Disasters – at multiple levels

By Allan Gillis

So, I’m sitting at home in my parlor with “The Lovely and Gracious Mrs. Gillis” just over a week ago – regaling my wife with the details of my trip to New Orleans from which I had returned late the night before.  I had jetted down mid-week for a business conference in The Big Easy (more on that shit-hole of a city later!) and in the middle of a story about one of my trips down Bourbon Street we hear this horrible crash and crumpling of metal and shattering of glass.

This wreck of a young man – high as a kite, had taken out both of our vehicles right in front of our home!  Smashed, smushed, totaled, caput, gonzo!  His front grille (after hitting my SUV with such force he broke the read axle!) went right through Helen’s trunk and into her back seat.  Not pretty.  As I said, the kid was clearly on something and it wasn’t an “energy-drink”!  He never even touched the brakes.  Belligerent and subsequently arrested, the car wasn’t his and we are now chasing the owner’s insurance company.  Insurance hassles, rental cars, looking for TWO new vehicles (as if shopping for ONE car isn’t enough!), maintaining professional commitments, having the two kids living with us – no, let’s say the three kids as their mom is often-times as needy as the kids are.  I’m tired.  I’m lunch-meat.  Mama G. is a near-wreck and I sometimes want to ask: “where are You God”?

This is the Lenten season.  I started this Lent with the greatest ambitions to fast and pray myself closer to my God.  I have failed miserably.  The “best-laid plans of mice and men”!    I “feel” very distant from God.  But, as I write this I know better than just to go with my “feelings”.  I know better than to act on this subjective sense of separation from the Holy Spirit.  I KNOW that I am one of God’s kids…     I am determined to get back on the path of regular, meaningful prayer.   Where else can I go?  He has the words of eternal life!    Here’s my formula for entering (or re-entering) (metaphorically) the “temple of prayer”:  “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise”. (Psalm 99)  I’ll begin with expressions of gratitude for what I DO have and I’ll meditate on Who and What God is; and what He’s done  –  and I’ll praise Him for it.  This for me is the beginning of prayer  –  especially after a prolonged period of “spiritual dryness”.  God is always there for me – it is I who becomes distracted and then acting with contempt toward God – I then become alienated from Him.  It is incumbent upon ME to step back and look to Him.  This “stepping back” and “turning” is in a way the same dynamic as “conversion” or even “repentance”.   I need to go to confession!  I plead for your prayers.

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“SAD DAD BAD HAD Dad is sad.

Very, very sad.

He had a bad day. What a day Dad had!”

-Dr. Seuss

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