February 3, 2006

Faithful Lines / Shirley Vogler Meister

Keeping our ‘here and now’ more orderly

An aunt was recuperating in a hospital intensive care unit. Shortly after serious emergency surgery, her son was allowed a few moments to talk with her.

“Do you know where you are, Mom?” he asked. She responded, “I’m here.”

Prodding a little more, he added, “Do you know where that is?” She asked, “Have they moved me?” He said, “No”—so she said, “Then I’m still here.”

Years ago, I mentioned this anecdote in a column, but recalled it again recently when reading the “Mutts” cartoon by Patrick McDonnell (distributed by King Features Syndicate and featured in The Indianapolis Star).

In the cartoon, the dog asks the cat, “Hey, Mooch, do you know what time it is?” The cat says, “Sure, it’s now. It’s always now. Here, look at my watch.” Of course, the watch shows only the word “NOW—and the cat adds, “It’s never wrong.”

Between my aunt’s and Mooch’s responses exists my nearly daily reminder that this very moment vibrates with “the here and now.” In fact, the “here and now” is really all that each of us has from moment to moment.

I am reminded of this every time I write a column. Sometimes there are distractions around me, causing interruptions; sometimes I am completely quiet with my thoughts, letting words flow into the computer in logical (or illogical) ways. Other times, especially when generally being too busy, I struggle for inspiration—a sign I need quiet time to reflect and pray.

That is when I often remember a sign I once discovered in a story about a sermon. A priest held up a sign saying “GODISNOWHERE.” Only one youngster read this as “God is now here” rather than as “God is nowhere.” If we can always remember that God is now here, surely we would live more fully with the blessed assurance that the Lord is present in everything we think, do and say. This should relieve the pressure no matter what comes along.

One way we stay in the “here and now” but still look ahead is with a calendar. A couple Decembers ago, I featured a day planner called “Orderly Days,” created primarily for women by Kate Conway. She has produced another for men (but also used by women) titled “Orderly Days in the Workplace 2006.” (Perhaps a good Valentine’s Day gift?)

Kate is a “cradle Catholic” and a graduate of Cathedral High School in Indianapolis, who claims she’s really “a born-again Catholic” after exploring other faiths. She said, “The Lord led me time and time again back to our Catholic faith,” which she considers “a privilege.”

To learn more about her new product and her misson, log on to www.motherhoodpress.com or visit Holy Family Books and Gifts in Carmel, Ind.

(Shirley Vogler Meister, a member of Christ the King Parish in Indianapolis, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.)


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