Another’s story…

I have to take a moment to honor Ed Shirley, a friend who died suddenly today.


Ed’s important to this blog because his story rubbed up against mine.  We were cohorts at the Franciscan Federation Annual Conference several years ago; he and I had spoken on the phone several times prior to that.  I asked/invited him to work with our Action Commissioners, as a member of an Action Circle in Austin, Texas.  We hadn’t been able to meet in person before, as I was based in D.C.  Ed was unabashedly himself, no apologies: loud, wonderful.


A beautiful example is this facebook message that Ed sent me a few months ago:


I’m still here!

By the way, I HAVE noticed in your pictures that you have lost weight. I’m trying to say you look great, without implying that you didn’t before (which you looked fine, but I am also not trying to say “You’ve always been hot,” either).

Darned political correctness/fear of offending. Seriously, looking good. I remember you saying you had changed brands of coffee, and that helped. Unfortunately, I don’t drink coffee, so I’m just stuck trying to cut down on ice cream (now, if they came up with a weight loss ice cream, I could get to my high school weight in no time!)”


I snorted at the rock climbing gym when I read his message.


Thank you, dear friend, for allowing me to listen and for sharing your story and making it a piece of mine.  You will be missed.  Your constant authenticity will help me re-member my own.


*your regular programming (concrete pt 2) will return tomorrow

We’ve only just begun

6 a.m. was our departure from the Casa Retiros.  To work backwards, that meant that breakfast began at 5:30, and wake up, 4:30. My earliest meetings, at home in the States, start at 10 am—that’s a stretch for me.  My favorite time of day is morning, where I ease in—often with the same routine: skinny coffee and a book in my pajamas; an hour later, breakfast; then gather and prep for the day.  I had no coffee with me, and if I had chosen to leisurely enter my day, my wake up would have been 3:00 a.m. for a day devoted to manual labor.  No thank you.

Breakfast eaten, teeth brushed, bag packed (complete with baby wipes, sunblock, bug spray, construction gloves, and other Mary Poppins items), we left at 6 a.m.  Why so early? Two words: city traffic.  Although Casa Retiros is just outside Guatemala City, it would take an hour to reach our work site in Zona 7.   Andres and Juan Carlos would pick up the police from city hall after they dropped us off.  In the interim, Alto Gracia and Sr. Esperanza (from St. Francis Coll) and Ever (a policeman who worked at Paso a Paso 2x/week) would keep an eye on us. Continue reading