Listening to Lent

Listening Carefully

A Lenten Reflection

by Charles McKelvy

The Descent from the Cross by Ivan Mestrovic can be seen at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at the University of Notre Dame.

The Descent from the Cross by Ivan Mestrovic can be seen at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at the University of Notre Dame.

On the matter of undivided attention, I must confess that I divided my attention recently when talking to a friend.

Ironically, he had just made a point about the importance of listening with full and undivided attention when another friend appeared.

I broke away from the first friend to talk to the other friend, and when I returned my attention to the original speaker, he was angry.

So much so that he said in effect: “You’re a talker, not a listener.”

He went on to say that the problem with people today is that we all talk at each.

We do not listen.

He indicted me with those words.

And, yes, I certainly heard him say that one learns by listening, not by talking.

Indeed, as an Oblate of Saint Benedict, I attend daily to The Rule of Saint Benedict, which begins with this sentence: Listen carefully, my child, to the master’s instructions, and attend to them with the ear of your heart. This is advice from a father who loves you; welcome it, and faithfully put it into practice.

Hmmm.

Is there a message there?

One that I might faithfully put into practice?

I think so.

And, as reluctant as I am to admit it, I am convinced my friend was right in admonishing me that day for not giving him my full and undivided attention.

I recently gave a clarinet concert, and, as I was playing, I looked around the room and noticed that more than a few audience members were texting. Their thumbs were all over those little smart screens of theirs and they were giving their full and undivided attention to persons elsewhere.

That hurt.

Of course it hurt.

But I knew that if I stopped and pointed my finger at them, then I would be pointing three fingers back at myself.

As we say around the table: If you spot it, you got it.

I got it, all right.

And in the little left of Lent, I intend to take on the virtue of listening to others with my full and undivided attention. And I intend to carry on in this manner on Easter Sunday and beyond.

I’ll report back.

Meanwhile, may I repeat the immortal words of Saint Benedict for your benefit and mine: Listen carefully, my child, to the master’s instructions, and attend to them with the ear of your heart. This is advice from a father who loves you; welcome it, and faithfully put it into practice.

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Posted in Catholic Church, Charles McKelvy, Notre Dame, Spiritual Progress | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Dunescapes

Natalie charges up the Mount Randal Trail.

Natalie charges up the Mount Randall Trail.

(Warren Dunes State Park, Michigan) On the day of Michigan State’s advance to the Final Four, we advanced up Red Arrow Highway and hiked the sun-dappled dunes in what we have long called our country club.  Yes, Warren Dunes is truly the only country club we would ever join.  Honky golfers can have their fill of snooty country clubs with fees and fairways.  We will gladly continue paying for the Recreation Passport on our license plate, and will thus continue enjoying the year-round splendor of all our Michigan State Parks, particularly the gem that glitters in the sun (and permacloud) just up the Red Arrow from where we live.

The beach at last.

The beach at last.

Tower Hill towers over the parking lot.  Prairie Clubbers conquer this every summer as part of the famous Hike to Warren Dunes.

Tower Hill towers over the parking lot. Prairie Clubbers conquer this every summer as part of the famous Hike to Warren Dunes.

Natalie climbs Mount Randall.

Natalie climbs Mount Randall.

Facing the dunes.

Facing the dunes.

March postcard from Warren Dunes State Park, our country club

March postcard from Warren Dunes State Park, our country club

 

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Safari: Part V – In praise of the Antelope

charleymckelvy:

I love armchair travel, don’t you?

Originally posted on iago80:

When people go on Safari, they often focus their attention on ‘The Big Five‘ or on the large predators. Don’t get me wrong, seeing Lion, Elephant, and Leopard in the wild is an incredible experience, but I was equally thrilled to see the wonderful diversity and beauty of the Antelope.

All creatures great and small

East Africa provides splendid example of the diversity of antelope, from the mighty Common Eland (the second largest antelope in the world after it’s rarer Northern cousin, the Giant Eland) which can be nearly 3.5m in length and weigh almost a 1000kgs…

…to Kirk’s dik dik, the smallest antelope in East Africa at around 70cm in length (and only 30cm in height) and a fully grown male (I can’t bring myself to call this creature a bull) weighing up to 7kgs (nearly 143 times smaller than the Eland!)…

The great herds

Antelope are…

View original 402 more words

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The state of Michigan

(Palm Sunday, 2015) The State of Michigan is in a great state today, thank you very much, owing to the Spartans’ amazing 76-70 overtime victory over Louisville.  The honorary governor of Michigan, Tom Izzo, thus takes Michigan State to the Final Four for the seventh time in his tenure in East Lansing.  Are we pumped?  Is this a sycamore tree you see before you?  In Michigan?  Yeah, Baby!!!!!

This sycamore tree was so excited by the Spartan win today that it shook all its leaves off.

This sycamore tree was so excited by the Spartans’ win today that it shook all its leaves off.

 

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The Writing Life

Wet Ware in "Sleep" mode.

Wet Ware in “Sleep” mode.

So, Natalie finally turned the camera on me.  She said, and I quote: “You’re always taking pictures of me and putting them on your blog.  Now it’s my turn.” So, while I was still sleeping, she grabbed our trusty Canon PowerShot SX 160 IS and snapped a shot of yours truly resting his writer’s brain.  Okay.  One for Natalie.  And then, when I had brewed my first pot of tea and planted myself in front of this here trusty iMac, she got busy again with our mighty little Canon.  So, yes, Dear, all’s fair in love.  And you’re right:  it doesn’t hurt to get your picture taken.

The Author caught in the act by the Author's wife.

The Author caught in the act by the Author’s wife.

A lot easier than carving it all in stone.

A lot easier than carving it all in stone.

The writing lamp is lit—time to write!

The writing lamp is lit—time to write!

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One(s) for the Ages

Mom with "Mommy" at Mediator.  Meaning Hannah Dick Macfarlan McKelvy with Mother Paula Durren at Church of the Mediator between Harbert and Lakeside, Michigan.  What a pair!

Mom with “Mommy” at Mediator. Meaning Hannah Dick Macfarlan McKelvy with Mother Paula Durren at Church of the Mediator between Harbert and Lakeside, Michigan. What a pair!

Posted in Episcopal Church, Hannah McKelvy, Harbert, Michigan | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Line Drawings

I'm calling this: Flame Tree of Saint Mary's.

(Three Oaks, Michigan) We emerged from Lenten devotions at Saint Mary of the Assumption Church Friday only to discover that the sun and clouds were conspiring to treat us to one dazzling sunset.  Yes, it was one of those: if-I-only-had-a-camera moments.  Well, duh, I did have my Canon PowerShot SX160 IS pocket camera tucked conveniently in my pocket, so I pulled it out and put it to work.  Here is what I was able to come up with, on the spur of the amazing moment:

Let's call this one: Flame Tree of Saint Mary's.

Let’s call this one: Flame Tree of Saint Mary’s.

IMG_1404

Postcard from Three Oaks.

IMG_1405

Looking west along Amtrak’s line from Three Oaks, Michigan.

I got this one a little while later, Friday.  This is looking east on the Amtrak line.

I got this one a little while later Friday. This is looking east on the Amtrak line.

 

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