Saturday, August 27, 2016

St. Frances...Patron Saint of Animals and Gold Leaf

Madonna and Child with Gold Leaf Accents
Today I received a box which contained a highly anticipated order of Gold Leaf for my studio.  I felt like a six year old excitedly opening a present.  I use Gold Leaf for a magnificent finishing touch on my saint statues.  This carton of sunlight miraculously arrived at my studio door in a deceivingly dull brown box.  The beauty of the metal leafing was so striking it made my eyes tear-up and my heart ache as I took it out of the package.

Gold Leaf comes in metal sheets that are pressed so thin they float on air.  It is illusive to handle because it is almost impossible to hold without breaking apart.  Even when everything seems perfect, adding the Gold Leaf makes it more so.  Like adding Creme Fraiche to a freshly baked pear tart, the thin golden air sets off what's underneath in a way nothing else can.  Like adding the exact right piece of jewelry to an evening dress or the perfect flower from your garden to your dinner table, it's not necessary but once it's there you can't imagine being deprived of it. There are things we don't know we need in our lives but once we have them we feel we can't live without them.  You simply can't unsee it.

My dog Maizey was the Creme Fraiche in my life.  She was the Gold Leaf that made my day sparkle.  She filled an empty spot I didn't know existed.  Always there, willing to take as much or as little attention as I could give at any moment. She was my transition dog, escorting me through loss and change and discoveries that life presented over the five years she was with me.  She was a bridge between my head and my heart, showing me things about myself I hadn't known and her death taught me things I was not capable of knowing any other way.  

Maizey's Tea Party
Originally, Maizey came into my life as a way for me to soften the upcoming loss of my old dog, Rita.  Maizey unknowingly helped me weather the decline and finally the loss of my mother, with whom she had a special relationship.  She helped me with the inherent deep sadness that followed.  She loved me in spite of my being consumed with my mother's care and my becoming someone others and I had a hard time liking.  Maizey got me up in the morning smiling, made me feel going in the car was the best thing on earth and mealtime was Christmas twice a day.  She made me appreciate all of the mundane things of everyday living and she helped soften the hard stuff being on earth long enough can bring.

I prayed for St. Frances to intervene when Maizey first started getting sick.  Without St. Frances's help I wouldn't have had the chance to return her steadfast dedication and give her every chance to survive. Some days the helplessness overwhelmed me.  Other days I learned to just be present with her, knowing the end wasn't far away.  I had hoped I could control the path we were on but she showed me it was a waste of our time together and what mattered was the "how" and not the "what".

Now I see that the most important thing I learned from Maizey was to never again be satisfied with the inside of the box.  She took a series of unrelated events and wove a circuitous route of eight months of random illness into something that finally made sense in the end.  Only afterwards did I understand how the limits of my own brain kept me from seeing all of the possibilities and I learned I would never be able to see things in only a logical sequential way again.  Like the surface of Gold Leaf that casts a different light on what is underneath, Maizey showed me that there is more...she set off my life in a way I didn't know I needed.  She filled a hole I didn't know needed filling.  She let the golden light loose.  Like Gold Leaf, she made everything look brighter and more beautiful than ever before. 

Maizey         2010-2016   
As I touch the airy sheet of Gold Leaf gently so as not to break it apart, I think about what Maizey brought to my life in those 5 years we spent together.  How she touched my heart then broke it apart putting it back together with a dazzling light that makes my eyes tear-up and my heart ache.  Thank you, Maizey for spending those few short minutes with me as our lives crossed paths in the best of ways.  You are forever my Gold Leaf.           


Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Patron Saint of Procrastination? Don't Put Off Praying Invoke Saint Expeditus

I have put off writing on my blog by coming up with any number of excuses from being too busy to not feeling like peeling a layer of skin from my heart. I have two posts that I have been obsessing about for months but I have been paralyzed when it comes to finishing them because I just don't want dredge up uncomfortable feelings that make me squirm and face my weaknesses.  Although I would really prefer to wait until tomorrow, today I began my search for the Patron Saint of Procrastination.

Vintage St. Expeditus Holy Card
I found just the saint and fittingly, his name is St. Expedtitus or St. Expedite  He is thought to be Armenian, a Roman centurion who became a Christian and was beheaded in the Diocletian Persecution in 303 A.D.  He is known as the Patron Saint of those who hope for rapid solutions or who want to put an end to delays.  The saint to pray to against procrastination.  The saint who helps you to push forward when you really don't want to.  He is also the saint for general financial success, shop keepers, sailors, and computer programmers and hackers.  He is the one to ask for help with the prompt settlement of legal battles and bureaucratic red tape.  He has a lot of fans.  

St. Expeditus is shown holding a cross with the Latin word for today written on it, as he steps on a crow saying "cras" the Latin word for tomorrow.  Hence the opposing ideas of putting off until tomorrow what can be done today, also known as procrastination.  St. Expeditus has been invoked for centuries in the conversion of Christians.  If you're planning to convert, do it now since you might not be around tomorrow and then where will you end up?

As the queen of procrastination, I can make my own private hell by dreading the things I need to do instead if just doing them. No one knows how to procrastinate like I do and whatever I avoid most is exactly what I most need to face. I know that it's easier to put off than to put forth, easier to say than to do,  easier to wallow in dread than to push for a sense of accomplishment. With the help of St. Expeditus, I may as well get busy making things happen.  He can help me put an end to delays that can consume my days.  What are you waiting for?