Tag Archives: trust

Emotional Spanx

Brushing my teeth this morning, Idina Menzel’s “Let It Go” was playing in my head.

As I dressed, I reflected on an email I received yesterday from a friend who is undergoing what he says is a new way of living as he comes to terms with being in remission from a serious type of cancer. Reading Jean Shinoda Bolen’s Close to the Bone, he was struck by her argument that having a life threatening disease is a spiritual journey, and its components are  “…finding meaning, creativity, and joy in life.…”  He is especially thinking about creativity.

Then I recalled my reunion yesterday with a former colleague who I hadn’t seen in ten years. After many years in a corporate environment, she left without a specific plan. Her skill as a “connector” led her to one person after another, one opportunity after another, and now she has formed dynamic arrangement with a team of like-minded consultants. “I’ve found my people,” she told me.

Welcome to five minutes in my head.

Why these three vignettes in rapid succession? My mind is “background processing” themes of risk, creativity and trust as I prepare to embark on a Master’s in Fine Arts in creative nonfiction. I’ve written that I’m scared, and I am. But this five minutes of synapses felt like taking a step.

As a person immersed in the return-on-investment world of marketing and strategic planning, most of it plied in the corporate world, I have been accustomed to control. I’ve controlled budgets, tactics and people but perhaps most of all, I’ve controlled me. Impulse control isn’t a bad thing, of course. It’s necessary. We learn from an early age that we can’t throw tantrums to get our way. We learn how to stay out of trouble. We learn to conform to the expected.

I became something of an expert in emotional Spanx.

Deciding to write after years of rationalizing why I couldn’t or shouldn’t is frightening. But it’s also freeing. I’m letting it go.

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Seeing, Believing, Remembering, Trusting

St. Ignatius San Francisco

Yesterday my friend and mentor Jim sent me a short email: “Giving thanks for your Dad’s life tomorrow. HUGS.”

It didn’t surprise me that Jim would suspect that this is a time of reflection for me.

January and February were always hard months for Dad. I expected that he would ultimately pass away during one of those barren months. But each year with astounding speed, daffodil buds would proceed inch-by-inch out of the ground, quince bushes would blossom into their full fuchsia glory, and tulip magnolias would burst into flower. And Dad would say, “I think I might make it after all.”

This spring, finally, he didn’t. But as the spring roars along, I am grateful that Dad is at peace. And I am comforted by the memory of his smile (that “big ass” smile as I so indelicately put it during my remarks at his memorial) a few hours before he died.

I awakened this Easter morning fully aware that, finally, Dad has moved on.

By happenstance, my husband, Todd, and I were in San Francisco for the weekend, which gave us the opportunity to attend church where someone very special to us is the new pastor. Fr. Greg Bonfiglio, S.J., former president of Jesuit High School, was slated to lead the 9:30 Easter service at St. Ignatius Parish in San Francisco. The many pillars of the church were festooned with garlands of flowers, decorated with pots of yellow narcissus and encircled with large bouquets of forsythia.

Commenting on the gospel, Fr. Greg described how Simon Peter had arrived breathless at the tomb and peered in. Only when he saw the cloth that had covered Jesus’ face did he believe that Jesus was no longer there, and had risen.

“Seeing really is believing,” Fr. Greg said, “but this is a different kind of seeing. This is the kind of seeing that is open…”

I still struggle with faith and questions of what happens after death. My blog posts are full of questions. But in my father’s last hours, I saw him in communion with someone he loved. By the time he died, the journey of his last few months affected me in a visceral way and led me to greater openness in resurrection after death.

On the day he died, my brother Dean and I told Dad it was okay for him to go, that we would see him again, and that we would be fine. I had to let go and stop trying to prevent Dad from dying. I had to trust God that He would care for him.

“Seeing” leads to believing, and believing, to trust.

Fr. Greg Bonfiglio

Fr. Greg Bonfiglio


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