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Posts Tagged ‘Dark Shadows’

When I was a kid in Pine Orchard Elementary School in Branford, I loved getting My Weekly Reader in school. Partly educational and partly tabloid-style journalism for kids, My Weekly Reader also offered a book club from which, one year, I ordered two items which greatly impacted my life.

The first was a set of ESP cards with an informational booklet on how to use the cards with their squiggly lines and geometric shapes to determine whether you or your friends possessed ESP (extra-sensory perception).

Not only did I score high on the test, but at the ripe age of 9, I corresponded for quite some time with one of the researchers mentioned in the booklet, who kindly took an interest in my fledgling abilities and sent me all kinds of articles on the paranormal.

The second item was the book Fog Magic by Julia L. Sauer. All through my life I have had a sense of a sort of timelessness (see my post “no lasting city”). The veil between past, present, and future is very thin and always shifting for me, and I found this book very affirming. In it, a young girl lives by the sea near a place where old houses used to be; only their cellar holes remain. But when the fog comes in, the houses reappear, along with a new friend from another era. For similar reasons, I love the old Dark Shadows TV series with its themes of time travel in which characters shift between past and present, and parallel time in which they live their lives in completely different ways simultaneously.

Given all the bad decisions I’ve made in my life, I cannot claim to have great psychic powers. But through the years, there have been enough incidents where I have “sensed” something that turned out to be true to confirm that I have at least some heightened perceptual ability. The Catholic Church clearly teaches that using psychic powers to manipulate others, to summon or channel spirits, for financial gain, or other negative purposes is taboo. Yet, we cannot deny the fact of St. Padre Pio’s well-documented telepathic abilities, for example. And a natural ability to “see” realities hidden in the past, present, or future is a gift from God that need not be written off as dangerous.

With God, there is no such thing as time.  God is eternal, with no beginning and no end, and all reality is present for God as one timeless moment. For example, Mary’s purity and sinlessness were foreseen by God, hence her being chosen to be immaculately conceived in order to become the mother of Christ. Our sins were foreseen by God, hence Jesus’ passion, death, and resurrection over 2000 years ago are effective in our lives today. And it works the other way too; in his book Consoling the Heart of Jesus, Fr. Michael Gaitley explains that we can console Jesus now even though His passion is completed and He is happy in heaven, because just as He could foresee our future sins and our need of His salvation, He could anticipate our prayers, suffering, and sacrifices and be consoled by them during his agony.

I find myself lying awake most nights for an hour or three. This has become my most fervent time of prayer, a sort of nocturnal adoration when I pray for all the needs of my family and friends but also for the world. On a recent night, I received an image of my father. Dad was an Ivy leaguer turned enlisted Marine who fought in the Pacific theater in some of the bloodiest battles of World War II. I got a sudden image of him, a young man in his twenties, in a miserable jungle hellhole lying awake and longing for home. This image was so poignant and detailed that I knew I was being given a picture of something real. My father has been dead for over twenty years and the war ended decades before that, but I found myself praying to God to console this young Marine, my future Dad, to give him courage and peace, faith and consolation. I prayed that he would not be afraid, and that Jesus would keep his loving hand on him through the terrors of the night in that hostile place so far from home. And somehow, I knew that my prayers had real effect, that through God’s timelessness, they reached back to the jungles of Okinawa circa 1945 and consoled that young soldier. Somehow, it wasn’t too late.

This timelessness of God.  I am at a kind of crossroads in my life, where at the age of 50 the curtain seems to be falling on certain possibilities, certain cherished dreams. I have been wrestling with accepting these perceived limitations, and at times, the future has seemed destined to be a wasteland of one renunciation after another, “a perfect graveyard of buried hopes” as Anne of Green Gables would say. But these past couple days, in the midst of moments of fear or discouragement, I have been getting sudden flashes of the limitlessness of God. There is a road I travel frequently with beautiful homes from which I usually have to look away lest I go down the rabbithole of dissatisfaction; yesterday I drove past and found myself smiling with a sense of eager anticipation instead of envy. There are places I’d like to go that I scarcely allow myself to think about any more because they seem out of reach; but yesterday, I found myself actually mentally planning what I’ll do when I next go to, say, Ireland, as if it were a reality that could happen tomorrow. In truth, I may not know when it will be,  but there is no reason why it can’t happen! After all, I may be broke, but God is very, very wealthy. I may be getting older, but God says “Old? Don’t make me laugh!” Suddenly I have started waking up to this fact: God loves me! In fact, He is head over heels in love with me, and wants to shower gifts and blessings on me! He actually wants me to be happy. The same goes for you, my friend. Things may look one way now, but God has no limits. He is the clairvoyant par excellence, the time traveler uber alles, able to leap tall limitations in a single bound.  The veil of the present could tear away any moment and reveal an amazing, undreamt-of future. It’s never too late. It’s never too late. And don’t let anybody tell you different.

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Alas, there was no winner for my first Giveaway Quiz. Maybe I’ll try this again sometime, but for all of you who are dying to know, here are the answers to last Friday’s quiz:

1. The drawing room in the post “the wounds give life” was the drawing room in the old TV version of “Dark Shadows” which ran from the late 60s to the early 70s. I always felt right at home there!

2. My banner photo shows Flirtation Point in Pine Orchard, Branford, Connecticut.

3. The town in the first photo in “no lasting city” is Greenfield, Massachusetts. That’s Main Street, and the current name of the business on the right is Baker Office Supply.

4. The artist of the sketch in “failure” is Vincent Van Gogh.

5. Besides the New Testament, St. Therese always carried a copy of the Imitation of Christ by St. Thomas a Kempis.

6. Three books Branfordgirl likes: see my sidebar for a selection of books I like which are available on Amazon (and Branfordgirl will earn a few pennies if you navigate there from this site and make a purchase). I also listed a number of books in my post “it’s all for you.”

7. What’s so special about Branford, Connecticut? Well, here’s my answer: it’s Branfordgirl’s hometown!

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— 1 —

I am continually caught off guard by my 9 year old daughter’s little discoveries that remind me of my own girlhood. When she shows me a sewing shortcut she figured out, or how to make a flower chain, it could be me 41 years ago. Is it wired into our family genetic code? Or the universal code of girlhood? I don’t know, but it makes me feel young again.

— 2 —

We are going to Lake Wyola today for the first time this season. Lake Wyola is a beautiful sandy beach here in western MA with pleasant swimmable water and the occasional duck family. We go at least once a week all summer. For the kids, Lake Wyola means fishing off the little dock with a pole or net; trying to position themselves just right so their shadows don’t fall across the little schools of fish in the shallows that they are trying to catch with their hands; building in the sand; swimming with snorkel and goggles; and sometimes (but not today because I’m broke) Bobby’s Hamburger Stand for hamburgers, hot dogs, ice cream, and ring pops. For me, Lake Wyola is sitting and reading with the sound of children’s laughter in the background; abandoning myself to the gentle tide, floating with my eyes closed, and opening them to see where I have ended up; not talking or being talked to for long stretches, which is rare in my life.

— 3 —

I have a little patch of herbs in a wooden frame outside the kitchen door. The easiest thing for me to do at dinnertime is to go out with a scissors and pick some parsley, thyme (we have lemon thyme), oregano, sage, rosemary, and basil, wash them, snip them into little bits, and put them into whatever I am cooking with fresh garlic, salt, and pepper. I tell you, I have thrown a handful of those same herbs into half a dozen meals over the past couple of weeks, every one has received accolades, and no one tells me that all the food tastes the same!

— 4 —

Speaking of herbs, my new discovery is chocolate mint. If you are at a garden center, rub a leaf between your fingers and sniff. It really smells like an Andes mint candy, or a delicious chocolate truffle with a mint center, or mint chocolate chip ice cream, or…well, just try it! You will immediately think of several great summer desserts that could use this! I have a plant growing in a pot outside that keeps sending new tendrils down to the ground that want to take root in the wider world. How do they sense where to go? How do they know “there’s soil down there?”

— 5 —

After my last blog post, the one I wrote after a funeral, there is no hiding the fact that this practicing Roman Catholic and Third Order Carmelite is, well, a little weird. Now that I’ve stepped out of the shadows, who knows what I might find myself writing?

— 6 —

Speaking of shadows, I have no interest in the new Dark Shadows movie. The reviews I’ve read and the trailer I watched make it seem, well, puerile and trashy. But I am addicted to the old black and white TV series from the late 60s and early 70s, which I own on DVD. My maiden name is Collins, I grew up in a spooky house (there I go again) by the water, and visiting Collinwood is a little like going home. My take is: it’s not really a vampire story. After all, he’s a reluctant vampire, tormented by the evil from which he is trying to free himself. It’s really a Gothic romance.

— 7 —

She’s done it again. Evangeline just walked in with a paper chain and said “it’s me friendship chain.” (She uses “me” instead of “my” a lot.) “It’s got the names of all me friends on each link.” Evangeline is the initiator of a number of neighborhood clubs: a Girls Club, a Friendship Club, a Health Club, a Garden Club. One club morphs into another as moods and seasons change in our neighborhood. We are alike in many ways (see item 1), but unlike her reclusive mother who constantly seeks solitude, she is constantly trying to find ways to bring people together, a trait for which I am thankful.She even started a blog: http://www.avisitwithevangeline.wordpress.com.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

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