There is a bike in my dining room....

Really. There is a bike in my dining room.

DH got obsessed with cycling after we bought our first house. You know: young, married, no kids...we could indulge. He road a century race or two (those are 100 miles) and then decided to do the 24-Hour Challenge, which is pretty much what it sounds like.

Having a bike when we lived in a house was no big deal. It could go just about anywhere. (It found a place of honor in my hubby's den.)

Now, it's in our dining room. Why? Because DH wants it close by.

See, about 3 years ago, he had minor heart surgery that turned into a 3 week hospital stay. His right arm was badly affected by the surgery and he now has a great deal of nerve pain. After surgery, riding the bike became an exercise in pain control - every bump and dip added pain to his ride.

He doesn't want to give it up - it's been a passion of his for 30 years. But his bike is too expensive to lock up outside. It's sitting in the dining room.

At some point in every marriage, there comes a moment of clarity (and it may certainly be different for each person.) That moment of clarity usually happens in the first 3 months or so of marriage (taking into account that hubby and I did NOT live together before marriage.) That moment of clarity goes something like: "Golly, I could just strangle him right now" or "Holy Hannah! I'm gonna kill her!"

No, we are not really going to murder our spouse. What we have done is recognize that living with another human being is tough. And when you tack on the 24/7, til-death-do-us-part nature of marriage - well, you see how the strangling and murdering comes into play.

That bike, sitting in my living room, is a sign of my holiness (or truly, lack thereof.) It cost way more than I would have spent on it. It's been a constant item in the apartment for the past two years; he shuffles it around. I would love to sell it and put that money towards debt. But it's not going anywhere.

See, it's not just a bike. It's my husband's dreams, past and future. It's a way of life he's enjoyed. He gets to decide if, when and how the bike leaves his ownership. And I support him fully in that.

Spouses - if their marriage is going to be successful - have to put up with bikes in the dining room, or pink wallpaper in the bedroom, or snoring, or being untidy. Yup, there are things you roll your eyes at, maybe even argue about (stop doing that; it's bad for your marriage.) These things are not important to you, or at least not as important to you as they are to your spouse. And you have to let it go.

My mom always said the key to a good marriage is learning to keep your mouth shut. There is great wisdom in that. There are also great marriages that bear fruit because of that.

So, there's a bike in my dining room. And I love it.

Unstopping Sacred Springs

I've been staying away from the news and social media as much as possible. My mom used to call it "The Silly Season:" that time we are inundated with political ads. Between those, the Kavanaugh hearings, and the situation with the Church, I'd like to curl up in a ball with a dozen bags of Hershey's candy and a couple bottles of Moscato. Wake me for the Rapture.

(Joke. Catholics do not believe in the Rapture. I do not believe in the Rapture. It's a joke.)

See? That is exactly what I'm talking about. I write something about the Rapture, and I have to explain that I know the Church's teaching on the topic and I am in agreement with the Church. Sometimes a joke is just a joke, people!!

I am angry and tired and discouraged. I'd like, in a very motherly way, to knock a few heads together. I don't want to do this anymore.

One great thing about belonging to a  Church that is a few thousand years old is that when something happens, we can almost always point to a time in history when something similar happened. Let's be honest: there are no new sins under the sun. Humans are not terribly creative: we do the same stupid stuff over and over.

St. Francis of Assisi knew this. Heck, if he'd been alive today, St. Francis would have been posting videos of his parties, as he stood on the table laughing and signing, a bottle in one hand and the other fondly pulling a pretty little thing closer.

Of course, that all changed. St. Francis was able to be as passionate about the Church as he had been about entertaining. And the Church needed him - it was a mess: bribery, sex, power - this should all sound familiar.

Author Georges Bernanos, writing about Francis, notes that Francis didn't look at the very wounded Church and decide to leave it. Nor did he seek out a position of power in order to "fix" things. No, says Bernanos, Francis "threw himself into poverty...Instead of trying to snatch from the Church all her ill-gotten goods, he overwhelmed her with invisible treasures..."

Yes! I can't fix the government, or the scandalous behavior of our leaders, both secular and religious. But I can pray. I too can overwhelm Church and society with "invisible treasures."

Bernanos continues: "Would you still allow me to say, however, in order to be better understood by some readers, that what the Church needs is not critics but artists?,,, When poetry is in full crisis, the important thing is not to point the finger at bad poets but oneself to write beautiful poems, thus unstopping the sacred springs.

I know many of us are praying very hard right now for our nation, for our Church, for our families. However, I think far too many of us are waiting on God to answer those prayers. In the mean time, we need to get busy. We have to become artists, creating beautiful poetry and supporting all those who are doing the same. This, my friends, is what God is waiting for us to do, so that He may unstop the river of graces He has prepared for us.

The Best Laid Plans...

About 20 years or so ago, I stopped giving up things for Lent. It's not that I didn't find it a worthy practice; I did. It's ...