Friday, May 29, 2009

Spring Part 2!!!

Our new year began with some finishing, that is within a week our son & daughters headed back to their respective worlds with grandchildren. Before they left however we began work on one of two new recording projects for 2009. We laid down the vocal tracks for the Christmas CD Cricket has requested for years. Nika literally laid down her songs while Cricket occupied her babies and she packed to fly back across the ocean to Spain. There will be both advent and Christmas themes on this record with many instruments and most of the family (and pets) involved.

Our unstuffing began in earnest this year. We vowed to get rid of half of our stuff, and as I tried to discern how to do that, I was led to “15 things per day”. So that has been ongoing; we give away, throw away, or sell 15 things per day. Like most inspirations, this sounded a lot more fun and romantic than it has turned out to be. It is truly releasing in the first weeks, but it starts to become hard choices very quickly. Extra and neglected clothing, books, CDs and dvds, computers and printers, and whatchmacallits are easy to unload. And moving from our large home of 20 years into a motorhome the size of C S Lewis' wardrobe makes the visualizing tangible. But even beyond the emotion, there is the practical question that arises when you realize that it will cost a lot more to replace this if you wind up needing it. It is at this point I believe the spirituality demands more attention: what do we really need? It is natural to consider this with perhaps a memento or nice sweater in mind; but the “rub” comes when it’s actually a book you love that no one else would want. And this same description could apply to a pillow or book of music or video or picture. I’ve heard some Franciscans say that they believe this is why the gospel is a essentially one of itinerancy; of motion, of not being held back or held down by “stuff”. (especially in Luke.)

We lead two retreats in February, traveling to Greensboro where Cricket led a woman’s day of reflection. It was a wonderful day and we are invited back to do a parish mission there later this year. We also gave a retreat with Father Bob Cushing of the Savannah diocese out at the monastery at Conyers Georgia. This same father bob is the man who introduced Cricket to Jerry in 1971.

We were blessed to be very involved in Holy Trinity’s “100 hours of devotions” in the second week of march.

We then traveled to Baton Rouge to see our daughter Talia in the lead of “singin’ in the ring”. Many of you have heard Talia and her sisters voices on HRS CDs: knew she who sang the Panis Angelicus on our Presence cd and the Salve on the Crown Rosary cd.

Later in march we were blessed to do a mission for Saint Philip Neri church in fort mill South Carolina this was the week prior to holy week and we were so blessed by the opportunity to serve this wonderful parish. Though Father John offered to have us park our motorhome next to the Church, there were 2 cell towers nearby so we enjoyed the 'night shift" at a local Wal-Mart! We never lack for invitations to stay with people, but our little 'home on wheels' is a fine place.

Cricket and I got to visit with the family of Natalie and Paul Burt and their four little ones extensively. Natalie's parents are close friends of ours from our Brown County Indiana days; but Natalie and Paul have a childrens' ministry we strongly support. They will be presenting at the Eucharistic Congress in Atlanta in June, and we have advertised their children's cd's because they are so well and prayerfully done.

Although this was the week just before Holy Week, we had great participation every evening! We were blessed to conclude this mission with an Evening of Reconciliation with Fr. John, and Fr. Ed, and Fr. Joseph from India. (I believe he could hear confession in a dozen languages!) On this night, Jerry spontaneously began singing songs of healing and forgiveness quietly on classical guitar as people returned from their time with the confessor. This solemn time of prayer lasted for over 3 hours as many stayed in a quiet time and prayed. I believe the Lord provided a spiritual oasis during this mission, but especially on the closing night! Here is a quote from a letter we received from the founding Pastor (I love his comment about our being 'low maintenance'):

"Recently Cricket and Jerry Aull conducted a Lenten retreat in my
parish. I recommend them whole heartedly because they spoke to issues of prayer, Eucharistic Adoration and Reconciliation in word and song. They were low maintenance, as far as no trouble, and very grateful of what the people gave. It was the first time that we had a lay-led retreat and it was very well received by our people.

Jerry and his beloved wife Cricket have a very deep spirituality upon
which they draw upon the lives of the saints and their contemporary
experiences. Sincerly, Fr. John Giuliani, C.O. Pastor of St. Philip Neri"

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