we will acknowledge that almost everything is changed ~ and some of us will hope that one thing has not.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas 1960

This past month, I have been thinking a great deal about my maternal grandmother. Perhaps wondering, rather than thinking, would be a better choice of words, as I never got to know her well. Although she and my grandfather lived only a couple of miles from us, in a small ranch house on the edge of town, she worked as a secretary in the city thirty miles away and had little time or energy for small children. She was always edged out by my paternal grandmother, who lived on the same hillside we did, out in the country, and was able to offer my brother and me endless hours of her own time along with books, card games, art supplies, and a creek.

She was perhaps also edged out, I now think, by the solitude imposed by the grief in which she dwelt, a grief that her natural reticience and the dictates of the culture would have prevented her from sharing with the small children who might have benefitted most from her companionship in loss.

Summer, 1960. Her son, in his mid-20s, was home from the Navy, not yet married, seldom in evidence. Her daughter, my blonde and vivacious mother of three, was the joy of her life. My mother didn't sing in the church choir anymore ~ it was too much on top of managing the children on Sunday mornings ~ but she often stopped by on the week-ends and sang snippets of songs as she helped around the house for a few minutes, until our rambunctiousness propelled us all back into the car. It was a delight to go out to our house as well. Our family had spent the winter and spring in Florida, and my grandmother must have been lonely. But by late summer the gardens that had lain dormant during my mother's pregnancy the previous summer were in full bloom, and my mother was always ready to sit outside and talk, lemonade on the wooden picnic table and the baby sitting happily on a blanket on the grass while the seven (that was me) and four (my brother) year olds ran around in the grass.

I wonder how, or whether, my grandmother even got out of bed on Christmas morning a few months later. I don't remember anything about that first Christmas without my mother and baby brother, which probably means that the adults united in a massive effort to carry it off as usual. My own physical injuries from the October car accident had healed by then; my brother's shattered arm was no doubt still in a cast, but that was part of the new normal for us and did not keep him off his tricycle or away from games. I suppose we plowed through Christmas Day as we did all the others.

But my mother's mother? I imagine her standing in her kitchen that morning, sipping a cup of coffee and staring vacantly out the window overlooking the backyard. I imagine her sitting down at the table and sighing, knowing that she needed to wake my grandfather, wondering whether she had the energy to get dressed. I imagine her dread as she considered her imminent arrival at our house, peopled by two small children bubbling over with Santa excitement, but no daughter to greet her, no baby to hold. I imagine her standing in our kitchen an hour later, reaching out to touch my father's shoulder, wanting to collapse into his arms and sob, but leery of shattering his own carefully constructed facade of well-being and turning the entire morning into a disaster.

My grandmother lived another twenty years, and she lived them all without her daughter and youngest grandchild. I wish so much that I had had the slightest inkling of what that might have been like for her. I wish I had sat down with her at every opportunity and asked her to tell me about my mother and about what it was like to have lost a 28-year-old daughter. I wish I had asked her about their mutual dreams for my baby brother. I wish that I had given some time to that every Christmas, each of which must have been a fresh trauma for her as she watched other families gather and other daughters come by with pies and ornaments and time for visits.

I wish that she had lived long enough to enjoy my own family before tragedy came our way again. Maybe it would have been some solace for her, to have heard my daughter's beautiful singing voice at Christmas.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Tanner's Annunciation

This might be my favorite painting in the world. All over the internet this time of year, it remains fresh to me. In the past I've liked it because, frankly, Mary looks a lot like I did as a very young woman, and her puzzled expression confirms the likeness.

This year, I've noticed other things. The messy bed. The worn surroundings.

The uncompromising light.

Is that what we pray for, when we are so bruised and fragile that the flames of the advent candles threaten to engulf us in sorrow?

A birth that can lead only to Good Friday, because it is only there that we can be sure that God knows us?

Uncompromising, indeed.

(Cross-posted from Advent blog.)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Another Advent Meditation

Mosaic of the Nativity, Serbia, Winter 1993
by Jane Kenyon

On the domed ceiling God
is thinking: I made them my joy,
and everything else I created
I made to bless them.
But see what they do!
I know their hearts
and arguments:

“We’re descended from
Cain. Evil is nothing new,
so what does it matter now
if we shell the infirmary,
and the well where the fearful
and rash alike must
come for water?”

God thinks Mary into being.
Suspended at the apogee
of the golden dome,
she curls in a brown pod,
and inside her the mind
of Christ, cloaked in blood,
lodges and begins to grow.

How can it can be that I've never encountered this poem before? My immediate source is; the print source is Collected Poems (Greywolf Press, 1995).

Friday, December 19, 2008

What We're About

If you've been over to the Advent blog today, then you know that I now count this piece in Quantum Theology as among the loveliest and most compelling of Advent meditations I've ever come across.

It's also been a great impetus for googling "nativity icons." If you click on this one and enlarge it, you'll see that the details are very cool.

16th century Greek Nativity


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Balancing Act

Little Lakes in Winter

It's hard to figure out what the balance is.

I've been back in seminary for three weeks, kept up with the reading, written two papers, missed some meetings, gone to chapel, avoided chapel, hung out talking to people in the library. Most people have no idea what to say to me, some feel compelled to offer the most appalling platitudes, and a very few seem to know how to be present to someone who feels as if she is wandering around on a planet in a distant galaxy. My first real venture outside my protective cocoon of family and friends, and it wasn't easy.

I spent some time one evening with the committee that oversees the ordination process for our Presbytery. Everyone was supportive and encouraging and did what they needed to do to mover things along. In my former life, I tended to exude tremendous zest and stamina, and I am self-aware enough to recognize how steeply that level of engagement has declined. I suppose they must still have seen a spark of the old Gannet, and I am grateful for that, and for their willingness to hang in there with me.

I am exhausted. My estimate is that the grieving process, day in and day out, takes about 500% of the energy required for a normal day in life as usual. Every few hours of effort requires many times over that number to recover. Every encounter with a baby, every strain of Christmas music, every symbol, whether liturgical or secular, is another invitation to the practice of endurance. Our mail carrier is out sick and the substitute has not deigned to come by all week (I finally called the post office tonight), which may be a good thing. Fifteen weeks, and condolence cards are still arriving (well, they were) but now now they are mixed in with those for Christmas and Chanukah. A lot to take in.

The Lovely Daughter is home from Oregon and the sound of her laughter from the living room is a very good thing. My father was supposed to come and visit for a couple of days but decided that the weather was too risky, so we have a clean guest room, if anyone wants to stop by. We have a little tree, mostly decorated. And we have reservations for Key West starting on Sunday, where we are going to continue our efforts to come to terms with lives far outside the orbit of the ones we had planned.

I guess we are all right.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Thank You, Stratoz

This suncatcher arrived in the mail several weeks ago, a generous one-of-a-kind gift from my friend Stratoz, who sought to offer healing in one of my favorite forms.

Unfortunately, there hasn't been a lot of sun to catch, and the window screen doesn't add to the photographic presentation. I think I'll take it back to seminary with me after Christmas, where I may have more luck with both.

But I wanted to make a public thank-you. And the quality of the photo can never match the quality of the gesture of kindness, anyway.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Awhile back, some folks got a little upset with me when I said that one of the least comforting things you might say to someone who has just lost a loved one is, "I can't imagine."

And now I find that I could not have imagined anything as difficult as this Advent.

I can't describe it, not in a public forum. Maybe in another year I will have found words suitable for general consumption. Maybe.

For now, I'm putting some music up on the Advent blog. Not that it helps.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


I would go back, if I could. I would go back to August, when I was worn out from my CPE summer and looking forward to a weeklong silent retreat. I would go back to anticipating my second year of seminary, an exciting internship, and more time at home than I had last year. I would go back to being the mother of three living children ~ irritated at one of them for not making it to his cousin's wedding, sorry that another could not join us in North Carolina, curious about another's new romance. If prayer offered magical solutions, I would pray to go back. That life we had ~ it didn't seem that we were asking so much. No boat, no vacation home, no fancy cars; not even the needed plumbing repairs. Three healthy children and the prospect of their futures to enjoy. That was enough. Everything else could have fallen away and that would still have been way more than enough.

But prayer is not magic. Prayer is God with us, us with God. Prayer is listening and noticing. So we don't get to go back but, maybe, in the light trying to break through in December, I can notice some things.

And here is what I have noticed this week. I have, as a consequence of my son's death, received what I think must be some of the most extraordinary missives ever written. Emails, cards, letters -- the form of transmission doesn't matter. The words do. Some are about my son, some about those of us left behind, some about God. There is apparently something about magnitude of loss that drives ordinary people to eloquence.

I literally carry some of this writing around with me. There are moments, many of them, when I think that I will not make it to the next one, and then I read what people have sent me. I read them as prayers, regardless of how they were intended. I look for what God might be saying, in a phrase or a paragraph, and sometimes I see them, small clues to the mystery that binds us together, whether the people who articulated them knew what they were doing or not.

If you have a friend who is longing for someone else this Advent, especially someone who died in the last year or two, sit down this week-end and write a note, or send an email. It might be the most important thing you do this month.

(Cross-posted from Advent blog.)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Advent List, Week Two, Year One

1. patience

2. wilderness

3. calm

4. mountains

5. insight

6. valleys

7. vision

8. road

9. memory

10. desire

(Cross-posted from Advent blog.)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

RevGals in Real Life

My first RevGals meet-up! ~ it was my pleasure to get to know Joan Calvin over a hot chocolate (mine, of course) and a latte this morning.

We took the requisite shoe portrait, despite the obvious fact that both of us were going for pre-Solstice practicality over fashion. I'm the one with the contorted ankle and the Elphaba socks.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

More on Attire ~ and Continents

When I told Gregarious Son about the Clothing-as-Identity Discussion, he said,
"Mom, maybe you and Wonderful Friend should stop buying and returning clothes, and accept that you are still yourselves and that your existing wardrobe is just fine."

The problem, I suppose, is that our lives are not fine. And so, neither, are our clothes.

I suppose, though, that we are still ourselves. I have said before that it seems that we grieve as we have lived. Wonderful Friend organized another Wonderful Friend's newly remodeled kitchen the other night. I pour over poetry sent my way by Jesuits. I could not find my way around a kitchen and she would not want to wade through this poetry. We each do what we can.

We are going to Key West for Christmas. "As long as you know that we will not feel any better," said the Lovely Daughter. I do know. What I think I am going for is the outer-edgeness of it -- the edge of the continent cracking and flattening and floating into islands, islands broken off from the mainland and almost submerged in the ocean.

And there I can wear soft t-shirts and my ancient and frayed khaki shorts and be the woman who walks the shore ~ the woman, perhaps, who I most am in a place whose geography will reflect my own.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Do Clothes Make the Woman?

Last night I spent a little time with my group of close women friends. I had looked forward to the evening for a couple of weeks, but in the end I couldn't manage more than about half an hour or so. The day had been a pretty rough one ~ not that anything had happened; I had just been feeling lost in a huge sea of sadness ~ and even a group of six or seven of my closest friends seemed a bit overwhelming.

Two of us there have been paddling the same ocean, and my dear friend who lost her husband last spring mentioned that she has bought more clothes for herself in the past several months than at any time in her life.

"I've been doing a lot of that, too," I said in surprise. "And then I take most of them back."

I thought about it for a minute and then said, "Do you think it's an identity thing? We are not who we were, and we can't figure out who we have become, and so we can't figure out what to wear?"

My friend looked at me and said, "I think you're exactly right."

I mentioned a couple of -- for me -- bizarre examples. A month or so ago, I went off to J. Jill, one of my very favorite stores, and spent quite a bit of money, came home and looked at what I had purchased, and said, "Nope - not me," and took it all back the next day. The night before, I said, I had discovered a website dedicated to Michelle Obama's wardrobe and spent quite some time looking at it. "Maybe I'm Michelle?" I wondered. "No, you are not!" said another friend. "Well, I think she's fabulous, so I guess I've been insulted?" I wondered. "She IS fabulous," said my friend, "and so are you, but you are not her."

OK, I am not tall and lean and athletic, I do not have two little girls, I am not moving into the White House, my skin is surprisingly fair given my dark hair and eyes, I don't really know what The View is, and no one will ever ask my opinion on a state dinner or perhaps anything else ~ true enough, I am not Michelle Obama.

But who AM I now?

Later last night I read a piece in Newsweek by a young woman who, despite a long series of medical challenges ~ disasters, really, in the eyes of most of us ~ insists upon identifying herself as a healthy person. There is a lot to learn here, I thought. Am I a healthy person? Am I a survivor? Can I be those things without losing my connection to my child? Can I be a person at peace in the middle of this huge sea of sadness? In a few years, will I be a minister and/or spiritual director who has learned to balance joy and sorrow? What does such a person look like?

For now, I am going to go out to breakfast with my friends, and then I am going to come home and read Tillich and Torrance and respond to a few more of the condolence notes stacked up in the sunroom. For now, I am going to put on my black corduroy pants, my black clogs, and a baggy turtleneck sweater. For now, I am going to put on clothes that don't work and do things that don't work and try not to wonder too much about my interior evolution, which seems to have a will beyond consciousness.

But I do wonder about that earthshaking question: what do I wear?

Friday, December 05, 2008

Friday Five - Advent Longing

"This space is with me all the time it seems. Sometimes the empty space is so real I can almost touch it. I can almost see it. It gets so big sometimes that I can't see anything else." - Arnold and Gemma 1983, 56I

"It is frequently said that the grief of bereaved parents is the most intense grief known. When a child dies, parents feel that a part of them has died, that a vital and core part of them has been ripped away. Bereaved parents indeed do feel that the death of their child is "the ultimate deprivation" (Arnold and Gemma 1994, 40). The grief caused by their child's death is not only painful but profoundly disorienting ~ children are not supposed to die. These parents are forced to confront an extremely painful and stressful paradox; they are faced with a situation in which they must deal both with the grief caused by their child's death and with their inherent need to continue to live their own lives as fully as possible. Thus, bereaved parents must deal with the contradictory burden of wanting to be free of this overwhelming pain and yet needing it as a reminder of the child who died."


In today's Friday Five, Sally suggests that we list five Advent longings:

"Christ is with us at this time of advent, in the darkness, and Christ is coming with his light- not the light of the shopping centre, but the light of love and truth and beauty.

What do you long for this advent? What are your hopes and dreams for the future? What is your prayer today?"

Five? 100? One. I only have one this year, and that is to learn to live in companionship with the empty space accompanying me all the time, the one that compels me to protect and guard this terrible grief as my connection to the child who is gone while at the same time nurturing its metamorphosis into memories that will renew life for those of us left behind.

Advent is a place of similar incongruence: the infant of light we want to embrace will become the man in the garden, alone and abandoned, with whom we are called to align ourselves completely. Perhaps it is some faint recognition of the agony of that journey that causes us to arm ourselves with the frail weapons of wrapping paper and electronic gadetry. Most years, our culture of advertising and consumerism enables us to pretend that we are not in the wilderness, but some years ~ some years the force of the desert wind flattens everything recognizeable in its landscape.

With all landmarks gone, I long to learn to live within that empty space, that crushing but perhaps vast space I imagine might be filled with the love of the One whose own experience of anguish and transformation creates the pathway winding through it.


(Quotations found

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Getting Back on the Horse

I was so tired of every single day being so damn hard, and the first day back at seminary was another in that long line of days. There were wonderful hugs from people who literally held my hand and put their arms around me when I needed those things ~ when, for instance, a classroom lecture veered into the appallingly insensitive. But there was also that carelessness on the part of a few individuals, there were some of those astounding remarks people make about God's will that tell you that they would be better employed elsewhere, there was my own effort not to suck up all the air in the room in the two small discussion classes in which we introduced ourselves to one another. There was the reality that again and again and again the burden was on me to take the initiative, to be straightforward and open so that others would know that they can be, too.

And then the second day was ~ finally, amazingly, after three months ~a day that might be called a good day. Administrators and faculty put their heads together and put a lot of time into coming up with a creative and generous resolution to some of the scheduling problems created by my having missed a quarter. A faculty member sat down and listened for half an hour, and another walked out of his classroom to give me a hug. A stack of poems arrived by email from Georgetown: Maybe these will help you. And that was all before lunch.

I made it. I made it through all my classes and two lunches and a dinner and some well-meaning but poorly conceived conversations and some wonderful but exhausting conversations. And I sat down afterward and thought: I had no idea whether I should try to go back, no idea whether there was any future for me in ministry or anywhere at all. And now, thanks to countless people who in one form or another said, "We're so glad you're back ~ let's see what we can do to help" ~ now I think that possibly the answer to those questions is something like yes.

So. I'm going back for another try, maybe one that will be a little less tentative, next week.

Monday, December 01, 2008

In the Mail

I just drove the two-and-one-half hours back to seminary and made four or five trips from the car to my room. I didn't bring much stuff, because whether I can actually stand to be in seminary three months after the death of my son remains to be seen. I may say the hell with it by tomorrow night. But for now there is still bedding to put together, and books, and some food.

Opened my computer ~ and here is a summary of the email that arrived while I was en route.

From my Presby church: Announcement of the Christmas party for the folks in my general age-range. Canned food and white elephant gifts desired. I don't want to go to any Christmas parties.

From Best Western: Holiday travel deals in Biloxi, Mississippi. Surprisingly, I don't want to go to Biloxi. (No offense to anyone already there.)

From two Jesuits, from two different cities: Notes and encouragment and prayers.

Have I ever mentioned how lucky I am to have these guys in my life?