Wednesday, September 21, 2016


Jack didn't like the number 2.

At all.

If you have read Rare Bird, you'll know that as a little guy (around 6 years old) grappling with OCD, his compulsion was to "even things up." An inadvertent tap on the left leg meant a tap on the right HAD to follow, sometimes on a loop. OCD is a bossy illness, and who likes to be bossed around?

I'm not loving the number 2 right now either.

In my almost 47 years on earth, I do not remember living in such a divisive time. Me vs. You. Us vs. Them. Insiders vs. Outsiders. There is an attempt to make someone else into "other" in a way that says, "our differences are too great." I will stay right here in my box and not worry about what's happening to you over there in yours. I will close my eyes and cover my ears if necessary, or occupy myself with distractions if need be, but I will not see your pain.

No one wants to be a humble servant, and to be teachable, when power or perceived power is so much more alluring.

We value fame over mercy.

We'd rather be right than be kind, and oh, we're absolutely sure we are right.

We feel that money or status somehow equals value, and that poverty is a moral failing.

We have a hard time looking beyond our own experiences into those of someone of a different color, gender, or from a different culture.

The number 3 had an entirely different effect on Jack than 2 did. It was his favorite number. I was happy that baby Andrew was born on April 3rd, because I think his big brother would get a kick out of that.

Three reminds me of the trinity. The three persons of God-- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, push me out of my comfort zone. Three says, while it may hurt your brain to try to understand these distinct yet unified, equally important parts, here we are. I don't get to choose which person of God is "the best." The trinity continuously says NO to duality and YES to mystery. NO to "other" and YES to THREE.

The trinity says, "It's complicated, but we're holy, and we're here in it with you."

The difficulty it takes to grasp the Trinity, the three, leaves room for NOT knowing/understanding everything. To not oversimplifying. To being humble, and open, and not shutting down in the face of messiness or having our own weaknesses exposed. To asking for guidance and mercy as we try to grasp the infinite love of God, even when we see hate springing up all around us. Three not two.

"Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.

O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life."-- St. Francis of Assisi


Sharon in Indy said...

This is what needs to be said, Anna, and more importantly, HEARD. All of it.

It's likely because I was a Religious Education major that my first thoughts about the meaning of three go towards the sacred, as it comes up repeatedly in Scripture: the Trinity, three days in the tomb, etc.

Your take on the "not knowing" and especially "not separating" are so valid. The divisiveness that has been growing and growing is so toxic, for all of us. Thank you for being one of the voices in the wilderness still willing to cry out the truth. Let's pray that the numbers of these voices will continue to grow.

Anonymous said...

Three. Three kids. God bless all three of yours.

Ellen aka Ellie said...

We, you and I, are different.

I'm in my 50s. You are in your 40s.
You are an East Coaster. I am a Midwesterner.
You are the mother of three. I am the mother of one.
Your children are still in school. My son is 30.
Jack died. Mac lives.
You have been married once. I am on my second marriage.
You wrote a book. I read books.

I could go on.

I come to your blog to understand you. I comment in hopes of conveying that understanding--and appreciation--and in hopes you'll know a little of me.

It's okay if we're different. I don't always get you or you me.

Is this acceptance because we are both white and both Christ Followers?

It is my hope that it is not the case. It is my hope that I approach all relationships this way, that I approach all strangers this way, because we were once strangers.

As for the Trinity, some people get in arguments about it. But like with lots of God stuff, I happily state that I am not meant to understand it all. I am meant to love in all and, most importantly, be loved through it all. One day it will all be made clear, and the love will be even more tangible.

Kristine said...

Love you and Love your beautiful catholic faith!!! 3 all the way!!!

Anonymous said...

Such a wise observation about the Trinity and about our society today. And St. Francis' Prayer - if only we would all try to live by those words.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Anna. I have been struggling lately, because I feel misunderstood. But reading the quote....I need to take those words with me.

Debby@Just Breathe said...

This post is intense, wise and very good! Thank you.