About Nissa

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On Being a Child of God

Pettiness is a luxury we cannot afford to indulge in.  There is too much to do that is of real import.  Small, everyday things that are radical and profound despite their smallness.  We need to hold a hand, smile at a stranger. Say “Hello” and “How are you today?” and really want to know the answer.  We need to teach our children to speak gently to each other, to apologize for wrongs.  We need to perform everyday acts of love.

©Nissa Gadbois
Life is too precious to squander even a passing thought on whether a designer ought to accept or refuse the commission of creating a dress for the new First Lady; or to be offended by what an actor said at the close of a performance.  Our world has become so vast that we too often fail to see the one right in our own homes.  And it is dying for lack of care.  And if the family dies, so goes the world.

When we do pay attention to things outside our own circles, we must listen with our whole hearts and minds, we must look through the eyes of love and mercy.  We must try to understand the sentiment and the true meaning of people’s words.  We must not instantly react because reacting before consideration leads us nowhere.  It doesn’t advance our understanding of each other.  It leads to two people (or two groups) reacting to each other – reacting to the other person’s reactions.  And that is a waste of time and energy that is much better spent giving hope, making peace, spreading joy, and loving.

Let this be our mantra: Hope, Peace, Joy, Love.  Next Sunday is the first in the season of Advent.  It is a time of reflection and renewal as we prepare to welcome the Christ Child.  May we recognize Him and serve Him in the least of His people.  The Poor, The Lonely, The Lost, The Sick.

Happiness

Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony. – Thomas Merton

©Nissa GadboisA maple wood bowl filled with sweet fern and acorns.
 
 

I used to believe that happiness was a matter of intensity.  I craved stimulation of all the senses, all the time.  I needed to feel life in order to be sure I was alive.

Over the last year, I’ve had more stimulation of the senses than I could ever have dreamed.  We all have.  That constant onslaught makes you tender and sore.  It makes you crave quietude.  And it often makes happiness feel elusive.  We forgot how to be happy in the storm that is trauma.  Trauma is evil.  Trauma steals all good things.  It is hell.

And then Brian and I had a talk at a restaurant dinner table recently… 

We were working through strategies for bringing back an abundance of peace and joy, hope and love into our home.  I think we both started out thinking that we had to plan an elaborate distraction – a weekend away in a totally new environment with new adventures.  But in the end, it was the small things that we decided would make the most difference – order and rhythm would restore balance and harmony. 

The gentle, orderly rhythm that is provided by our prayer life and homeschool studies, the flow of the liturgical seasons, the joy of marking holidays and holy days with simple, joyful celebrations.  That is what heals the soul, what brings happiness back to the hearth, what dispels darkness.

Remain in Me

[Chosen Lady:]
I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth
just as we were commanded by the Father.
But now, Lady, I ask you,
not as though I were writing a new commandment
but the one we have had from the beginning:
let us love one another.
For this is love, that we walk according to his commandments;
this is the commandment, as you heard from the beginning,
in which you should walk.

Many deceivers have gone out into the world,
those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh;
such is the deceitful one and the antichrist.
Look to yourselves that you do not lose what we worked for
but may receive a full recompense.
Anyone who is so “progressive”
as not to remain in the teaching of the Christ does not have God;
whoever remains in the teaching has the Father and the Son. – 2 John 4-9

©Nissa Gadbois
Although I’m here in my little bubble, I am not unaware of the violence and upheaval going on around the country. I know about the ugliness being meted out between friends and families. 

Two salient points from yesterday’s first reading from the Mass leapt out at me. Perhaps they will speak to you as well.

First – we must love one another.  We must will the good of one another even if we don’t have affection for one another.

Second – it is not love to preach that which is outside of accepted Church teaching.  We must not modify or innovate the Gospel,we mustn’t torture it to seem to support viewpoints or behaviours that are either explicitly contradicted by scripture and/or tradition.

We must love the person.  That doesn’t mean we can’t abhor the words, thoughts, or actions of another. But always we must love.  We must take care of each other.  We mustn’t do harm in body, mind, spirit, nor to that which belongs to another person.  We defeat evil by filling that vacuum with good… with love.

Anyway, that’s what I try to teach my children. I guess that’s what you try to teach yours.  I guess that’s what nearly all of us were taught and what we want to teach.  Perhaps we could try to channel that anger, disappointment, entitlement, braggadocio into something constructive, something to build everyone up.  I wonder what that world would look like? I suspect it would look a lot like Heaven on earth.

“If we have no peace it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” – St. Teresa of Calcutta

Martinmas

Saint Martin, Saint Martin, Saint Martin
Rode through wind and snow
On his strong horse, his heart aglow,
He rode so boldly through the storm
His great cloak kept him well and warm

By the roadside, by the roadside, by the roadside
A poor man arose,
Out of the snow in tattered clothes
He said please help me with my plight
Or I shall die of cold tonight

Saint Martin, Saint Martin, Saint Martin
Stopped his horse and drew
His sword and cut his cloak in two
One half to the beggar man he gave
And by this deed a life did save

Saint Martin, Saint Martin, Saint Martin
Rode through wind and snow
On his strong horse, his heart aglow,
He rode so boldly through the storm
His great cloak kept him well and warm – Traditional

©Nissa Gadbois
 
©Nissa Gadbois

Father, by his life and death Martin of Tours offered you worship and praise. Renew in your hearts the power of your love, so that neither death nor life may separate us from you. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, One God, forever and ever.  Amen.

I wanted to wait until this evening to post this since the lanterns look so much better in the dark.  May you respond to the grace of generosity and grow in holiness!

Solitude

“I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time. To be in company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating. I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.”
  – Henry David Thoreau, Walden

©Nissa Gadbois

I find I’m becoming more introverted as I get older. Friends and family, who know me well, will tell you that I am an extrovert to a power of ten.  I love people.  But more and more, I feel I need to love people quietly.  More and more, I feel I need to draw into my own small circle with those I love most and just be together.

I long for a time when I can visit long and deep with a good friend, maybe two.  I long to meet with some of the wonderful men and women that modern technology has brought into my life.  But so few.  So very few.  It seems, sadly, that the only place I can visit with those people is in a very bright, very loud café, constantly interrupted. I want to focus on the heart of my companion, to talk about meaningful things, to laugh together, or to sit in silent contemplation, joining hearts and hands, making memories that sustain us both.

I want to be far from the hubbub that is current society.  It’s all too loud, too angry, too brash, too rude.  I feel wounded and I need to make sense of it all.  Here.  In solitude.

“In order to understand the world, one has to turn away from it on occasion.” –  Albert Camus

But I leave the door open to kind-hearted friends and acquaintances who want to come to call – through this space and in real life. 

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