Friday, April 3, 2009

Friday - Fifth Week of Lent

Today's readings: April 3, 2009
Reading One: Jer 20:10-13;
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 18:2-3a, 3bc-4, 5-6, 7 ;
Gospel: Jn 10:31-42;
go to this page (for all three sections listed above on one page) And here's an audio file; & reflections (video)

The volume gets louder and louder, like the thumpedy thump of a motorcycle engine with loud pipes as Jesus gets closer and closer to His day, that horrible day when He will die for all of our sins. How is it that some wish to put Him to death, and slander His Holy name, a name above all others - while countless other people will praise Him throughout the end of days. I regret my Lord, there were days when I didn't understand and was counted on the wrong side of this endless equation. But as I read the psalm today I recalled the day you saved me from death. And it wasn't the first time either. My prayer of sorrow and thankfulness came before you, and you heard me, and rescued me. And then, You held my hand, and You healed me.
The breakers of death surged round about me,
the destroying floods overwhelmed me;
The cords of the nether world enmeshed me,
the snares of death overtook me.
R. In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice.
In my distress I called upon the LORD
and cried out to my God;
From his temple he heard my voice,
and my cry to him reached his ears.
R. In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice.
Mt dear sweet Lord, you rescued me on December 10th, 2007 when I was riding my motorcycle home from work, getting off a little early to avoid the cold weather that comes as it gets dark in Decemeber. At the time, my heart was sad, but thanks to your love and comfort I was ok, just doing fine. No worries. While driving home on a 45 mile an hour two lane highway called Mt Holly-Huntersville road, a car pulled out from a side street on my right, to make a left turn. Darn, my pipes were not Vance and Hines Screaming Eagles, so he didn't hear me or see me for that matter (must have pushed the stealth button by accident I guess). Anyway, he pulled out to make a left turn right in my path. There was no time to react, I just tried to slow down, by braking and laying the bike down, I think that is what happened. I couldn't remember a thing. However, I do remember being thankful that I was not allowed to finish my sentence which began - What the... SLAM. I have no idea when the ambulance arrived or how long I was laying in the road, looking quite dead. My windshield, a GE Lexane piece of plastic was sliced in half, my front end bent like a paper clip. The bike was totaled. And so was I. When I regained consciousness in the ambulance, I remember my first thoughts. In a blurry empty place.
Oh my Lord, was this what it felt like? I am so sorry to have contributed, even in the smallest way. Forgive me, and remember me in Your Kingdom.
It was still blurry ... but I remember saying those words to myself. And then the blurriness receded, and I saw I was in an ambulance. The medics were talking about something, and I wanted to make sure I was still alive - so I asked them a question.
Does everyone still hate George Bush?
They paused, looked at each other, then let out a nervous chuckle, Yeah, everyone still hates George Bush. I was alive, still in the Earthly realm I thought to myself. And I thanked God for such a funny joke. I can be funny sometimes, but that was too good a joke for me. HA!

I was taken to a hospital - Oh NO! the same hospital where my buddy Frank was nearly killed by the treatment he received. All I wanted to do was get out of there, as soon as possible. Against my will, they performed a bunch of MRIs, and finally after much pleading, they put some drops in my right eye, which deadened the pain. I was also given a pain killer to ease the hurt of a crushed skull around my nose and right eye, and a few broken ribs, and a bunch of road scrapage from sliding before I hit the car. I still have a big indent in my right hip that looks like someone took an ice cream scoop into my leg 16 months later. Why this hospital I wondered - get me outta here! I sat in a hallway as they looked and looked through possible insurance carriers, to see if this poor slob had insurance that would cover the expenses, which were being charged for every second I was in their care. I was there for a few hours, and I would receive bills that would total over 10,000 bucks from the hospital, and the $700+ ride to the place where some very high dollar folks, were ummm ... looking out for me. Wow, that is the most expensive hallway I was ever in. And I have no intention of ever going back to that over-priced restaurant again. I never even got any food.

The next morning, I went to 7:00 am mass, looking a little nasty as Monsignor asked me politely if I would please wear sunglasses the next time I came to mass. It was hard getting out of bed, but after rocking back and forth a few times, I got the momentum to help myself out of bed. Mass was especially wonderful, as I knew the healing process had begun. How blessed I felt to know the feast day of St Lucy, patron saint of eyes was just a few days away. I would pray to her help because my eye felt like it was sliced in a million pieces.

I went to an eye doctor to have him look at it. He was a wonderful guy, and did a great job. Thank you, Dr. Spicola - my surfer dude eye guy from Ridgemont High. He explained to me, that the covering layer of the membrane on my eye was sliced into countless little pieces. HA! And he gave me a prescription for a bunch of different kinds of eye drops and told me I would probably need eye surgery. Nah, St. Lucy was hard at work with her sewing needle.

One day, a month or two later on follow-up visits to his office, I was asked by the receptionist to provide some answers to her questions. I told her I was in a motorcycle accident in early December. Her eyes got big... When? December 10th. Oh no, where? Mt Holly-Huntersville Rd I told her. She said, oh my God, I saw YOU lying in the road as I was going home. I was certain you were dead, and you were the first dead person I ever saw! I replied, well I hate to disappoint you! ahahaha. And I once again felt compelled to thank God for such a great comeback line. You see, I am not that funny, at least my kids tell me that all the time.

The truth is, the recovery felt like a sewing needle bobbing in and out of my eye. I imagined St. Lucy hard at work and prayed for comfort with all my strength. I would be fine, God willing. Thank you my Lord for saving... is all I can say.

Let me close again with a few tunes. This one, Funky Motorcycle was written in 1994 or 1995 and recorded in my garage. My buddy Frank is engineer and came up with the wicked bass line. I didn't have a bike at the time, never even rode on on the road yet for that matter. Kinda ironic, huh? It is about how hard it is to understand women. One day they are sweet, the next day they are like a cornered badger. Don't get me wrong, I think women are the greatest thing since sliced bread, well better than sliced bread - you know what I mean. But let's face it, women are hard to understand sometimes, for us men especially.

This next song is a song I wrote when Frank was in the hospital, called Sweet Raphael. When I sing it, and really mean it as a solemn prayer - I can't sing it without sobbing. Inexplicable groaning. Wailing like a woman in labor. I have sung this song so many times, with many many different names of friends I know who are sick, and in need of comfort and healing that can only come from God. I am helpless. But I can't just do that when a microphone is shoved in my face. But please know, I have song this song for Doug, Richard, Andy, Louise, Florence, Debbie, Vivian, Christine, Charlotte, Morgan, Peter, Pat, Rodrigo, Tom, Jennie, Kathy, Kate, Dave, Phoebe, Amy, and ad infinitum... the list is too long. I love you all so much. And yes, I have sung the song for myself, a sinner and a man in need of healing.